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Marriage is the Number One Priority

Marriage is the Number One Priority

By: Staci Lee Schnell, M.S., C.S., LMFT

Marriage is the Number One Priority

Couples marry for love, typically.  They’ve found their soulmates and are ready to spend the rest of their lives living happily ever after.  In the beginning of their union, they make their marriage a priority.  However, many couples forget to continue to put their marriage first once they have children, and that leads to higher divorce rates among empty nesters.  

Suddenly after two decades, the kids are gone and you can’t remember why you married each other in the first place.  You’ve become roommates and have forgotten what it was like to be partners and lovers.

Most couples report a significant decrease in their marital satisfaction after the birth of their children. This is why marriage should come before children. Putting your spouse first does not diminish the love you have for your children. It actually enhances it, as long as you show love to them as well.

Putting marriage first may be a difficult concept to wrap one’s head around, but it is essential to the health of the marriage.  By not making the union a priority, couples tend to neglect the needs of one another.  Feelings of resentment may begin to foster, eroding the quality of the couple’s connection. 

It is certainly controversial to say marriage should be your first priority over your children.  Children’s basic needs are of course a priority and must be met. Neglecting their physical and emotional health and wellbeing is not only bad parenting but abusive.  You don’t have to choose between being a good parent and a good partner.  Finding the right balance is the key. 


Little Things

Making your spouse feel loved and cherished can be simple and sweet.  It’s those little things that matter and make your partner feel like the number one priority.

  • Be affectionate: Hug, Kiss, Hold Hands
  • Greet one another: Say hello and goodbye, good morning and good night
  • Text sweet thoughts: “I am thinking of you”, “I love you”, “Can’t wait to see you later”
  • Be giving: Give a small gift or card just because
  • Work as a dream team: Teamwork makes the dream work



Keeping the romance alive in marriage is important.  Romance exists when we are attracted to and care for one another. Meeting your partner’s romantic needs requires an understanding of their perspective.  Romance is a way to show your spouse how important they are to you. Keep in mind that romance is not just about making love, it’s about giving love.

  • Go on dates
  • Flirt with one another
  • Be the initiator
  • Surprise each other
  • Cuddle
  • Be adventurous together


Remember that you want to spend a lifetime with your spouse, so your marriage deserves attention and effort on a daily basis.  Don’t feel guilty about making your marriage top priority. Remind yourself that your children are actually benefiting as well. By modeling a healthy marital relationship, it sets the foundation for how they can form healthy relationship bonds. The example of a happy marriage truly supports and encourages children to create successful relationships for themselves.

The time to have a happy healthy marriage is always, not only after the kids leave home.  It’s never too late, nor too soon to put your marriage first.


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