Daddy loves Mama the most

April 20, 2005    By: Geoff J @ 4:39 pm   Category: Life

Yep, ask any my kids who daddy loves the most in the world and that would be their answer. Ask them who mama loves most in the world and the answer would be “daddy”. My kids assume that’s the way it is supposed to be and they are right. Further, they tell me they are quite happy with these facts.

I work from home and as I passed through the family room heading to the kitchen for a snack this afternoon Kristen told me I might be interested in the topic on Oprah. She was right. I only saw the last 15 minutes of the show but apparently a woman wrote an article in the NY Times (or somewhere) about how her husband came first for her and that the kids were second. She explained that she loved her husband even more than them.

No big deal, right? Wrong. Apparently large portions of the women in America are up in arms over such heresy. Such blasphemy! I won’t go into detail of how truly annoying I found many of the comments from the “kids come first crowd”; suffice it to say that I think they are… err… wrong.

The marriage is the heart of the family. If the marriage is not strong the family is not strong. If the heart in a body has problems the whole body has problems. In our family the message we want our kids to clearly get from us is that no matter what, mommy and daddy love each other and are a team. The message that follows is that their parents both deeply love them and are very happy and have answers for how they can be happy for the rest of their lives (and beyond). What could make a child feel better than that?

While I don’t remember the subject of who dad loves most ever coming up in my family growing up, the actions of my father made this crystal clear to me — the marriage came first. (Did I ever mention my mom had a massive and debilitating stroke at the age of 34? Dad is still by her side more than 25 years later…) Kristen was consistently reminded in her family where primary loyalties and love resided with her parents and was very grateful for it too.

One of the attempted trump cards a woman tried to pull in the discussion was asking “how do you think your daughter would respond if you told her you loved her father more than her or the other kids?” I chuckled. I know how my kids would respond (at least in their heads): “No duh.”


  1. There is also a different kind of love that one has for one’s spouce.

    Comment by J. Stapley — April 20, 2005 @ 6:35 pm

  2. Geoff,
    I’m curious as to why there needs to be a hierarchy of love. I don’t have children yet, so I don’t know how much they might insist you love one person more than another, but I don’t think I ever remember even wondering who my dad loved more, my mom or me. Maybe I’m projecting false memories, I’m not sure. I mean, do children really classify the same kind of love a father has for his wife in the same category as his love for his children?

    Comment by Rusty — April 20, 2005 @ 8:28 pm

  3. Yes, I agree the kind of love is different, J. I should note that I just surveyed my kids again and they had no doubts or questions of either of our love and devotion to them.

    I think the reason it is required to set up a heirarchy is because the children need to know where the parents first loyalty lies — that is with each other. In the eternities this is the case as well. The older kids get the more they try to pit parents against one another to get their own way. Apparently (according to the Oprah episode I wathched… Don’t tell me you missed it!) in many families one or both of the parents inevitably side with the kids and against the other parent. We want to prevent that from ever happening in our family.

    Besides, Kristen is my best friend and the person I trust and need more than any other in the world. We want it that way for us and we want our children to have the same thing when they are married.

    Most importantly, I want them to fully understand that nothing in the world and no one in the world is a higher priority in my life than Kristen — not even them. I want nothing less for my daughters and son when they get married either.

    Comment by Geoff Johnston — April 20, 2005 @ 9:19 pm

  4. Despite what this post may lead you to believe, I didn’t actually say to our kids, “nanna nanna boo boo, I love Daddy more than you!” The reason this came up in conversation was because my daughter asked me if I loved daddy more than her. I told her yes. Now I know that there is a difference in the type of love that I have for my husband in comparison to the love that I have for my children, but try explaining that to a 6 year old.
    I think that this is good for several reasons first, my children know that their parents have a loving relationship which then provides a safe resting place for them. Second, it teaches my children that the world does not always revolve around them and their wants and desires. I think it teaches them to be less selfish. It also teaches them to look for a loving and strong relationship in their future spouse.
    I grew up in a household knowing that mommy and daddy’s relationship was the most important relationship in our house. It helped in a dating experience that I had once. I was seriously dating a guy and we were talking a little bit about marriage but he was always talking about this best friend of his (some guy in Idaho). One day I asked him if I was his best friend and he said no. Then I asked him if he thought that his spouse should be his best friend. He replied with a, “huh….?” That was the beginning of the end for us and I went on to meet and marry my best friend.

    Comment by Kristen Johnston — April 21, 2005 @ 9:37 am

  5. While I’ve never actually said that I love my husband more than I love my kids, I do agree that the marriage is the most important relationship in the family. While we’re sealed to each other as families, it’s with our spouse that we’re exalted and with whom we stay. Our kids are going to be with their own spouses, hopefully, not with us. In fact, our job as parents is to learn ’em how to grow up and leave us and cleave unto their spouse.

    I’m fortunate in having a marriage that reflects this priority. My husband is my best friend, and we both consistently try to be better with each other. I love being with him and talking to him and doing just about everything with him (except physically challenging things, when he turns into my personal trainer, which I need but don’t have the character to like yet). I actually have a much tougher time being a decent mom than a decent wife. But I know it’s not that way for a lot of my friends. Many of them would leave their husbands before they ever left their kids, while I dream of our retirement days when we’ll be on our own! (Which is why I shouldn’t resist the personal trainer stuff, so I won’t be completely decrepit when that finally happens.)

    There are many couples who find that they have little in common once their last child leaves the house, because during those child-raising years, they’ve allowed the kids’ activities and lives to take over. This is why we hear a lot of counsel from church leaders that parents should continue to date and spend time together not talking about the kids. Like Kristen said, too, it’s just not good for kids to think that the world revolves around them. It doesn’t. And if they’ve had parents who’ve allowed the kids to be the most important people in the house, it doesn’t bode well for the kids’ future relationships. They’ll be looking for spouses, friends, jobs, etc. who will take care of them like Mom did. (Yikes. That kind of reminds me of one of my brothers-in-law.)

    Comment by Erin J. — April 21, 2005 @ 10:30 am

  6. Great point Kristen and Erin,

    Adding to the points you made; the proper hierarchy of priorities in the home does seem to make a big difference in the ability of a child to cut the apron strings and have a healthy marriage of their own. The Oprah episode made it clear that for some mothers the mother-child relationship was the most intimate in the family. The spouse was often on the outside of that emotional intimacy looking in. That is just weird and wrong in my opinion. That sort of thing makes it very difficult to let a child move out or away for both the parent and the child. It becomes almost more like a divorce with the parent than a natural part of growing up when that child moves away or gets engaged. How many marriages have struggled or ended because those apron strings were never fully cut?

    Comment by Geoff Johnston — April 21, 2005 @ 3:10 pm

  7. BTW — We rented and watch The Forgotten this weekend. That movie illustrates a perfect example of the problem we are discussing here. Without giving away too much, the story is showing how the bond between a mother and her son is somehow magically powerful. The movie makes it clear that the mother-son bond is far and away more powerful than the husband-wife bond. In fact, the husband/father was portrayed as quite expendable I thought. There is a real problem with that model in my opinion.

    Comment by Geoff Johnston — April 26, 2005 @ 12:16 am

  8. Nice post. I saw that episode too. My Mom and Dad always used to talk about whether women were mother’s first or wives first. They taught us the importance of being a wife first. Many of the women on that Oprah show were arguing that children take up so much energy they just don’t have any left for husbands and that they look forward to the time when they will have more time/energy for husbands. I think every mom can relate to that, when it comes down to it even women who say hubby comes first spend more actual time on children, but it’s our mindset that matters. We can’t just say to heck with hubby I don’t have time.

    Comment by Andrea Wright — April 26, 2005 @ 9:34 am

  9. BTW, Geoff and Kristen, total threadjack, but from what I’ve gathered from a comment on M*, I think you are in my old AZ stake. Do you know the Pugmires?

    Comment by Andrea Wright — April 26, 2005 @ 10:18 am

  10. Thaks for the interesting comment, Andrea.

    We’re in the Queen Creek stake and things are growing so fast here that our ward has split twice already in a year. We are now beginning to get to know our new, new, new ward. I don’t think we have the Pugmires in this ward though.

    Comment by Geoff Johnston — April 26, 2005 @ 9:15 pm