​Your kids, Spouse, Parents and Siblings; Who Should Come First?

There are questions I ordinarily wonder why people even have issues with them in the first place. However, I have learned that the fact that because I am from a healthy and balanced family doesn’t mean that other people share the same romantic history. And not everyone has acquired the amount of knowledge, exposure and experience that I have.

Over time, I have also come to realize that the family background is the biggest romance orientation any person could ever have, no matter what they are taught in school to PhD level or taught in a Church’s seminary. If people are not deliberate in changing or bettering that first orientation, they would have to live with it all the days of their lives.

You may have seen the meme or heard the riddle “if there was a situation where you could only rescue one person; your spouse, kid, mother or sibling, who would you rescue?”

Let’s Tete-a-Tete a little

Many people, including some pastors and marriage counsellors, have argued that parents should be rescued because they gave you life and that your parents did this by giving birth to you. And as such, you are obligated to reciprocate that life by rescuing them in a situation like the one quoted above. Some others have supported the kid on the reasoning that he or she is just new to the world and has more prospects; you never can tell/know what a child would become in the future. Still, some others have argued that it should be your spouse because the two of you are now “one.” Another argument is that your spouse should never come between you and your siblings; they were there before your spouse came into your life and they have gone through the ups and downs of your life from childhood.

I want to pick the different arguments one by one and let’s see how it goes. 

Your spouse versus your siblings

Oh, you don’t have to tell me about siblings; I have 6 of them and they are all awesome. I know that you’ve shared great memories with your siblings too, but let’s see this logically before I start quoting scriptures down your throat.

Our constitution in this country forbids discrimination of any kind based on the circumstances of the birth of any child or person. So, when it comes to who is or isn’t your sibling, you had and have no choice. Your free will was never given the opportunity for expression. Most people, while growing up, for several years (and even till now), wished that this or that person wasn’t their sibling. It wasn’t our choice and we don’t have the free discretion to ‘dis-sibling’ any person for there is nothing you can actually really do to make a person born by your parent be unborn by that parent.

However, when it comes to your spouse, you deliberately and consciously saw millions of people out there and chose one out of them all. You chose, willingly, to be committed to love, cherish and esteem that person above all others (including your kids, parents and siblings). Not just that, when you got married to the person, you made the commitment to rank the person beyond every other person, including yourself; loving him or her as Christ loves the Church, who at a time, gave His life for the church.

When it comes to your siblings and parents, life forced them on you.

You can’t be judged or condemned for who your sibling is, that was and is well out of your control. However, you can be judged on your choice of spouse. The decision for me to have my younger brother was made by my parents without taking my opinion into consideration. They gave birth to my sister too without consulting me to ask if I wanted one (and at that time, I didn’t want a sister for anything). So we were compelled to live and grow with people we didn’t choose and most likely did not even want in our lives.

When it comes to your spouse, it is a different ball game entirely; you decided and chose the person to be part of your life.

You chose to spend the remaining years of your life with this new person. In fact, you possibly spent about 20 years in your parents’ house, sharing a room and apartment with siblings, people who were forced on you by your parents, but now, you are given the freedom to choose the person you want to spend the rest of your 50 years or more with. That’s like 50years against 20years.

All your siblings are busy with their own lives, their own spouses, their own career, their own families and they don’t want you to interfere any longer in their business unless they call for help. Why do you think that the person who was forced on you for 20years, who is now about his or her own life should rank higher than your spouse who abandoned his or her biological family to spend the remaining 50 years plus of his or her life with you?

How many families do you know that hold a family reunion and every member of the family will usually present? Nah, some of them are about their personal business. However, if they had a family reunion, the fact that their parents are available to receive them shows that the parents value each other more than their siblings. If they didn’t, the parents wouldn’t have been home but would have travelled to spend Christmas with their own separate siblings or parents.

Your parents are not taking their siblings more important than their spouses, they are spending their lives and holidays with their spouses, why take your siblings (and parents) more important than your spouse?

Spouse versus parents

I grew up knowing that my dad valued and prioritized mom above all of us. He lived in our hometown and was supposed to live like a traditional man. But he kept on telling us that whatsoever he was doing for us was for our own good and not for us to help him in the future, that even when he retires, his pension would be sufficient for his wife and him.

I just want you to realize that you didn’t choose your parents, but you chose boo, you chose bae. Your parents are having themselves, why allow your father’s spouse (that is, your mom) to rank higher than your own wife? Why allow your mother’s spouse (that is, your dad) to rank higher than your own husband?

Ranking your parents above your spouse, making them come first before your spouse is in actual sense, making another person’s spouse more superior than your own spouse in your marriage, in your family, in your home, in your house. Think it through.

Your spouse versus your kids

You chose a person, married the person and agreed with the person to have kids, then you now rank the kids you both chose to have higher than that person. Just think about it. Does it make sufficient sense to be relied upon?

I feel that the reason why all these issues are creeping up is that we don’t have some basic understanding. And the reason why we don’t have this understanding is that we have never taken time to ponder over these issues.

Kids of 15 and 16 these days are already in the university and so, by 20, most kids would be out of your house living their own life.

Let’s assume your marriage was supposed to last for 50 years, why allow a kid that would only spend about 15 (or less) active years in your home to become more important than the person you deliberately and consciously chose, the person who would live with you for about 50 years or more? I mean, the kid would even leave you to go follow his own dreams and have his own family. Some may not even want you in their house during old age but may give you a maid, nurse or even put you in an elderly people’s home.

Soon, your kids will be so engrossed with their own lives that if you don’t call them, they may almost not remember that you are still there. You are only very important on your birthday, wedding anniversary, father’s day, mother’s day, Easter and Christmas. No, not that you are really important on those days, the truth is that you are a liability (let me say it mildly), a dependant who they must send money and gifts to. Left to your kids that aren’t married yet, they would have loved to spend Christmas with their friends or lover rather than spend all that money and make the journey to spend Christmas with you. Remember this is not the general reality for everybody sha. However, many people and families can relate to what I just stated.

In the course of raising kids and parenting, always remember that it is you and your spouse that’s in the same boat; both trying to be great parents to the kids as a team. So it doesn’t make sense to make the kids more important than your spouse who is your teammate. That would be likened to me, being a partner at Graceville Chambers, taking my client more importantly than my partners. How does it sound?

What I really think:

Victor Atokolo, pastor and author said, and I can’t forget that “Once you are married, every other person including your pastor becomes a third party”. Marriage is supposed to be for two. In Hyde v. Hyde, Lord Penzance said that marriage (Christian marriage, or marriage under the Marriage Act) “is the VOLUNTARY union of ONE man and ONE woman to the EXCLUSION of all others”, and the all others include your parents, siblings and kids!

Personally, based on all the arguments above, I believe it is unfaithfulness (both to your spouse and to your marriage covenant) for any other person or thing to rank higher than your spouse. Your husband isn’t your employee and your wife isn’t your purchased household item. The proper thing is that, once you have to choose between your spouse and any other person, your spouse should come first unless your spouse willingly and voluntarily wants to give up that right or privilege. Nobody should rank higher than your spouse.

I remember a quote during my teen days from one Awake! publication by the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, and it said, “Unfaithfulness is when another person gets the attention, rights and privileges which your spouse first deserves”. Your spouse first deserves you. This is why even when you want to do anything for your kids, parents or siblings, you ought to let your spouse know about it and get express consent from him or her first before you continue.

What does the Bible say about all of this?

It’s time for Bible stories and I hope you attended Sunday School. When there was a conflict between Abraham’s baby mama and Sarah, Abraham’s wife, God consented to the request of Sarah that the son and baby mama be sent out of the house although he was Abraham’s only son and he was already old. From that story, I learned that a wife ranks higher than a kid.

When Aaron and his Sister rebuked Moses for marrying a non-Israelite, God visited Moses sister with leprosy. I believe God was saying, you may be his sister and the one who babysat him, but don’t you dare question his wife. Don’t rank yourself higher than her.

In Malachi chapter 2, God condemns the Israelites for treating their wives badly and yet offering him prayers and sacrifices. I believe God was saying that your wife is more important than your religious worship.

According to the Laws of Moses, when a man is newly married, the law forbids him from going to war in defence of his country. He was required to attend to his wife without any distraction for a period of one year. I believe what God was saying is that your community, state, country or kinsmen shouldn’t come first before your spouse. Maybe if Bethsheba’s husband had obeyed this rule, he wouldn’t have died by David’s scheme – oh, he wasn’t an Israelite, so he may not have seen the rule to be binding on him. Just maybe.

The answer to the question “Your kids, Spouse, Parents and Siblings; Who Should Come First?” is simple:

Your spouse!

It all comes down to how kids are raised. What kind daddy and mummy are you?

My parents raised us to choose our spouse first before even our kids. And this was not done just by conduct but also by direct oral communication. My father would always use “my wife” rather than “your mother” whenever his sons had issues with their own biological mom. He would always remind us of how the home was made up of the two of them and that we were just blessings. One day, he even said we were blessings and people have the choice to accept or reject a blessing. From that day on, I knew that my mom was more important than us, all 4 sons and a girl (at that time) to him.

Even when mom died and dad remarried, it was easy for us to live in the reality that our new mom, my father’s wife, was more important than my father’s kids (us).

It is true that humans never want to give up power, whether it be political, social or parental. But any power, influence and control that doesn’t have check and balances are very unhealthy and abusive.

Once your kid steps out of your house, even before the person gets married, let the child know that he or she has more power, control and influence over his own life than any other person including you who is his parent!

Let them know that their spouse has more say over their lives than you do.

Stop cleaving to any power and authority that God has placed an expiry date on. Your authority and power over your children are not actually till death do you part but till their adulthood “do you part.” No wonder we have many grown people who resemble adults physically but are not even as mentally mature as teenagers when it comes to emotional intelligence and social intelligence.

Every parent has to know that when a person is a child, the parent is its leader and instructor. But once the child becomes an adult, the parent then becomes a counsellor.

And as former President Obasanjo once said, that you are an adviser doesn’t mean he must automatically take every counsel that you give. Every child has a mind of his own to make his own (well-informed) life decisions and make his own opinion stand against all others when it comes to matters of his personal life.

It’s such a pity that some parents still try to be dictators, instructors and even directors of their adult children’s lives and begin competing for power, authority and influence with their son/daughters-in-law (over their adult children).

Parents trying to control and manipulate their adult children’s lives is not just an African thing, it is a universal culture. However, my grandparents broke the pattern for us. My parents followed the new tradition and never will any of my descendants be a domineering parent on their adult children again in Jesus name.

I think I have been able to convince you and not confuse you that your spouse is more important and should take priority and rank before any other person or thing in your life.

DO NOT MIX THIS UP WITH LAYING DOWN YOUR LIFE FOR YOUR CHILD. THIS IS ABOUT CHOOSING BETWEEN A or B.

God bless Nigeria (good people, great nation)

My name is Earl, and I am Alright.

For Counselling: www.tinyurl.com/FixAppointment

Blog: www.tinyurl.com/AlrightsPassionWordpress

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IG: @theAlrightsPassion

It is your relationship with Jesus that makes your romance sweeter.

You rock!

Photo Credit: Dayo Loco-Efe

(13) Comments

  1. Spot on with this write-up, I actually believe that
    this amazing site needs a lot more attention. I’ll probably be back again to read more, thanks for the info!

  2. Putting your spouse at the always at the top is not right.
    Spouse is an important person in life but remember that you can always marry a new one.
    In this riddle you shouldn’t keep your spouse at the top.
    You are giving the spouse way too much importance.
    If you are a woman than higher changes are that your husband will pass away years or decades before you. Now you are left with your kids and maybe siblings.
    In my view of this riddle I would save my
    1.kid
    2.sibling
    3.spouse
    4.parent
    I kept my sibling above my spouse because I can always marry and get a new spouse but I cant get a new real sibling. he might be busy with raising his kids but siblings are siblings. Your parents leave you too early your spouse comes late in your life but your siblings are always there with you. There are moments when we wish that we didn’t had that sibling but that is temporary.

      1. I didn’t mean that I would keep my siblings as my priority over my spouse but if I was given a choice to lose my spouse or sibling, I would save my sibling.

  3. Well, In my not-so-humble opinion, all I got from this is that you are giving your spouse way too much importance and casually passive roasting your family of origins. Yes, indeed, you cannot choose your parents or siblings whilst you are born but not when you were not born yet. You see, there is always reasons and basis on everything. Your soul (also known as your true self, your heart, your personality) chooses what family you will be born into. For the family of your soul’s choice will help you along the way of life. You cannot choose who you get to live with in your early years because the soul has already chosen it for you. And if you neglect and regret being in the family of your childhood years, that means you are refusing the gift of God, and being utterly ungrateful for the actions they did to make you “You”. After all, who knows what kind of person you would turn out to be if you happened to be an orphan in the past, or you might not be even here. So I will never forget my first family’s actions of making me who I am right now and will be forever grateful. Also saying that siblings completely go separate ways and very much doesn’t want you to interfere with their life is just rubbish. Yes, they do go their own ways but they will never be fully separated. “No matter how far they are to each other, siblings are always connected with heart”. They would still want their sibling to be a part of their life, still want them to be an amazing aunt or uncle of their children. No one by far (except the writer of this post) would make their spouse more important than their siblings. One will just treat, respect, and love them equally. And if your spouse is trying to be a higher class than your siblings and asking you which you would prefer, then your spouse do not deserve your love. In the adult years, when you marry, children are the number 1 priority. And your spouse is a partner on that duty.
    Not everyone spends the rest of their life with another person other than their OG family. Some people live with their siblings still, brothers and brothers, sisters and sisters etc. And me personally am an aromantic (which defines as person who has no interest in romantic relationships) is not intending to marry nor have children. I also have a sister who is very close to me, and in the future, if she ever marries, I will not make her husband as an excuse to not spend time with my own sister. It is indeed true that parents leave early, spouses come late but also can leave you. But above all siblings are always there for each other. Their relationship is sometimes wavered but never broken. A family I was born into, the family I had spent my childhood in, the family that had shaped my personality and made me who I am is a sacred gift from God. Because you can never really choose your gifts from others, you can never really choose your siblings. They exist to make you feel not alone, exist to pull you back up when you fall. They taught you forgiveness, caring, love, bravery, selflessness, self confidence, hope etc. My loyalty to my OG family (parents, siblings, relatives) will never be broken. Lovers are temporary, siblings are eternal. Spouses can be replaced, siblings cannot be replaced (for they have know you way from the start). No one will know you more than your sister, no one will protect you more than your brother. It’s always family first. And my siblings were my family way before my spouse came in. So yeah, verdict: siblings would come first.

    1. It’s about if you find a right person in your life . If your spouse become your soulmate no one can be higher than her or him. I can live without my sibling but I can’t live without my husband because he is my everything.. of course if you don’t find that person in your life , if you are not lucky enough you always go back to your sibling for support because unfortunately you were not lucky to find your true partner in life. Just because you were born in the same family doesn’t mean they know you more than someone that spend every second of their life with each other for 50 or more years. Spouses know things about each other that sibling will never know those secrets. If you don’t grow up and if you don’t find your soulmate of course you always want to get attention from your sibling .

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