With all of the distractions, obligations, and personal pursuits in life, it can seem difficult to prioritize your partner. In fact, some believe it is downright impossible.
Huh? How can I possibly choose my partner first? What about my kids? What about my faith? What about my interests? What about ME?
In Chapter Two of Radical Marriage, we highlight the Five Promises of Radical Commitment. In our view, this forms the cornerstone of any couple seeking to go beyond happily ever after. While each of the promises must be taken together, here we focus on The Second Promise:
I promise to choose you first.
Come Sail Away with Me
David loves boats, sailboats in particular. He loves the water. He is most happy being on, in, under, or near the water. It’s part of who he is.
Darlene gets violently seasick. She is uneasy in the water. The thought of even stepping foot on a boat can elicit motion sickness. She naturally gravitates away from water.
What to do? Choose Your Partner First. A Radical Marriage means you are committed to each other, not to your own self-interests. It means you put your partner first.
Darlene, despite her feeling about the water, encouraged David to get a boat and made it her mission to conquer her fears. David, in turn, does everything in his power to make being on the boat comfortable for Darlene. There’s even talk about living on a houseboat someday, though David has made it clear that he chooses Darlene, with or without the boat.
We all have concessions to make. We all make sacrifices. We all need to let go of some things that we might want in order to be with a particular person. We need to put partner before pursuits. And we can consciously be happy with that or we can unconsciously never let go of that. We can decide to be happy and stay in the moment, or we can tolerate our situation day to day, staying in touch with how we are being denied what we really want, always slightly aware of how our life is not the way we want it to be.
On the other hand, you just might be surprised how happy you can be and where your relationship can go when you elevate your marriage above all else.
Following are tips to help strengthen your marriage. But first, check out my products related to marriage health.
Staying Strong Together
Choosing your partner first doesn’t mean you are not prioritizing yourself, your family, or anyone or anything else. It’s NOT either/or, it’s both/and. This simply means you recognize that you, your family, and your kids will be much happier and better off if you and your partner are a solid, unbeatable team and have a strong couple partnership IF you both prioritize each other’s happiness and you each choose the other first.
If, for example, you put your kids first, you have a kid-centered household and that tends to not work very well for anyone. The kids get spoiled and the partner gets resentful because they end up living parallel lives. Choosing your partner first, always, above everything, is a form of radical commitment, which benefits all who are under its influence.
Still, this concept can be especially tough for women, who may feel they are choosing the man over the child. This is not the case. It’s a matter of prioritizing the relationship and the partner. Do you want your partner to choose YOU first? Most would say “YES!” True partners must be a team, which ultimately results in more empowered children.
Choose Your Partner First, Always
Radical Marriage starts with making your partner the most important person in your life and not taking him or her for granted. You don’t put anything else above your partner—not work, not home, not family, friends, kids, hobbies, boats—nothing. You choose your partner first, always.
Copyright © 2015 Radical Marriage, a registered trademark of Relationship Coaching Institute, LLC
Add on by Waverly J. Hanson…These ideas may seem over the top to you at first, but when you really think about it, you and your husband or wife are the bedrock and foundation of your home. The children do not have this responsibility and should not have this responsibility. As parents turn into benevolent dictators – setting the standards and practicing those standards themselves, their children will feel safe. When children do not know where the boundaries are, they will act out to try to find out – “Isn’t anybody going to stop me?”
Marriage Counselor & Author
In my personal life, I have had a long successful marriage and have remarried following my husband's death. I have had three sons and helped raise a niece for three years and have seven grandchildren. I have loved spending time with them as they were growing up.
I also enjoy getting together with family and friends, ATVing in the mountains, photography, hiking, and traveling. I also enjoy reading, creating art, decorating, and serving others by volunteering.
Assisting couples in rebuilding their marriages has been so rewarding as I've had the privilege of seeing hundreds of couples reunite and get back to being positively connected to one another.
I also work with personal development and those who want to move forward by making positive improvements such as goal setting, self-care, boundaries, behavioral improvements, overcoming procrastination, conflict management, etc.