Putting each other as top priority is a key. This doesn’t mean giving up the things you love, and catering to your spouse’s every whim. It means genuinely caring for the other’s feelings, supporting them in their decisions, making time to do enjoyable things together on a regular basis, paying attention to each other, and doing things for one another as a sign of affection.
One issue I’ve heard over and over again, as a heart centered therapist and as a friend, is that women tend to give their children precedence over their husbands. Men sometimes prioritize work above spending time with their wives. This is understandable, but consider this: Children generally move out when they’re 18-25 years old, and careers end with retirement. Spouses have vowed to be together their entire lifetime!
When a partner feels like they’re low on the spouse’s priority list, it creates distance between the couple. This makes it more difficult to show affection, have fun together, or feel love toward each other. This can lead to an unhappy marriage.
When a married couple places each other as highest priority, they’re more apt to feel appreciated by the other, see eye to eye, work as a team, and stay together, providing a foundation for emotionally healthy kids.
Being happy with your partner makes it easier to be a good parent, so you actually do more for your children by working toward a strong marriage, than by providing more money or putting children as highest priority.
Of course I’m not suggesting child neglect, giving up hobbies or playing hooky from work. I’m recommending the use of babysitters once in a while, making a serious effort to be home from work at a decent hour, putting kids to bed at an appropriate time, and anything else you can think of to show your spouse they’re important to you.
Putting your spouse as number one in your life may do amazing things for your marriage. If you feel you need something more from your partner, figure out what you need and give more of that. If you need more attention, give your spouse more attention. If you need more affection, then give more affection. If you need something that your spouse doesn’t want or need from you, or if something simply isn’t working, choose a time when you’re both calm, and discuss it. Talk to each other kindly and gently, treating them with honor. Keep at it and you may be pleasantly surprised to find yourself as your partner’s number one priority.