We are told in our society that we should always put ourselves first. I was told in all of my training, we always need to put ourselves first so that we have energy to then take care of others. Then I became a wife and mother. I discovered that I couldn’t always put myself first. There were many times my kids’ needs came first, or my husband’s did. Occasionally even the dogs’ needs did. So I reflected on all the things I had been taught and decided it was time to re-think those lessons.
My new philosophy is that my needs, my husband’s needs and my children’s needs all come first, but at different times. Often the kids’ needs are paramount. But sometimes the couple needs to come first. If I do not put time in to nurturing my relationship, it will wither and die. So, there are times that I put my and my children’s needs in the back to focus on my husband and our marriage.
Anyone who is a parent knows that our children require much time and energy, if you are doing it right. So, often, my children’s needs come first. But I remind myself that this is temporary. I have two teenagers. One is about ready to fly. The other thinks he is. They will be gone before I know it. I can give them the energy and time they need.
However, sometimes I have to put my needs first. If I do not, then I cannot be a good wife, mother or therapist. For example, I have had a cold for the last few days that has really knocked me out. It was time for me to come first. I sat on the couch, watched TV and had my family pamper me. It was delightful.
Look at your priorities. Make sure that you are in the top three, but don’t be too rigid. Allow the priorities to shift as necessary.
The bottom line is to not judge your relationship on one day, but on the whole year. Be loving to your partner every day. Be loving to yourself as well.
Enjoy the journey.