Being in full-time ministry, I have always taught and tried my best to put into practice prioritizing family, next to God. Having the right order of priorities helps me have the right perspective on the world and the people around me. My first priority is my relationship with my Creator, then comes my relationship with my family and then my job as a pastor. Having this order of priority in life keeps things simple for me especially when it comes to making decisions like which activities or meetings to say yes or no to.
In my own family, I also follow an order of priority. I am a child of God first. I do my best to see to it that I take time to talk and listen to my Father first before anything else. When I do this, I become more ready and prepared to fulfill my other roles as husband and father, better and with wisdom.
My second priority is being a husband. My wife comes next to God, before my child. In most families I have encountered during counseling sessions and visitations, I have often seen parents prioritizing their children over their spouses. A father who arrives tired from work tends to play with his children first before spending time and talking to his wife.
Early in my fatherhood this was my default. But I noticed that this created more tension and misunderstandings between me and my wife because we spent less quality time. A lot of times, the time left for me and my wife was just a leftover of the day and this caused more quarrels between us. The frequent fights, consequently, caused instability in the emotional makeup of our child.
So I have learned this principle that the healthier thing to do is for the husband and the wife to get together first for what I personally call “couch time.” It is a time to talk to each other before anything else – no TV, no playing with kids first. And this does not even need to be very long.
Aside from having children see that the priority is each other, it also forces couples to put everything else aside and give each other the undivided attention they cannot otherwise do in their daily schedule. This will eliminate the perception in the minds of the children that the world revolves around them. More importantly, it gives children a sense of security, which the family is supposed to give them to begin with.
The above article was also published via Philstar on September 27, 2011.