In Family Shepherds: Calling and Equipping Men to Lead Their Homes, Voddie Baucham gives three reasons to prioritize your marriage above your children:
1. Our children will eventually leave home. Prepare your marriage for the empty nest:
To my knowledge, I’ve never talked to a person who divorced after twenty-five or thirty years who didn’t say something like this: “Once the kids were gone, we realized we really didn’t have much of a marriage.” Building a marriage on the foundation of the preeminence of children is like building a house on a rented removable slab. You may have days or even years when you feel completely secure, but the day is coming when the lease will be up and the foundation upon which your home stands will be taken away. A family shepherd must not allow his family to fall into this trap.
2. Our marriage forms the cornerstone of our children’s security:
Ironically, those who prioritize their children above their marriage are not only jeopardizing their marriage, they’re actually depriving their children of the very thing they desire to provide them. The greatest source of security our children have in this world is a God-honoring, Christ-centered marriage between their parents. Putting the children first is like a police officer putting away his badge and gun in order to make the public feel more at ease. A family shepherd must put his marriage before his children in order to provide them with the security they both need and desire.
3. Putting your marriage first will actually prepare your children for marriage:
Prioritizing your children above your marriage is both foolish and dangerous because it sets a precedent that contradicts one of the greatest lessons you’ll ever teach your children—how to be good husbands and wives. We must first and foremost model a commitment to marriage. Failure to do this will communicate ideas that are contrary to what we believe—starting with the narcissism it tends to create in our children—including the pitfalls that may follow them into their marriage. For example, if we prioritize our children above our marriage, we teach our children that marriage exists for children. If this is the case, how will our children react to the early months or years of their marriage when there are no children? How will they respond if, God forbid, they should struggle with infertility? If the heart of marriage is “living for the kids,” these scenarios could be difficult at best.
HT: Crossway Blog.
Luke is a pastor-theologian living in northern California, serving as a co-lead pastor with his life, Dawn, at the Red Bluff Vineyard. Father of five amazing kids, when Luke isn’t hanging with his family, reading or writing theology, he moonlights as a fly fishing guide for Confluence Outfitters. He blogs regularly at LukeGeraty.com and regularly contributes to his YouTube channel.