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Should you love your spouse more than your kids?


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Old 19th July 2014, 1:25 AM   #1
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Should you love your spouse more than your kids?

When I was a kid, I remember asking my mother this very question. Her answer? I love your dad the most. As a kid you take a step back. What? She told me I would understand someday, that I'll "get" it and that I should be happy that my parents both truly still love each other unconditionally. All correct answers now that I am in the same position.

I have two young kids. I love them to death. I would stand in front of a truck for them, just like my mom would have, and still would (by the way she still is a very loving "motherly" mother).

However, I met my wife first. I love my wife unconditionally the same way I love my children. I would take a bullet for her, I would protect her, take the blame for something and no matter what at the end of the day I still love her. However, there is one thing missing with your wife that you don't have with your kids. You love your wife in a lustful way as well. You are physically and sexually attracted to your wife. That is impossible to surpass because all the little cute things that make you love your kids will make you love your wife too, but you have an added dimension with your spouse.

So I love my wife more. Do you agree it should be this way?
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Old 19th July 2014, 2:20 AM   #2
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I think it oversimplifies things to suggest that there is a one-dimensional spectrum, with "less love" at this end, and "more love" at that end, on which you can place the different members of your family, and therefore rank them in some absolute sequence.

As you, yourself point out, the "love" you have for you wife has different dimensions to it (sex) that your love for your children will never have. So I don't find that I can just take a few test cases - would I jump in front of a bullet? Would I trade my life to protect? Would I forgive a crime being committed? - and use the yes/no answers to create a simple ranking.

My contribution to your thought process is that I have kids, and I have an ex-wife who decided to divorce me. I devoted my love and my life to this woman, long before our kids arrived, and yet my love for her eventually extinguished, much because her love for me disappeared. This does happen all the time to spouses. I cannot imagine any equivalent process that is anywhere near as prevalent between parents and children (estrangement does happen, but not as commonly as divorce, by far...)

So from this, can we simplistically conclude that on the average, love for children is "more" than love for spouse? I still say no because I say you can't measure them as the same "love", on the same scale, and any attempt to do so oversimplifies the discussion.
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Old 19th July 2014, 3:20 AM   #3
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I think the love is just different. I wouldn't even know how to compare because they come from different parts of my heart. One I chose to bring into this world to experience life and the other I chose to share my entire life with in this world.
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Old 19th July 2014, 3:32 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by Clockwork View Post
When I was a kid, I remember asking my mother this very question. Her answer? I love your dad the most.
I think that's ****ty that your mom answered in that way. She didn't need to tell you more or less (even if she felt it at that moment), just different.
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Old 19th July 2014, 5:52 AM   #5
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I understand the logic of putting your spouse first, but find unconditional love difficult for anyone but my children.

I tend to have a pretty unconventional and wide ranging imagination and I still can't imagine any act (and yes the worst kind of stuff) that I would not still have a love for my child. Not so with my spouse.

But yes I get the fact that theoretically your spouse is your life mate and will and should be by your side till death. Kids leave the home and get their own lives eventually (your job is to get them safely out of the nest and away), were as a spouse should be with you forever.
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Old 19th July 2014, 9:54 AM   #6
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I think that's ****ty that your mom answered in that way. She didn't need to tell you more or less (even if she felt it at that moment), just different.
40 years of marriage later and they're still together though. Shouldn't that be the way it is? Shouldn't you love your spouse more than anyone else and shouldn't they be your best friend?

It isn't as if I felt shunned when she told us this, I was young, she was trying to explain how a "mommy loves a daddy" is different than children. She was right though, it is a totally different dimension.

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I think it oversimplifies things to suggest that there is a one-dimensional spectrum, with "less love" at this end, and "more love" at that end, on which you can place the different members of your family, and therefore rank them in some absolute sequence.

As you, yourself point out, the "love" you have for you wife has different dimensions to it (sex) that your love for your children will never have. So I don't find that I can just take a few test cases - would I jump in front of a bullet? Would I trade my life to protect? Would I forgive a crime being committed? - and use the yes/no answers to create a simple ranking.

My contribution to your thought process is that I have kids, and I have an ex-wife who decided to divorce me. I devoted my love and my life to this woman, long before our kids arrived, and yet my love for her eventually extinguished, much because her love for me disappeared. This does happen all the time to spouses. I cannot imagine any equivalent process that is anywhere near as prevalent between parents and children (estrangement does happen, but not as commonly as divorce, by far...)

So from this, can we simplistically conclude that on the average, love for children is "more" than love for spouse? I still say no because I say you can't measure them as the same "love", on the same scale, and any attempt to do so oversimplifies the discussion.
That's a fair point. Yes if the divorce happens then that love is null and void and certainly would be below your children. In that case the average love of children outweighs a spouse/ex-spouse because there are so many divorces. I was thinking more like you are happily married and will be for a long time.

But I get what you are saying. It is like if you ask what was the happiest day of your life and you say your wedding day. Well, if you are divorced that's not exactly going to be remembered as the happiest day of your life.
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Old 19th July 2014, 10:11 AM   #7
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I don't think it's an issue of 'loving' one more or less than the other. How can you quantify any kind of love?


It's a matter of prioritizing time and energy and attention and finding a balance that works for everyone.


spouses are like teeth, if you ignore them and don't take care of them, they'll go away.


Children obviously need a lot of attention and care too, especially in the beginning. there is no question that there needs to be some accommodation for the children and both spouses are going to take a hit on the amount of attention they get when there are babies around.


But if someone is devoting pretty much all of their time and attention into the kids and shoving their spouse into the back corner and telling them to just suck it up and deal with it, eventually they are going to deal with it by finding attention elsewhere or just simply packing up their stuff and moving on.


Yes kids need a lot of time and attention, but people need to realize one of the most important things to the health, safety and well being of children is to grow up in a loving, healthy, two-parent home and one of the most detrimental things is to grow up in a dysfunctional home.


It's crucial for kids to have two loving parents in the home and there can't be two loving parents if one or both are getting their individual needs ignored and neglected.
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Old 19th July 2014, 10:20 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Smilecharmer View Post
I think the love is just different. I wouldn't even know how to compare because they come from different parts of my heart. One I chose to bring into this world to experience life and the other I chose to share my entire life with in this world.

Exactly. This is not a matter of quantity. Love for my wife and love for my children come largely from different parts of my "heart", for lack of a better word. My wife and I share a camaraderie that extends beyond our children as well as a more mature connection and history.


I think rather than identifying it as "more", I would say that the love I have for my wife affords her a certain "priority" over the children. We have a responsibility to each other to keep ourselves well so that we can be good parents and role models. I think that instead of more or less, as you put it, it is more a matter of the maturity of the love. Wife more mature, children less mature.
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Old 19th July 2014, 10:28 AM   #9
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Love for children is unconditional. Love for one's spouse, while it can be a very deep love, is always *somewhat* conditional.

The difference is really in the quality and not the quantity.
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Old 19th July 2014, 2:23 PM   #10
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To me, kids are for life. Not until they are 18. A good parent is always there to provide guidance. Relationships and marriages can come and go. Too many parents have ruined their relationships with their kids by sticking with a controlling or dbag of a stepparent. If you think being a parent is over by 18, you shouldn't have kids and you can put your spouse first all you want.

Last edited by pink_sugar; 19th July 2014 at 2:25 PM..
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Old 19th July 2014, 2:29 PM   #11
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You shouldn't 'love' anyone more than you 'love' yourself.
Unless you can hold yourself in the highest esteem, every other love is flawed.
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Old 19th July 2014, 2:37 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Clockwork View Post
So I love my wife more. Do you agree it should be this way?
I do agree.

When my ex asked me this, it was after being asked, "if a bus was coming at your wife and child, and you could only push one of them out of the way, who would it be?" My ex would have basically pushed me in front of the bus, because youre supposed to love your children more, apparently. That was his answer.

He did not tell me what his response was. He asked for my answer. I told him that I would choose him. We lost our twins together, when we were together, and the one thing I thanked God for was that He didn't take my ex too. At least we still had a chance to be together and try again for more children. As weird as that may sound to some. I lost my babies and no one can ever discount their dear souls. I still grieve over losing them. It has been a few years now, and I am not really sure how I feel about it all. Sad. I feel sad. I don't know if it is right, or if its wrong. I felt blessed he was still in my life, and we could continue trying to have more children after we lost them. I felt blessed I wasn't raising twins alone without him. I have no idea what I would have done, down the road, or how I would have felt years into our lives. I didn't get that chance. My ex actually got angry at me for answering the way I did. Lol. I think he even used to the word awful to describe me, because i said him and not our children.

We are now in a very different spot than we ever were then, upon being asked this. If we had the twins together, in our current situation, my answer may be very different, I would think. We are no longer together for other reasons.
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Old 19th July 2014, 4:39 PM   #13
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As long as I'm in a happy marriage, I can't ever imagine loving any future kids more than my wife.

Hell, the kids are probably something I'd just have to make her happy.
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Old 19th July 2014, 4:54 PM   #14
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As long as I'm in a happy marriage, I can't ever imagine loving any future kids more than my wife.

Hell, the kids are probably something I'd just have to make her happy.
Pretty much exactly where I was before we had kids. Once you have them and hold them, you may find things shift. And in fact, for me, things have now completely flipped - she's not my wife any more, and I can't imagine anything ever changing the deep love and bond I have with my children.

But bottom line: I still don't see it as simply one-dimensional to say "I loved her more," or "I love them more". My love for her was in colors. My love for them is in flavors. I don't love red more or less than I love cinnamon.

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Originally Posted by Clockwork
It is like if you ask what was the happiest day of your life and you say your wedding day. Well, if you are divorced that's not exactly going to be remembered as the happiest day of your life.
Interestingly, in my case anyway (and I am now divorced and quite jaded about the whole marriage thing), I will always remember my wedding day as one of the best, happiest days of my life. That was an awesome day.

I still acknowledge the point you were making, though.
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Old 19th July 2014, 4:57 PM   #15
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Pretty much exactly where I was before we had kids. Once you have them and hold them, you may find things shift.
I've heard that before. That for many guys they don't feel like a father and realized that they wanted kids till they actually held their baby.

Maybe that will be the case for me.

Quote:
And in fact, for me, things have now completely flipped - she's not my wife any more, and I can't imagine anything ever changing the deep love and bond I have with my children.

But bottom line: I still don't see it as simply one-dimensional to say "I loved her more," or "I love them more". My love for her was in colors. My love for them is in flavors. I don't love red more or less than I love cinnamon.
When you divorce your wife, it's understandable why the deep love for her would no longer exist.

But I'm talking being in a happy loving marriage. I can't ever imagine loving my kids more than my wife.
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