It pains me to read the debate the last couple of weeks between mothers professing that they either love their spouse more than they love their children or that they put their spouse before their children, and the much larger majority of mothers who are crying blasphemy to both.
It is surely a heated topic, and I'm not one who likes to fan the flames. I would like, however, to offer another perspective.
A mother's love is a fierce love, it is a feral and ferocious kind of love. It is a love that no one can fully understand until they become a parent themselves.
It is not to be compared to that of a spouse.
I will never tell you I love my child more than I love my husband. I will also never tell you that I love my husband more than I love my child. What a ridiculous thing to compare.
I would do anything for my child. I am her protector until she will grow big enough to protect herself, and even then I will watch over her as mothers do. But I am also her father's wife, his best friend, his lover.
I love him in a way that I can never love her, because marriage and parenthood are two different things. By design, we are meant to love each other differently.
I can love both my child and my husband unconditionally, but not the same.
Because one is biological and the other is by choice.
When my child was born and the doctor laid her tiny body on my chest; a bond beyond comparison was forged. There was no choice in the matter. I loved her instantly. In her was the combined love of her father and I. Our union created her, and she became the biological expression of just how strong our love was.
Loving my husband is different, though. He is my friend, my confidant, my helper, my partner, my lover. He has flaws, he is imperfectly perfect. We argue, we disagree, we annoy each other, and we forgive each other. Our marriage is a choice, our love is a choice. It is a relationship that is in constant need of watering, for even a few days of neglect can leave it wilting.
My daughter will always be my daughter, and I will always be her mother.
I will always love my daughter.
But my husband may not always be my husband and if I choose, I don't have to always love him. We could choose to neglect each other and ignore each other. I could stop listening to him, he could stop talking to me, I could stop forgiving him, and he could start resenting me. That is why our love is a choice. A choice that is made every single day. It is not perfect, but, it is unconditional.
It is not the same kind of love that we share for our daughter, nor should it be. I am not to love him the way I love my child, I am to love him the way I love a husband.
And for this reason, I will never rank them. I will give my daughter whatever she needs from me as a parent. I will care for her, I will raise her the way her father and I believe she needs to be raised, I will sacrifice, I will put things on hold, I will do whatever is necessary. But, I will also do whatever is necessary to grow my marriage, because I believe it is a living breathing thing just as our daughter is.
I truly believe the success to both will be finding the balance instead of tipping the scales.