Parenting dilemma: Do you love your kids more than your SO?

Dilemma: My husband thinks I love our kids more than I love him. If I am telling the truth, he’s probably correct, but I think that is the way it should be. He says that’s so wrong. I’m wondering what other parents think about this.

Every Friday at 8:10 p.m., readers meet on the Chicago Parent Facebook page to help solve parenting dilemmas. 

“I think both parents should prioritize the needs of the children. Love should never be compared. He sounds jealous and I would be very uncomfortable with that. If he needed more of your affection, the mature and stable thing to do would be to tell you that without comparing the relationship you have with your children to the one you have with him.” — Jen K.

“A strong marriage makes a strong family. Sounds like he is missing you. Spend some time with him. Start dating again. Many times when the focus is on the kids and when they are grown and have moved out, many marriages break apart because the couple have lost their connection to each other.” — Kirsty B.

“Husband should be first. A secure marriage makes kids feel secure and it models healthy relationships for them.” — Andrea J.

“They are two completely different types of love. You can and (probably) do love them both the same. You love your children as individuals yet part of you, as a teacher, chef, protector, nurse, boo-boo healer, advisor, cheerleader, disciplinarian, as THEIR everything. Your HUSBAND owns an intimate part of you as your lover, friend, confidant, protector, savior, through your tears, smiles, good and bad.” — Dawn D.

“I don’t see how comparing the two is useful. I love them differently, not more or less. My kids require more of my attention. It sounds like your husband wants more of yours.” — Kate S.

“Personally, I don’t think you can compare the two. And if you can, then your marriage is in trouble. He sounds insecure and this competition he seems to have with your kids for your love sounds dangerous.” — Sarah R.

“Husband first, then kids. Kids will grow and have their own families. He was there before, during and after the kids.” — Jen E.

“I personally think people compare the two way too often. You actually should love them both equally just in different ways.” — Dianna A.

“It doesn’t matter what we all think. Your partner is struggling in your relationship and that should matter to you. Talk it though and find a balance that works for you both. If you can’t do it alone, then find a therapist who can help.” — Jennifer D.

“A healthy strong relationship is based on communication. When my husband and I agreed on committing to a loving marriage, we made sure to meet each other’s families, sat down and discussed our goals personally and professionally, children, home, pets, likes and dislikes. And although it takes time to build a relationship it was important to discuss together before marriage. I believe husbands are the center of attention at first when married and then your children come and it becomes our children first and then us. For us it has worked well to place our children first and then us. We have loving, caring, respectful, not perfect but great marriage.” — Mia A.

“I would guess that he is saying this because your marital relationship isn’t getting the attention it needs and this is his attempt to tell you that, not because he is insecure or trying to have a competition with your kids. I would look at the amount of time being invested in maintaining it. The marital relationship is equally important to a happy home and kids as is the parent/child relationship. Kids are very time consuming and can make it hard, especially when they are young.” — Karen I.


This article originally appeared in the Chicago Parent’s February 2020 print issue. Read the rest of the issue here.

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