Couples Came First
Challenging perspectives, exploring relationships… for all of our families
Sean Macauley LMFT
As a couple’s therapist people often ask me how to think about approaching family dynamics. One thing I like to say is “Remember, the couple came first” as a foundational concept. Then watch them roll that around in their heads.
What does that even mean?
Well, for one thing the couple came before the children. It was and is the foundation of the family.
That means the nurturing of the couple relationship is as important, if not more so, than the nurturing of the children. Why? Because one begets the other. So many lessons are learned through the interactions of the couple witnessed by the children. Whether it is the modeling of a loving and equal but different relationship or its opposite or anywhere in between, it speaks pages of spoken words.
It sets an intent that the couple relationship is the first form of relating that the child or children will witness. Setting the stage for all other relationships for that child’s world. The rearing and nurturing of children is challenging (#understatement). You and your children deserve the time it takes to look at your relationship skills and what relating to one another actually means day to day, so when challenges arise you can act as one team and struggle together.
Your couple relationship grows and changes just as the development of your child does. Ignoring the changing needs of your child is unthinkable yet so many couples fail to acknowledge the changes in their relationship. Spoiler alert: Relationships benefit from being paid attention to. You and your spouse or partner have an equal yet different role in getting every place your relationship ends up.
Struggle is inevitable, conflict is inevitable and emotional vomiting is inevitable. No matter how you deal with those, your children will be shaped by what you do. With the mutual understanding that your relationship, witnessed by your children, has immeasurable value and profound impact on the system in which all of you exist, maybe you will take the most precious thing you possess, TIME, and spend some with each other, in dialogue. Then share the joy that follows. What a gift!
Now this does not encapsulate the vast nuances of parental relationships, nor can it, but the fact remains the mindset of the couple came first can be significantly beneficial to how you, your partner and your children function together and in relation to others.
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