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Love Your Kids More Than Your Hubby?

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Yesterday, one blogger wrote that she loved her child more than her husband -- and he was okay with that. In response, momlogic's psychologist says that's a BIG problem!

mother hugging her children

Dr. Michelle Golland: Okay, first I must say I love my kids very much, but I do not love them more than my husband! The love I have for my husband is deeper and more exciting than the love I have for my kids. He is my lover, my confidant, and my biggest fan. I am the same for him. It is so clear to me as a wife, mother, and psychologist that if I do not have a strong, healthy, and connected marriage, my mothering abilities are not on track.

Many of the couples with younger children that I see in my private practice find themselves exhausted, angry, and disconnected in their marriage often because the woman has been focused on the kids while the husband has thrown himself into his work. This may seem like a good idea for a time, but as this goes on, the relationship will begin to suffer greatly.

When we get married and before we have kids, as couples, we have the time, energy, and money to devote to our relationship. We go out to dinner and a movie without a second thought. We can have sex any time without worrying if a baby will wake up or a toddler will come crashing through the door. Once kids enter the picture, we forget how it feels to be loved and honored by our partner without spit up on us.

The mistake many moms make is they believe that if they are a good mother, their husband will be fine and he will understand, but in reality, the husband may feel pushed out of the parenting role and begrudgingly gives up trying to have a relationship with his wife. What happens next is that they each become resentful of what the other "isn't" doing in regards to both the kids and the marriage.

In this scenario, the man will continue to retreat and do less and less for the kids, while the woman becomes angrier at this turn of events. She then gives less and less energy to her spouse, which makes him disconnect further and further. The dissent into divorce has begun.

One of the mistakes Jon and Kate made was "putting their kids first." Every time I heard them say that phrase, it was like nails on a chalkboard to my ears. If they had just devoted some time to their relationship, I believe they wouldn't have found themselves divorcing and creating such trauma and drama for the entire family.

To be a good mother or a good father, you must start by being a good wife and a good husband. If your emotional needs are not being met by your husband, you will try to fulfill these needs through your kids or elsewhere, which will not be healthy or positive for the marriage or for your kids. Your husband will also reach outside the marriage to get his emotional and physical needs met. Remember, your esteem as a partner is not the same as your esteem as a parent, but they do directly impact each other.

Do not think your marriage can survive until the children are 18 and off to college unless you start dedicating real time and real energy to your relationship. I always tell my couples that you are not just setting an example as a mother and father, but even more importantly, your children are watching you to see what it means to be a wife and a husband.

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14 comments so far | Post a comment now
Anonymous July 6, 2009, 4:04 PM

Hmmm…so in a nutshell, if I feel I love my child more than my husband (not taking into account that it is a totally “different” kind of love that I have for a five year old than I do for a forty yr old man), he will go out and have an affair? Oh, and if your marriage fails, you are a bad parent. In all due respect, Dr. Golland, I think you may have been a bit too black and white.

Meemee July 6, 2009, 5:25 PM

I always thought that love for my (future)kids would be stronger because of my love of my (future)husband. Basically I’d love my kids so much more because they’re a part of me and my husband, almost a symbol of our love. And I’d take care of them all with love, my husband will just be like my oldest child.

What's the big deal? July 6, 2009, 5:39 PM

I am at a complete loss to know why this is even a subject of discussion. Love isn’t finite, and you can’t compare relationships to one another and quantify how much love is in them. We do and feel differently for our children than our husbands, just as we love our husbands differently than our parents or siblings.

There is a possible misnaming here of “love.” I would give my life up for my children without thinking twice. However, my husband would not want me to put my life up over his. It’s not that I love him less than me children, but there is a natural order for survival.

shea July 6, 2009, 6:17 PM

uhh this is crazy..the love i have for my child and the love i have for his father is completely different! u shouldnt have 2 compare them anyways! if ur husband cant get over the fact that ur children should come first then he needs 2 grow up!

ness July 6, 2009, 8:28 PM

so great article but no advice on how to mend things….psht.

ks July 6, 2009, 10:33 PM

not sure what all the hoopla is about with the comments…It’s very clear that loving your spouse and loving your kids are 2 different things and of course you should love your mate the most in the universe. - Dr. Golland was not stating that your love is any less for your kids - just more/different for your spouse - I agree! As far as any advice needed - perhaps you should check out her expert page as there is an abundance of advice and solutions…or you could see a professional.

Anonymous July 7, 2009, 3:09 AM

This is article is not about who you love more. It’s about having a strong and loving marriage to build strong and loving kids.
My sister and I always came first in my parents marriage and it ended up in the toilet with 2 very emotionally screwed up kids!
I was and and am determined to not do that with my boys.
My relationship with my husband is the corner stone of our family. We have to be connected as parents and partners.
I am so in love with my 3 boys that when I look at them at times it makes me cry. The boys needs always are met and come before “our” own. But my healthy relationship with my husband who also is in love with our children comes first.

Anonymous July 7, 2009, 9:43 AM

Ummm, what about just loving them all very much? Duh

Carmen M July 7, 2009, 7:06 PM

I will always love my son and my daughter more than anyone in this planet! I carried both of my children for 9 month just like other moms, I have woken up each night to feed then change then. I have helped them learn and grow, I have fed them bathed them and kissed them good night eacvh and every night. I will be dammed if I say I love someone more then my children!

Stacey July 19, 2009, 7:06 PM

Men come and go. Children are forever. Of course you love them differently, but my child comes first in this world. I will go to my grave knowing that I gave him all the love that I had. As for my husband, that was his mother’s job. Not mine.

Stacey July 19, 2009, 7:07 PM

Men come and go. Children are forever. Of course you love them differently, but my child comes first in this world. I will go to my grave knowing that I gave him all the love that I had. As for my husband, that was his mother’s job. Not mine.

Ben Dover August 3, 2009, 3:32 PM

A man would have to be certifiably crazy to get married and/or have children. Better to have FWB’s with young, hot chicks. You women are pathetic fat hens.

Been There Done That August 21, 2009, 7:00 PM

I can’t believe some of the comments here. Love maybe be infinite but your time and energy, both physical and emotional is not. If you pour too much time and energy into your kids at the expense of the relationship with your spouse, your marriage WILL suffer and as a result your children will suffer.

As for Stacey’s comment, when you’re a single parent mom trying to love your child, let us know how that worked out for you. 70% of the criminals in prison came from single parent households. I feel sorry for any children you might have.

Ten Tees January 8, 2011, 4:17 PM

Great info. Good to read. I just have a thing to offer about tee shirts.

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