As if by synchronicity Leila Tomasone addressed a topic today I had on my list to tackle next:
It’s a shame she’s being attacked for this. Because she is 100% correct.
One of the worst things about Twitter is that a sizable amount of the people there are idiots. When you make a statement, rather than seek to understand where the truth in it is — they gravitate immediately towards an absurd exception. This is mid-wit behavior and adds zero-value as everyone always agrees with the exception. All it does is deflect from actual insight.
For instance, NOBODY thinks one parent should allow the other the abuse a child because “your spouse is more important than your children.” You are a DUMB FUCK if you think the above statement facilitates abuse.
The point of what Leila is saying is really simple. There is a modern epidemic where a husband and wife make their focus their children over each other.
This creates obvious problems not only for the parents, but the children. Your children determine their pair-bonding behavior from watching you. If like in many modern marriages, the mother belittles and undermines the father in front of the child — or refuses to set boundaries around her children for “mommy-daddy time” — she is:
- Creating resentment and destroying the connection with her husband
- Modeling to the child that it’s “natural” for marriages to be unloving and unhappy
- Creating anxiety in the child as the child feels instability in their parents’ relationship, and questions the safety of attachment to either parent
- Having to take on the emotional needs of the parent(s) who dump their own needs onto the child
This is how “nice guys” and “promiscuous girls” are made. This is how you get the marriage rate to collapse generation after generation.
But more importantly, this is how you have an unhappy marriage and maximize your chances of divorce.
And moreover, it’s not even effective.
You see… when you are not focused on your marriage, very often you stop working as a team. So you fall into “take” mode with your spouse rather than “give” mode. You try to cut corners rather than go the extra mile, because you want to make things easier on your spouse.
In other words, raising kids goes from being rewarding work to obligatory work for one if not both parents. You lose the motivation to help the other out, and in many cases ultimately become adversaries. After a few years divorce is natural. And then the work only increases.
Some trad families “make it” through these dead marriages out of dedication to God. But you see the damage this role-based behavior leaves once the kids grow up. Two strangers living in the same house who barely communicate.
I don’t think I need to emphasize this doesn’t do much to persuade subsequent generations they should take the same path.
In contrast there is nothing healthier for a child than to experience their father and mother loving each other, and acting out that love. To see not only affection but loyalty: a unified front.
Now, will there be times that the child doesn’t like this?
“I don’t want you and daddy to go out for dinner.”
But guess what?
Penny-wise, pound-foolish is not just an aphorism about money.
That kid might be sad in the moment, but he will feel much much happier when he sees his parents happy. Because the happiness of the home is perhaps the biggest variable in his level of baseline anxiety.
Yes, there are limits to this, and execution is everything. Parents can over-focus on each other to the extent of ignoring the children — if you are going out every night to party and leaving your kids with the nanny, they are going to develop attachment issues. There is a balance.
But the key point is that if your marriage isn’t in great shape, you are best served putting more energy into your spouse and fixing it rather than project it onto the kids. Because you serve both yourself and the kids when you serve your marriage.
Anyway, easier said than done for most — I know.
Work gets in the way, and even if WE want to improve our relationship with our wife… how do we get her to do the same?
These sort of shifts are exactly what I do with clients.
So if you know some things need to change in your marriage…
Apply here: www.patstedman.com/application