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Kids or Spouse - Who do you love more?


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#1 AmityD

Posted 03 April 2012 - 01:04 PM

Country singer Keith Urban stirred a potential hornets’ nest in a recent interview, confessing that he puts his relationship with his wife, Nicole Kidman, ahead of his children.

In an honest and revealing chat with this month’s The Australian Women’s Weekly, Urban admits that no matter how lovely his girls are, he'll always love his wife more.

“We're very, very tight as a family unit and the children are our life, but I know the order of my love. It's my wife and then my daughters. I just think it's really important for the kids.”

When I read this I thought it was very romantic that he loved his wife that much. But could I relate to his stance of putting his spouse first? No way.

His words reminded me of an Oprah episode I saw many years ago. In it, Harvard-trained lawyer Ayelet Waldman discussed her provocative The New York Times article, in which she proclaimed, “I love my husband more than I love my children.”

Not surprisingly, this statement horrified the mums in Oprah's audience. They almost unanimously agreed this was crazy talk.

I wasn’t a mother myself when I saw that episode, so I didn’t have a strong opinion either way. But the implication from their reaction was clear: most mums love their kids more than their husbands.

Now that I’m a mum, I understand this completely. It would come as no surprise to my husband that once our first baby arrived, he moved down a rung in the love hierarchy. My love for him didn’t diminish – if anything, it grew. But the love I feel for my children is so powerful, so primal, so intense and all consuming that the two can’t possibly compare.

There’s also the simple matter that they need me more, so he loses by default.

However, knowing that, Ms Waldman’s interview did hit home a little. Particularly on this point: “As a society, we've kind of lost that balance. So many women today have become so focused on their children, they've developed these romantic entanglements with their children's lives, and the husbands are secondary ... I mean, you guys know Valentine's Day at your kids' schools. What happens on Valentine's Day? All the moms come in with perfectly frosted pink cupcakes that they've made with their kids. Well, what's Valentine's Day? Is Valentine's Day a day to make cupcakes with your children? No, Valentine's is supposed to be a day about romantic love.”

Um, guilty. Perhaps not of cupcake making, but of falling in love with my kids, of them being the centre of my world, of them getting the best of me.

Ms Waldman argues we’re supposed to be “in love” with our husbands and love our children. Not the other way round. Thinking about it, she makes a solid point.

When partners and marriages are starved of attention they often die. Failing to invest in your relationship because your children consume your heart, time and attention can be a recipe for disaster. And happy parents, happy homes, do equate to well-adjusted children, so the rationale of putting your relationship first makes sense.

But I think if you ask most mums, they’d still say their kids come first, rational or not.

A few weeks ago my husband and I celebrated our wedding anniversary with a night in a hotel. This is a rare occurrence and it was wonderful to spend some uninterrupted quality time together, to remember what it’s like to be ‘us’.

But, as much as I loved it, the next morning I was ready to get back to my kids. To kiss them, to hear about their day, to soak up their exuberant energy. My husband, on the other hand, could have happily stayed in that hotel for a week. As he said to me that morning, “I love our kids, but I do miss you.”

I thought that was a beautifully honest thing for him to say and I understood completely how he felt. Things are different, I’m different, and I know our relationship has taken a back seat over the last six years. And while I don’t apologise for investing so much into my kids, I’m mindful that our relationship needs that same investment in order for it to survive, let alone thrive.

As Keith Urban said, “There are too many parents who start to lose the plot a little and start to give all their love to the kids, and then the partner starts to go without. And then everybody loses. As a kid, all I needed to know was that my parents were solid. Kids shouldn't feel like they are being favoured. It's a dangerous place.”

Good point. It’s hard, though, to find any more energy to give some days. Young children are so mentally, emotionally and physically draining that it’s little wonder our partners are left wanting more from us.

Interestingly, when I asked my husband who he loved more, me or the kids, he answered with the very fence-sitting reply of “I love you the same, but differently”. I started to gently berate him for his cop out response, but then realised he had it right. Not more or less, just different.

Admitting he’s right in a national forum. Now THAT’S love!

Edited by EBmel, 03 April 2012 - 02:53 PM.
Edited by EBMel


#2 Guest_holy_j_*

Posted 03 April 2012 - 01:18 PM

Your husband is right.

Relationships, dying because a partner typically doesn't get enough attention, sure, but in many many cases, the partner gives very little out.

#3 CallMeProtart

Posted 03 April 2012 - 01:22 PM

I love my kids more - and possibly so does he - but it sounds like he's well aware that what his kids need most is for his relationship to be strong. Therefore putting your partner first actually IS what's best for the kids... which he does say.

#4 bakesgirls

Posted 03 April 2012 - 01:23 PM

I love my children and my husband differently. I love my children more than anything- infact I love them so much it is indescribable. I do however put my husband first. I know that in the horrendous event that something happen to one of my children, I would be alright, I have my husband. We would get through it together.

I do put my husband first. To me, children need a stable family unit. My husband and I still need/intend to be together long after the children have grown up, left home and have their own lives. We need to have more in common and to share than just our children. They see us sticking together through anything that comes our way and I hope one day that they will create their own strong and loving relationships.  

My husband and I go away and go out without our children all the time. It's just time for us. We talk about what is going on in our lives and do things together. To us it keeps us connected and on the same page. We need to maintain our relationship separate from our children. It doesn't mean that we love our children any less. A happy house with happy parents leads to happy children IMO.

#5 Spartacus

Posted 03 April 2012 - 01:29 PM

QUOTE (CallMeAl @ 03/04/2012, 02:22 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I love my kids more - and possibly so does he - but it sounds like he's well aware that what his kids need most is for his relationship to be strong. Therefore putting your partner first actually IS what's best for the kids... which he does say.


I disagree. Vehemently. I think it's more important for a child to know their parents love them more than anything. Thinking of my friends and acquaintances, the ones with loving but divorced parents are better off than the ones with parents who are cordial room-mates to them but in love with each other.

#6 itsaboysworld

Posted 03 April 2012 - 01:30 PM

Have never seen the need to quantify love when it comes to family.

I also never felt the need to withold love from one to give enough to another. Time and energy may become scarce from time to time, but I was always well aware that a life partner is just that, you plan to spend your lives together before, during and after any children you have and as such it requires time and effort. IMHO children require love care and attention on a very different level to the person I share roles and responsibilities with.

#7 alwayshappy

Posted 03 April 2012 - 01:30 PM

QUOTE
I know that in the horrendous event that something happen to one of my children, I would be alright, I have my husband. We would get through it together.


I feel so differently about bakesgirls quote.  If something were to happy to one of my children, I would be shattered and I do wonder how I'd ever survive.  HOwever, if something happened to my husband, I know I would be okay!

I definitely love my kids more than my husband - I would be lost without them but I know I'd be okay if something should ever happen to him (as devastated as I'd be!).

#8 Balto1

Posted 03 April 2012 - 01:34 PM

QUOTE (itsaboysworld @ 03/04/2012, 01:30 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Have never seen the need to quantify love when it comes to family.


True. I will go for the cop-out that I love them equally in different ways. Agree with some of the sentiments in the article- I do find the self-sacrificing martyr parents who put their children front and centre of everything ahead of their own needs tiresome. But each to their own.

#9 Danzie

Posted 03 April 2012 - 01:35 PM

I don't think it's a cop out at all to say you love your spouse and kids the same but differently.  I love my partner as an equal and I love my kids in more of a nurturing sense.  Is it that difficult to spread your love evenly?
I think I'd be ripping off both if I said my love was stronger for one or the other.



#10 SlinkyMalinki

Posted 03 April 2012 - 01:37 PM

I think it depends on the day wink.gif

#11 itsaboysworld

Posted 03 April 2012 - 01:38 PM

QUOTE (SlinkyMalinki @ 03/04/2012, 01:37 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I think it depends on the day wink.gif


That made me giggle original.gif

#12 bakesgirls

Posted 03 April 2012 - 01:44 PM

QUOTE (alwayshappy @ 03/04/2012, 01:30 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I feel so differently about bakesgirls quote.  If something were to happy to one of my children, I would be shattered and I do wonder how I'd ever survive.  HOwever, if something happened to my husband, I know I would be okay!

I definitely love my kids more than my husband - I would be lost without them but I know I'd be okay if something should ever happen to him (as devastated as I'd be!).


Don't get me wrong. If something were to happen to one of my children, I would be devestated. I wouldn't want to live. The point I am getting at is I would have my husband for support.

I'm not saying I love one more than the other. It's just different love. I do however put my marital relationship first. This would only change if it was detrimental to my children or they were in danger, which they are not.

#13 redkris

Posted 03 April 2012 - 01:46 PM

What Danzie said. The love I have for DS is almost at a chemical level, I have no choice in the matter. I'd take a bullet for him. If I'm away from him for more than a night, I really start to pine for him, for want of a better word...I just need to see him and cuddle him.
But I'm "in love" with DH and that's how it should be. Also, despite the love I feel for DS, there are many days that I "like" DH a hell of a lot more, and just to have someone around who understands me like no-one else does is so great...I manage ok when he's not there, but he will always be my safe place to fall.

#14 ABeautifulLife

Posted 03 April 2012 - 01:47 PM

I think men and women view and put different values on relationships with each other and their children.  My husband once told me that as much as he loves our children, he feels that the loss of a child would be devestating but the loss of me would be life-shattering.  I thought it was a very candid and honest statement that showed the depth of our relationship.  As previous posters have commented children will eventually leave home and you need to keep the relationship between partners strong as you will (hopefully) have many years with just the two of you again.  Its funny though because as much as I love my children, I have always felt my husband loved them more.  Just goes to show some people have an enormous amount of love to share original.gif

#15 Cancerian Moon

Posted 03 April 2012 - 01:52 PM

There's an old saying that's always annoyed me: "Men love women, women love children, children love hamsters". It's rubbish.
I agree with the PPs that you can't really compare the two.

#16 MidnightDad

Posted 03 April 2012 - 01:54 PM

QUOTE (AmityD @ 03/04/2012, 01:04 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Country singer Keith Urban has stirred a potential hornets nest in an interview for this month's Australian Women's Weekly, where he confesses he puts his relationship with his wife Nicole Kidman ahead of his children.

He has not been married even six years. If this brave passes the ten year mark of his marriage he may enter my tent to speak of the conflicts of love of spouse and children, but until then I consider him only a hollow booming log.

#17 AryaStar

Posted 03 April 2012 - 01:55 PM

QUOTE (redkris @ 03/04/2012, 01:46 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
What Danzie said. The love I have for DS is almost at a chemical level, I have no choice in the matter. I'd take a bullet for him.


Definitely. Until I experienced it firsthand after I had DS I had no idea the depth of love I could feel for another human being. It is so different from romantic love I simply can't compare them. The love I have for my child is so deep-rooted and primal I would sacrifice my life to save his or put myself in harms way to protect him without a moment's thought.

Is that even "love"? Or some deeply ingrained function of genetic preservation?

Tough one to answer but if I had to choose one I'd lean towards my child, who is only two years old and still totally dependent on me so I'm sure that heavily influences my answer.

Edited by Shady Lane, 03 April 2012 - 01:56 PM.


#18 Bluenomi

Posted 03 April 2012 - 01:57 PM

Well if it came down to making a choice between saving my DD or my DH, I'd save DD. But I don't know if that means I love her more, it's just because DH is a grown up and I'd expect him to save himeself where as DD couldn't.

I love them both but like others in a different way. I'm DD's mother, I can't help but love her, it's ingrained into every part of me. I've know her since birth, she's never been a stranger, she always been my child. DH on the other hand I had to learn to love as he went from being a complete stranger to my boyfriend to my husband.

#19 KnightsofNi

Posted 03 April 2012 - 02:01 PM

I love my kids more. I would be disappointed in my DH if he professed he loved me more than our children.

#20 Guest_Buy Me A Pony !_*

Posted 03 April 2012 - 02:01 PM

Do these same people who have an order of love, also love one child more than others? Love is not a finite resource IME but I know that for many people it is. DH and I made a pact years ago that we would never allow children to divide us and that it's more important for us to work together and foster the best communication between us so that we can handle whatever life (and children) throw at us wink.gif . It's working so far. DH nor I would also never intentionally put them in harms way so it's a no brainer for us.

#21 tres-chic

Posted 03 April 2012 - 02:02 PM

It's not really possible to 'rank' love but, if push came to shove, kids first, DH second.

But then, my DH is vastly annoying!

#22 TwiceTheWoman

Posted 03 April 2012 - 02:03 PM

QUOTE (MidnightDad @ 03/04/2012, 02:54 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
He has not been married even six years. If this brave passes the ten year mark of his marriage he may enter my tent to speak of the conflicts of love of spouse and children, but until then I consider him only a hollow booming log.

roll2.gif

#23 EBeditor

Posted 03 April 2012 - 02:06 PM

This article is making me feel like going home and hugging my husband!

My kids get enough cuddles.

#24 cinnabubble

Posted 03 April 2012 - 02:06 PM

It's Ayelet Waldman, I believe.

#25 chillibean

Posted 03 April 2012 - 02:11 PM

I read the article referred to here, and found it very interesting.

Who do I love more?  I can't really "rank" them as my love is so different.  I know I would survive if I lost DH, but I also know I would survive if I lost one of my DDs.  Having seen my parents go through that grief, i know it wouldn't be pretty but I would survive.

i do strongly believe the importance of maintaining a relationship and marriage as well as a family.  We try to take time to be a couple as well as Mum and Dad.  I have dreams of a loving and active retirement when we have successfully "done" our child-rearing and I would like to spend that time with the love of my life!




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