Written by: Pastor Deon Malan of Coffee & Confetti
When we get married our priorities list changes as God moves around how we encounter live one with another. The priorities in marriage enters a new list, this list contends that God is first, your spouse is after God, then children and then the rest, the following picture depicts it the best.
By looking at this picture, we need to change our viewpoint in order to understand fully on how to put our spouse first after Christ. A marriage where everything comes before your spouse is a business partnership rather than a lover or romantic partnership. So how do we come to this point?
Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit [through factional motives, or strife], but with [an attitude of] humility [being neither arrogant nor self-righteous], regard others as more important than yourselves. – Philippians 2:3
In a marriage it is of utmost importance to put your spouse first, as he/she becomes is your best friend and you need to be able to share all things with each other.
Putting your spouse first, means making an emotional connection a priority – having a connection of emotions and intimacy and understanding one another, this includes being friends before anything else and developing inside jokes and experiences as well as routines. Having deep conversations as well as sharing when something major happens, without withholding anything and trust and vulnerability are important aspects. It is also extremely important to engage in non-intimate touch as much as possible. Putting your spouse first also entails caring about each other’s thoughts, feelings and opinions, however not being manipulated by it.
God has given every person a degree of knowledge in certain aspects of life and these were given to protect one another. By putting one another first, we are actually protecting the person from stress or unwanted experiences both in public and private.
In marriage it is important to note that your spouse is your confidant, by putting him or her first, it means that everything gets shared with them first, this is not a form of manipulation or control, and it is a form of respect. Big news gets shared with your spouse first, not your mother or father or siblings. They fall in after your spouse and their level of importance diminishes. If you are still more connected to your family of origin than your spouse, you need to check your priority list. This all boils down to respect for one another.
When you let your spouse understand that they are first, you are telling them that you are there in their time of distress, you are listening to them and want to comfort them, it is also knowing what makes them tick and how to diffuse the bomb.
In his book Wired for love, Dr Stan Tatkin, gives us the distinctions between putting ourselves first in a relationship and when we focus on putting our spouse first, when the focus is on me first the list looks like this:
- Puts being independent first
- Takes little time to learn partners thoughts and feelings
- Allows partner to endure shame or hardship alone
- May treat partner as a third wheel
- Dismisses partner’s point of view
- Thinks neither partner should have to look after the other
- Disregards partner’s distress, no intent to be the go to for comfort
- Lives by “You do your thing, I’ll do mine.” and “If it’s good enough for me, you need to be okay with it.”
It is of utmost importance to say this is the wrong viewpoint in marriage, the next point from Dr Tatkin’s list is the correct way in putting your spouse first.
- Puts emotional connection first
- Takes ample time to learn partner’s thoughts and feelings
- Protects partner from feeling ashamed or alone
- Tells news to each other first
- Accounts for partner’s point of view
- Does not frighten, hurt or distress partner on purpose.
- Relieves partner’s distress even as the one who caused it.
- Lives by “Our relationship comes first before my need to be right, or competing demands from outside.”
When we put our spouse first, we must also know the love language of our spouse so that we can support their needs and fill their love tanks.
With this being said, make sure your spouse becomes your number one priority so that the relationship you have with one another can last for years and grow stronger and stronger by the day.
For the love language test, feel free to follow the link: