Daily Trust (Abuja)

22 February 2013

Nigeria: Why Women Shouldn't Put Children Ahead of Their Marriage

analysis

Many women often neglect the care of their husbands when they start having children. They give excuses such as; added responsibilities of taking care of the children make them unable to give the same care they gave their husbands prior to the marriage or before they started having children, children need more care than their husband who is an adult, natural motherly instinct demands putting children ahead of the husband, among others. However many a marital relationship have been destroyed as a result of putting children ahead of the husband or marriage.

These category of women focus their attention and affection on the children. They give little or none at all to their husbands. In fact some of them seem to forget they have husbands.

The addition of children to the home does not mean the woman can no longer spend quality time with her husband, it does not imply all the conversation they now have should only or wholly be about the children, or that she can no longer look good for her husband, or putting his welfare or concern in a secondary position. Albeit those who put children ahead of marriage often think it is so, and some of them make it a point of duty to make the man know this in their actions and ways they treat him or continually voice it out to him.

While your husband deeply loves his children, know they belong to both of you and also prefers you adequately love and care of them, when all this becomes at his expense or he is not getting what he thinks is his due, problems begin to surface.

Marriage experts and psychologists say this leads him to feeling unloved, lonely and neglected, angry, unimportant and unappreciated and even jealous of your relationship with the children. The consequences of his feeling this way could either destroy the romance in the marriage or put an end to it on the long run.

When you spend all the time with your children, the man begins to lack companionship. He begins to feel lonely and vulnerable to outside temptation and other women.

Mrs Grace Enemali, a civil servant said, "Women should learn to balance their love and care for both their husband and children. Putting your marriage first does not mean neglecting the children. Many men don't like it when wives put children first in everything in the home and put them second. Although some women often say men who still expect the same care when they have children are selfish and not understanding, after all, the demand of caring for the children is more on the woman than the man.

"They say 'the man should not expect much attention when I didn't sleep during the night because of the crying of the baby, he shouldn't expect so much attention when I am tired from meeting the needs of the children' and so on. A woman can still take excellent care of her children when she puts her husband first. He needs to be put in his own important place in the home, we know the man is an adult but he still has his needs. What she needs to do is to put the marriage first and take stock on how to give both the husband and children the best."

Also commenting on the issue, a lawyer who simply calls himself, Lanre said, "Sometimes when I see the way some women neglect their husbands using children as excuse, I feel pity for their husbands. It is like they are now married to the children. There is this particular woman I know, each time you come to her house, she is either talking, playing or joking with the children while her husband sits in a corner alone. Her conversation all through too is about her children.

"When your husband notices you are only concerned about the children and not him, he wouldn't be happy. He will soon leave you to dedicate your attention to the children and seek attention elsewhere. It is not wise to always turn down your husband's request, and running around to do same for your children or telling him 'forget your own let us attend to the children first' or he says he is hungry for instance and the woman answers 'I am not talking about you, I am talking about getting baby or the children food.' There is no point showing little concern when he needs you just to attend to the needs of the children.

"You don't always have to jump and hug the children alone and asking about their day or welfare when they come home from school while never doing the same for your husband when he comes from work, or even comes home together with the children, then spending the rest of the evening talking to the children alone. A woman shouldn't stop doing the hairstyles or wearing dresses her husband usually prefers because of the children. If this kind of things continues daily, it only tells the man you love the children more, it may start getting on his nerves too."

Azumi Inuwa, a journalist said, "When your whole life revolves around the children, the man begins to get tired. It is not good to overlook your husband just to love and care for your children. The man may become frustrated or even jealous of your relationship with your children. Your husband is very important too."

She adds: "In fact as a wife, believe you have two children, your husband and the children. And seek how to take care of both."

It is necessary for every woman to show her husband his pride of place in the home. Make him feel appreciated and loved while looking after the children. When care of the children such as when one of them is sick starts affecting your usual relationship with your husband, try to talk to your husband about it. Seek his assistance with the care of the child and understanding of the situation. It may not be enough to think the man understands what you are going through.

Mrs Enemali advises thus; "The scriptures also enjoin women to be loyal to their husbands. So after God, it is their husband and not the children. When a woman is neglecting her duty to him, the man should not just be angry and seek other ways but call his wife and discuss the issue with her. You can also assist her in doing some things so that you can together raise a happy home and the beautiful children God has given you. And for the woman, do not ignore your husband's complain when he says you are neglecting him, see how to get his understanding and make amends."

Just as David Code, a family therapist advises in his book, "To Raise Happy Kids Put Your Marriage First " adults should spend more time being a perfect spouse and less time being a perfect parent. He writes: 'We parents today are too quick to sacrifice our lives and our marriage for our kids. But as we break our backs for our kids, our marriage and self-fulfillment go out of the window."

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