So this blog comes hot of the heels of a Q&A~
I had a beautiful lady ask this question:
“My boyfriend of almost a year said his daughter is the most important thing in his life. Having no kids of my own, am I wrong to feel that our relationship should be equally as important just in a different way?”
First, so much love and compassion for anyone who feels confused or guilt or shame around anything they feel. Your feelings are always VALID, your feelings are important, your feelings matter, and your feelings are here to guide you. Tune in.
So let’s get into it.
Now, I have to preface this by saying this is a complex subject. Not everyone’s story is the same. Some people are at different stages in their life and relationship and everything is contextual. This is one post and I will do my best with addressing as much about this topic as possible. In general, the long-story-short is, YES, absolutely your relationship is just as important. Yes, it is also important in a different way.
What I really want to talk about is the dysfunction that tends to happen when people take on the mindset that their or their spouse’s/significant other’s value somehow diminishes because of children. Specifically, the problem with the widely touted mindset, “kids are more important.”
When it comes to children, yes, of course they are a priority, that should go without saying…but SO ARE YOU and so is your primary relationship. Whatever you neglect, whether it’s self, your spouse/SO, your work, or children, whatever you neglect will suffer. The desire for you to feel valuable and important in the relationship is valid. You have emotional needs and they need to be a priority. The needs of children are different than a spouse or significant other, not more or less valuable.
In fact, when it comes to children, the best gift you can give your child is a happy, healthy, and stable home. Children learn by watching you. Children learn how to love by watching how you love. Children learn how TO BE loved by watching you. The way this little girl is watching how her dad is loving and valuing his S/O is subconsciously teaching her how SHE gets to be loved and adored when she’s a woman.
Conversely, if she’s watching her father diminish the needs and value of his partner, she is learning that once she becomes a woman and, one day, a mother or stepmother, she becomes less valuable. This is not Truth and sets the way for a lifetime of resentment.
Perhaps you’ve experienced the phrase, “look at everything I’ve sacrificed for you,” when deep down, you rather wished that person wouldn’t have. The unnecessary guilt and shame that follows this only perpetuates the pattern.
When you are creating a home, the healthiest dynamic I’ve observed is Top-Down. God, then spouse, then children. When God/Source/Your spiritual connection is placed first, YOU are healthy/happy/whole. When you are healthy/happy/whole you can then attract and create a relationship that is healthy/happy/whole. When you have a relationship that is healthy/happy/whole, you can then create and nurture a family/home that is healthy/happy/whole. It has to start from the top. When that dynamic gets inverted, it is to the detriment of everyone involved.
When the parents/home is dysfunctional, the children are affected by this and you will see them either acting out or internalizing it and having it manifest as depression, anxiety, or apathy. When couples heal their marriage/relationship, their child(rens) emotional and sometimes physical issues heal as a result.
For all you beautiful souls that are on this journey of learning how to love and be loved in a new family dynamic, the key to understand is that you ABSOLUTELY deserve to be with someone who prioritizes and values you and your needs as much as their children’s. That means sometimes the children will need to come first, situations will arise that put the children as top priority. That also means that other times your needs come first. Your need for alone time, your need to connect with your partner, your need for love, intimacy, and romance need to be prioritized as well.
To move forward in this situation, it is important for you to get really really clear on what you need to feel safe in this relationship and to feel that what you’re receiving is worthy of your beautiful heart and go from there.
Remember, no one is wrong in this case, we all have our reasons for what we need and what we do. It is our responsibility to own that and decide if the relationship we are in is truly in ALIGNMENT with what we are desiring and requiring at this point in our life.
I hope this serves you…
There is so much love around you~