First priority....children or spouse?

Discussion in '2003 Archive' started by Gina B, Oct 12, 2002.

  1. Gina B

    Gina B
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    My pastor about a year and a half ago taught that your spouse should always come before your children. He wasn't talking about if a kid is sick and needs attention, etc., but in terms of your relationship and such, because your children will leave and live on their own soon enough, but you have to live with your spouse forever.
    I was a little in shock when he said that, but the more I thought about it, the more it seemed true, and a good relationship with your spouse will most likely make for a better relationship/role model for your kids.
    What do you think?
    Gina
     
  2. Dr. Bob

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    Gina - Pastor is right on.
    God #1
    Then Spouse
    And if so blessed, kids and grandkids
    #4 is the church!

    I explain that carefully to each church at which I minister that THEY will be number 4, not number 1. Shocks them because many preachers have sold out their family or spouse for :rolleyes: :rolleyes: the "ministry". Sad.
     
  3. Clint Kritzer

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    I concur 100% with Dr. Griffins order on his priority list.

    Ephesians 5:28 states clearly the devotion a man should feel for his wife. I see many families in which the children are "partners" to one or both parents. This compromises the child's development in society, adds potential conflict to the spousal relationship, and as Gina cited, sets a bad example for the child.

    I love my children, I would probably die for my children if it was ever necessary, but Margie knows that she takes higher priority in this home on my list.
     
  4. Gina B

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    I have a tendency to think that most of the men would readily agree, but a lot of the women will have to pause and think on it for a minute. [​IMG]
    Gina
     
  5. post-it

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    I agree with the other men here. But I understand how a woman's nature tells her to put her children first. I would agree that a woman should only put her children first if she has any doubt about her relationship with her husband or that her husband could cause the children serious harm and I don't just mean physical harm.

    Many women know their marriage relationship is in jeopardy and in those cases, she has a duty to her children first.

    Only when her husband is a Godly man, being lead by the Spirit and being a good husband and father, should she place her children second.
     
  6. Helen

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    Gina, here is one of the reasons your pastor is right -- the right marriage relationship mirrors (as the Bible tells us) the relationship of Christ to the church, and the children need that picture.

    Even if the marriage is not good, if you are together then love can be modeled, and they need to see this, too. My oldest son recently said something to me that really brought it home. You know I was married for 20 years to a man who was not only unfaithful most of the time, by hypercritical of both me and the children. No one could please him.

    This was giving the children a terrifying picture of God ("our Father...") although I did not realize it at the time. But my oldest, Scott, also mentioned that it was the only marriage he had really seen up close and he was afraid of getting married because he didn't want to do that to his wife.

    Then Barry and I got married two years ago. Recently Scott told me that when he got married, he wanted a marriage like Barry's and mine. It had given him a new example and now he knew what he wanted.

    Another example I have used before: my mother was unfaithful to my father for ten years before he died. He refused to divorce her. He refused to let us speak ill of her in his presence. This was the woman he had chosen to marry and this was our mother and that was that.

    From him I learned what commitment and love meant. He didn't tell me. He showed me.

    I know there are many other reasons the marriage is the first priority after God, but you wanted something from a woman so here it is... [​IMG]
     
  7. Scarlett O.

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    As a public school teacher, I have dealt with parents of all kinds. The Godly, the fabulous, the ones who need help to become better, and ones who don't deserve their children.

    I can tell you the biggest mistake I see in a few mothers.

    I have said this for years. There are some mothers out there who put their relationship with their children ahead of their relationship with their spouses.

    What's wrong with this?

    </font>
    • Two married people are "one flesh". A parent and a child don't have that relationship.</font>
    • To exalt the child over your spouse is to teach your child that the spouse is not important.</font>
    • Children learn early if they can pit one parent against the other. If they can, it makes the child the leader of the home and not the parent. That is backwards from what the Bible says.</font>
    This isn't always the mother's fault.
    </font>
    • Sometimes Dad is elusive and stays in the background on purpose. He doesn't want to deal with the kids.</font>
    • Sometimes older children play parents against each other.</font>
    • Sometimes in-laws interfere heavily with a mother and father's God-given right to raise their own children.</font>
    • And yes, sometimes mothers express more love and attention to the kids than to dad.</font>
    The Bible is clear on how husbands and wives are to be considered the male and the female side of the same person. One flesh. One unit. That's why the devil didn't touch Job's wife. She was part of him and he of her and God said for the devil not to kill Job, therefore he couldn't kill his wife, either.
    Peace-

    YSIC
    Scarlett O. [​IMG]
    &lt;&gt;&lt;
     
  8. Don

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    Read Ephesians 5 and 6. Then read them again, paying attention to the order in which the different relationships are addressed.
     
  9. Johnv

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    ...your spouse should always come before your children

    Yes, your relationship with your spouse should come before your children unless your relationship with your children requires otherwise. However, it should also be noted that a healthy relationship among spouses invloves their children as well.

    The only time this would be of exception is if you're remarried and have children from a previous marriage.
     
  10. Helen

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    There's no exception there, John.
     
  11. latterrain77

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    Children are a blessing from the LORD (Psalm 127: 3-5). In fact, the “husband/wife” dynamic along with the intimacy enjoyed only through it, is designed as the vehicle for which the Psalm blessing of children occurs!

    The command in Genesis 9: 1 (and earlier to every creature) to “be fruitful & multiply and fill the earth” is a powerful statement about the enormous significance of children and family. The husband/wife relation is the vehicle through which this command is accomplished.

    Of course, a good wife (like a good husband) is also a blessing from the LORD. When GOD’s principles of marriage are followed, the blessing of children is often the result - and the RAISING of them becomes the life long practice of those principles. Then, the husband and wife’s interests are vested in the GODLY raising of those children (children need their parents guidance, direction and assistance all the way until the end - not only when they are toddlers, adolescents, and young adults).

    It is the children and the raising of them unto holiness that gives meaning, purpose and substance to a marriage (though not exclusively - yet primarily). It is through the blessing of children and family that marriage is made meaningful and dynamic. It is for this reason that GOD refers to the woman (i.e. wife) as a “help meet” (Gen. 2: 18). Help meet in what? In carrying out the primary marital purpose, the joint venture of husband/wife – the dynamic duo - in the “fruitful & multiply” blessing of children and family.

    What about the husband/wife who cannot have children? ADOPTION is the glorious gift that GOD provides – as HE himself provided for his own self with the elect (Rom. 8: 15, Eph. 1: 5). There is nothing less meaningful about adopted children than those created biologically by GOD through the marriage union. In fact, there is a unique and astounding beauty with Godly substance to the adoption concept (Eph. 1: 5).

    If for some medical reason, a husband/wife cannot have children, then GOD has provided for them the fantastic mystery and blessing of the adoption gift which GOD embraced for the elect (Eph. 1: 5). GOD has left no husband/wife without meaningful options.

    Most importantly, GOD in his abundant mercy provides children (whether through the marital union or adoption) so that the husband/wife might raise up holy ones for the future of the church. There is NOTHING – absolutely nothing – between a man and woman (husband/wife) that can possibly be more important than this. [​IMG]

    latterrain77

    [ October 13, 2002, 08:43 AM: Message edited by: latterrain77 ]
     
  12. Helen

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    Latterrain, I strongly disagree with you. What is most important for any marriage is that the man and wife are one in the Lord. That is the first and foremost thing. Without that the children are raised in strife, the Christian witness to the world is lost, and both the man and wife find themselves intensely lonely deep inside.

    The second most important thing is to go where the Lord leads and obey Him. If He is leading a man into the mission field, for instance, the support and cooperation of the wife is paramount.

    The years of raising children are not forever. They will grow and go -- unless the apron strings are so tight that they cannot get out, in which case you have a MAJOR problem on your hands.

    And then there are the years of what can be highest productivity for the couple. We do not retire because the children are grown. If the marriage has been held primary, we simply swing from one line of 'work' into wherever else the Lord is calling us.

    I might also add that it is normal and expected that the children will shove off from their parents in their teens and twenties, establishing their own identities and lives and relationships. If the parents' primary focus has been on the child for the first 15-20 years of the child's life, then the shoving off process is going to leave the parents devastated, for it lasts just about as long as raising them in the first place did!

    As a mother of six, five of whom are adopted, who are now ages 18-29, I am speaking here from a bit of experience.

    Helen
     
  13. Abiyah

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    And Clint --

    The more I learn about the two of you, the more
    I appreciate you. What you have both said is the
    way it should be. How I hope that others take up
    your attitudes on this.

    However, if I am to be honest, I know that my
    children, as youngsters, took precidence in my
    relationships. Why? Because my husband was
    an adult, quite capable of taking care of himself,
    while the children were helplesss and dependant.
    Since I was widowed at the age of 27, I do not
    know how that would have developed, but as a
    single for ten years afterward, the children were
    my priority through that time. By the time I
    remarried, the children were pretty well autono-
    mous, and I realized that they would soon be
    gone, off to create their own lives, so they and
    my husband shared equality in my life.

    I don't know--I think that if I am to be honest,
    they still share equal footing in my life, but I
    just don't get to see my children so much as I
    see my husband. My children are in my area,
    but I miss them like crazy, because I do not see
    them as much as I would like to.
     
  14. latterrain77

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    Hi Helen. Thank you for your comments. I agree with you entirely about the necessity of a strong “husband/wife” relationship. However, I think the question raised on this thread was slightly different.

    The Bible is very clear that a man is to love his wife as Christ loved the church (Eph. 5: 25). What is the function of Christ’s bride the church? It is to “raise up” CHILDREN (Matt. 4: 19, Mark 1: 17, Matt. 28: 19, Mark 16: 15, etc) and then to instruct those children. The human marriage between husband/wife is fashioned after the Christ/Church one and this becomes our model concerning our own children.

    As Christ is the “head of the church,” husbands are the “head of the wife” (Eph. 5: 23). Husbands are to mimic the Christ/Church dynamic, embrace their wife, and bring forth children (Gen. 9: 1, etc) – just as the church is to do in the world concerning new believers.

    Like the church, husband and wife are commanded to follow Gen. 9: 1 "be fruitful & multiply" because this is the primary reason that marriage (and the Church) were instituted by GOD. These children are a BLESSING (Psalm 127: 3-5) and a cause for rejoicing as is any new child brought into the church (Luke 15: 10). The “Christ/Church” dynamic is therefore the model for the husband/wife marriage. Both husband and wife can know the roles they have to each other by carefully studying Eph. 5.

    Our children need our guidance and instruction throughout life. That instruction and guidance does NOT end when they grow up and “move out.” The instruction process of both the church and our children NEVER end’s throughout life - even long after the children leave the homestead.

    A man (head of the wife) who places his wife “AHEAD” of their children would be as if Christ put the “head of the church” ahead of the church itself (tongue twister). I see this as an impossibility. Doesn’t Rome hold this very position?

    The wife, as symbolized by the church, is on EQUAL standing with the husband who is the HEAD of the church. The husband does not have preminence over the wife (just as the pastor/priest does not have preminence over the church).

    Thank you again Helen. As always, I appreciate your intelligent and thoughtful comments. [​IMG]

    latterrain77

    [ October 13, 2002, 11:45 AM: Message edited by: latterrain77 ]
     
  15. Pastor Larry

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    As usual, I will inject a voice of dissent (common sense ... [​IMG] ) into this discussion. I do not see the need for prioritizing priorities. I do agree in a sense that the spouse comes before children but why should there be a conflict? That makes no sense to me, just as saying that family comes before church. The commands of a believer's life do not involve conflict. The best thing a dad can do for his children is love his mother biblically. The best thing a mother can do for her children is submit to her husband biblically. The best thing parents can do for their children ... the best way to love their children ... is to make a solid biblical home and to have them faithfully involved in church.
     
  16. Abiyah

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    Pastor Larry --

    I would disagree. I believe that we must think
    these things out before it is necesssary to
    decide, in the spur of the moment, which is to
    take precidence. If it is predecided, when a
    situation comes up and a choice must be made,
    there is a principle in place to stand upon.

    Real-life incidents:
    #1
    Two families of five children, two others of four
    --all close friends in the same church. A
    demanding, abusive pastor. The church taught
    that it came first. All the parents believed this;
    could the church be wrong? Today, of these 18
    children, 3 are believers, 2 died unsaved, all the
    living are grandparents except one, who is
    lesbian. Had the right priorities been set, would
    the figures be different? Absolutely YES.

    #2
    The minister put his wife before our God. When
    he realized that his wife was doing things wrong
    --lots of things horribly wrong--rather than
    take a stand with our God, he took a stand with
    his wife. She needed guidance, help, discipline
    she could not provide for herself. She did not
    get it. Now, he is gone, and she, an elderly lady,
    is headed for eternity in the same way she lived
    her life.

    I could name many more cases, but it is not
    necessary. I believe we must make a choice and
    take a stand on what and whom are our priorities.

    [ October 13, 2002, 01:53 PM: Message edited by: Abiyah ]
     
  17. Helen

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    Hi Larry,

    Although your ideal is lovely, I think it disregards the fact that children have sin natures! No one ever has to teach them to be selfish and manipulative.

    Example: daughter wants to go to an overnight at a girlfriend's. Mother says no, tomorrow is church. Decision is father's. Daughter pleads.

    Does father
    1. Decide on his own authority what HE thinks is best regardless of his wife or daughter?
    2. Agree with wife, taking a united stand for daughter?
    3. Agree with daughter, causing conflict with wife?

    I will tell you if #1 or #3 happen on any kind of repeated basis what will happen -- the wife will begin to just be quiet, knowing that her husband has no intention of supporting her advice or ideas. He loses, she loses, and the kids lose.

    And they could all still be active in church.
     
  18. Don

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    Latterrain,

    You bring up an interesting relationship.

    I agree that the husband and wife are a type of the relationship of Christ and the church. So explore that one a little more....

    Christ and the church have children. According to your explanations, each of them (Christ and the church) should focus on the children, because they are a priority.

    However, if Christ starts to ignore the church, because He's focusing on the children, the relationship breaks down, and as a result, no more children.

    If the church starts ignoring Christ because it's focusing on the children, the relationship breaks down, and as a result, the church stagnates and there's no more children.

    In each case, the relationship between head and body must come first. There's no way around this. This is NOT to say that it should come at the exclusion of the children; it means that by placing the priority on the head and the body, we also show our children an example of a healthy, biblical relationship that they can then emulate when it's their turn.

    To Pastor Larry et al, I mentioned Ephesians 5 and 6 previously. This is the order in which scripture gives us relationship priorities:
    God
    Spouse
    Children
    Job (whether it be pastor of a church or aluminum can picker-upper)
    Self

    Now, before someone says that I shouldn't be placing so much emphasis on where things occur in scripture, take another look at it. Not only have many of us espoused this priority list in this order, it also makes perfect sense. If you don't have your relationship with God right first, the rest will suffer. And if you do have it right, the rest will be easier.

    However, I'll be the first to admit that it's all too easy for me to start putting job and even self ahead of children and spouse...fortunately, my spouse is usually pretty good about letting me know when I do it!

    [​IMG]
     
  19. Thankful

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    I agree. Many people think that #1 and #4 are the same. They are not. I have had pastors who tried to convince me that church came before my spouse and children. It does not, but God does.
    God does not want us to neglect our families.

    I think this is true in second marriages, also. Spouse before children and grandchildren
     
  20. Pastor Larry

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    I agree and I find it interesting that in the two cases you have appealed to, they both involve ungodliness. Why not address that rather than supposed priorities?? You cannot decide what is biblical based on what sinful natures do. The fact that some men ignore their families for ministry is not a reason to suggest that men should ignore ministry for family. Inevitably, these discussions always involve the actions of sinful men and women, rather than the biblical material on what is important. I grew up in a family that you would consider disfunctional. We attended church every time the doors were open, Sundays, Wednesdays, and special services. We did homework after church rather than skip church. We missed ballgames for church activities. We travelled on Saturday or Monday so as not to miss church on Sunday. My dad was on visitation every week and taught Sunday School. My mother played the piano and was active in the ladies' ministries. My parents messed up so bad that they turned out 3 kids with degrees from a Christian college, all of whom are active in a local church which is the priority. They messed up so bad they turned a preacher and a Christian school teacher. They messed up so bad that none of us have ever been in serious trouble at school or with the law. In fact, I am the rebel of the family because I was kicked out of a class in high school and have had about 4 traffic tickets. Simply put, my parents taught us, not with words but with their life lived, that God always comes first. Everything else is secondary.

    My point is simple: Do not use bad examples to decide what is good. One man's depravity is no reason to lower the standard from God intended. If you want to know how important the church is, just read the book of Acts. It tells us of men who were willing to leave their families without fathers and husbands for the sake of the word. It tells us of people who didn't feel oppressed or imposed upon to attend church a couple of times a week; they met with each other every day. Their "family time" consisted of the church family. They didn't feel pressed because they were asked to teach a class once a week; they daily went from house to house to preach and teach that Jesus was the Christ. How far we have come ...
     

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