by prioritizing your marriage and nurturing your relationship with your spouse
By Dr. Meredith Hansen
When we become parents, our natural instinct is to devote all of our time and energy to our children. They are the center of our universe and we would do anything to keep them happy and healthy – which often times means that putting effort into the relationship with our spouse takes second place. But what if I told you that prioritizing not your children, but your marriage should be your main focus? As a psychologist specializing in family and couple’s therapy, I have found that prioritizing your marriage and learning how to nurture your relationship will not only benefit you and your spouse, but will help your children thrive, and here’s why:
You will build a solid foundation. A secure attachment with a parent provides the foundation for positive self-esteem, confidence, and healthy independence in children. A secure attachment with a spouse provides the foundation for healthy self-esteem, confidence, and inter-dependence in adults. A secure marriage, provides the foundation for a family to thrive.
Your children will feel secure. The more secure your marriage (meaning you and your partner are engaged with and committed to one another, have established a sense of trust in the relationship, productively work through conflicts, mutually meet one another’s needs, and prioritize the relationship), the more secure your children will feel at home and the happier and healthier they will grow to be.
You will create a positive home environment. Most parents will do anything to provide a positive environment for their children. We go to great lengths as parents to ensure that our children have access to the healthiest foods, best schools, a range of extracurricular activities, etc., but the most important and often the most overlooked step we can take to create this environment is nurturing our marriage.
Your children will feel more confident. When the home environment is rocky, unstable, or uncertain, children can become distracted. They may feel anxious, sad, or fearful and begin to withdraw, which can impair their self-esteem, confidence, and ability to feel safe taking positive risks and achieving. On the flip side, when you put effort into your marriage, your children will feel a sense of safety in the world because they know that there is a solid foundation for them to “spring” from. They won’t spend time worrying about what’s happening at home and will feel confident exploring the world, making new friends, taking positive risks, and excelling in school, sports, and other activities.
Always remember that before you became a parent, you formed an attachment to your spouse. This was the foundation of your family and should continue to be. Put effort into your relationship and your family will blossom.
Dr. Meredith Hansen is a licensed clinical psychologist, a mother of one, and has a private practice in Newport Beach, CA. Dr. Hansen has assisted countless children, adults, couples, and families through trying times and truly believes that every person deserves to be heard and understood. She offers private sessions as well as monthly Marriage RebootTM group workshops. For additional information about her practice or services, please visit: www.drmeredithhansen.com