If you really want to be the best parent you can be, make your marriage your priority. Soon, Brooke and I will be like those couples who’ve been together longer than they were apart. We were married at 22 and are thrilled to be in a thriving 21-year marriage.

That means I was with Brooke the first time I saw a cell phone or a web page. Also, we have been parents for 20 of those same years. We have learned a lot about the idea of balancing our roles as spouses and our roles as parents.

What we have concluded may surprise you.

Put simply, there is no balance. Let your inner lover win out over your inner parent. You are better prepared to work shoulder to shoulder as parents after you have related face to face as lovers.

Being good parents can and often does come at the expense of being lovers.

The selflessness and sheer volume of attention required to be an attentive parent, especially during certain seasons of a child’s life, run against the goal of staying emotionally connected as husband and wife. It’s important to acknowledge the fact that the presence of this child in your home and your dedication to him or her is a real threat to marital closeness.

Being an attentive and emotionally available spouse does not make you less prepared to be a good mom or dad. In fact, a mom or dad who spends their day feeling known, cherished, and cared for is far better equipped to care for a child.

The marriage and the child are equally important, but you must make the marriage the priority.

Children are happiest when parents are taking care of each other. Many children don’t even know that they should long for a healthy home. The picture of a dad and mom who are hopelessly in love with each other first and a parent second has been lost to divorce and over-parenting.

Let your inner spouse take priority over your inner parent, and give your children a vision of making their own happy healthy home.

Brian Bowman

Brian Bowman

Brian Bowman is the pastor of Valley Life | Tramonto, the first Valley Life Church planted in 2012. He planted his first NAMB church in 2004 in Portland, OR. Brian also writes for the Send Network Blog and Acts 29.