Thursday, 21 May 2009

Child or father first?

A woman has stated publicly that she loves her husband more than her children. Rightly she sees this as a forbidden thing to say. She is brave to go against the mainstream view.
Nor does she sound like a bad mother. But a confused one.

Putting children first doesn't cut out flourishing sex with their father/ a partner, as the lady seems to think. Over a long marriage sex dips or disappears, sometimes for months on end. Early years childcare is so exhausting, and privacy is a problem! But sex comes back - it has a lot of raw power!
In fact it's good for children to know that a love affair is happening, and to learn the courtesy of respecting sexual privacy. A closed bedroom door means 'do not disturb except in emergency' which is an important social code.

Nor does devotion to child mean you cannot adore your lover. There are different kinds of love, and different kinds of passion. Both these are passionate loves. Both stir the heart and soul.

You don't necessarily have to feel like you're "in love" with the child. Devotion is none the worse for not being romantic. I guess it depends how romantic you are.
My son is a kind of faerie magical prince to me, a dream lover. Freud knew his stuff! Only of course that bedroom bit belongs to husband. I cannot imagine any of that in connection with my child even if I try. But I'm undoubtedly "in love" - missing his presence, delighted at every detail of his appearance, all the symptoms of heart and mind being in love.
Maybe this lady who feels she is not "in love" with her child is interpreting being "in love" too sexually?

What is right and proper however, is for the new life to take absolute priority. That is nature's way.
Only if the child's longer term, or deeper needs justify pushing it to one side for the sake of the father, can this be a good thing. For example I once put the father first for most of a year. He had cardiac crises, over and over again.
It was terribly difficult balancing the devotions. I made time for my child, and made sure he had high quality care while I stayed in hospital keeping his father alive. But clearly, this was about saving his father for him, and secondly, my beloved.

The "what if" game is helpful.
If the house is on fire, and you can't save both partner and child - obviously you save the child. It would be agonising - but then you see I know that his father would have it no other way. He knows that I would put our son first, as I know he would too. That is something to do with why I love this father so very much.

When baby was tiny I hesitantly voiced this. Looking at the precious little thing between us, I said softly to the father "You know, I can't put you first any more, don't you?"
He glared at me like a savage. "What the hell do you think I'm doing as well?" he roared. "Of COURSE he comes first."
That is a profound love to share.

Both parents should put their child first on anything important. But that still leaves plenty of places for the adult beloved to have priority as well. With sex, romance, fun and all the rest.


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