Somehow, many folks have the idea that children come first in the family. Children are growing up with the notion that they are to be served. In other words, the egg comes before the chicken!
But this is not how God designed families to function. If you desire to be a loving, biblical parent you must begin by being a loving, biblical spouse.
Living primarily for your children leads to making idols of your children. This is a burden that no child can bear. In the long run, it will only turn your children against you. Stability in the marriage relationship is what provides stability for the children, not the other way around. Here are at least three of the reasons why this is true.
First, marriage is designed to be permanent.
Children are temporary inhabitants of the family. Parents are to raise their children to leave the home and start their own families. Husbands and wives are to be together for a lifetime. If the primary focus is given to the children, then what is temporary will receive more attention than what is primary and foundational. This weakens both parents and children.
Second, children undergo radical, rapid changes.
In the space of just a few years children go from being totally dependent to being ready for independence with regard to life’s responsibilities. Thus, if life centers around the constant change of your children’s lives, stability will be replaced with turmoil and the marriage relationship will suffer. As children quickly progress from infants, to toddlers, to young children, to older children, to teenagers, to young men and women, they need the stability of parents whose focus on maintaining their marriage first has not wavered.
Third, children do not complete their parents.
Parents who seek to complete themselves in their children will always be left incomplete and disappointed. A parent who lives primarily for his children will constantly be in a state of playing catch up. As the parent gets adjusted to one phase of a child’s life, that child has already moved on to the next. Children do not complete their parents.
If you want to love your children well, love your spouse first and foremost. As your children see you serving Christ as you serve your spouse they will know stability. It is important for children to know that they are not the most important people in the world. If they are to follow Christ they must seek to serve rather than be served.
Give your children the precious gift of loving your spouse as Christ has commanded you. This will provide strength and stability for your children and for your marriage. This will cause your marriage to be a testimony to the saving grace of Jesus Christ.
The chicken does come first!