When you’re married and you have children, it’s very easy to get wrapped up in worrying about and planning for your kid’s future. Naturally, you should care about your children but there are times when this can become needlessly obsessive. Some of the best marriage and family advice I’ve heard to date is, “your kids are not the most important part of your family - your spouse is.” When you re-frame your mind in this way, you can shift your focus to support the one who is (hopefully) co-parenting with you. Of course, this mental shift works best when you both agree to think this way.
I would like to go one step further from the priorities of your family and and ask - from your perspective, who is more important in your partnership - you or your spouse? In the same way that parents should put their spouse before their kids, you should put yourself above your partner.
Let me clarify…
In no way do I mean you allow your partner to suffer because you’re “more important”. Instead, you need to make time to nurture your own growth, you need to take care of your own mental health, you have to take responsibility for your own maturity as an adult as if you were not in a partnership. There are multiple risk factors involved with not taking responsibility for your own adult life including identity crisis and codependency.
Ready for one more level of priority? As if leaving your kids and spouse in second and third place wasn’t enough?
Place your higher power at the center of your life, even before you prioritize yourself.
When we place our higher power at the center of our life, everything begins to change. Your focus shifts from the external to the internal which you’ll notice this begins to rearrange your external priorities as well. Instead of wanting to constantly chase the dopamine rush that substances, alluring new people, and secret behaviors can provide, you’ll begin to realize all of those things are superficial and substanceless in the end.
If you want true satiety in life, focus on your higher power, with it you will create a stronger connection to your intuition, inner wisdom, and eventually become more in tune with your true self. As you become more in tune with yourself, you begin to realize what sustains you, what makes you happy, what gives you life. As you practice the things that creates a sense of joy, some fun side effects include becoming more attractive to your partner and being an example for them so they can be free to experience their own inner truths. Eventually this will pour out into your family and workplace, making you more satisfied in life over all.
Disclaimer: If you’ve never been introspective, some risks involved are finding out truths about yourself or your partner that may be troublesome to reconcile. At the same time, authenticity should be a core value in any relationship and has the power to bring you closer to one another as well.
I realize all of this is easier said than done.
I could give you a simple “how to” to help you get started, but instead, I will leave you with the paraphrased advice of a dating coach, Jason Silva:
When you’re obsessing over [a partner, your kids, your home, work, etc.] and it’s a problem that cannot be fixed immediately, instead of ruminating, “take the next best action”.
Here’s what he means and why this is so amazingly critical to mental health:
Be willing to put down the thing you’re obsessing over;
Decide on the next best course of action that will immediately improve your life which could be something simple like doing your laundry but it could also be something more substantial;
Take that action and repeat.
How does this have to do with putting your spirituality first in your life?
It’s simple - in step 2, always make your “next best course of action” be introspection.
Instead of running to an external solution like a friend, your spouse, or worse a substance, turn inward. Go to your higher power and ask for guidance toward your problem. This isn’t to say you should never turn to your spouse or your friends, etc. when you need them, human connection is too real of a need; but make it your first course of action to turn inward.
Next, realize you may not receive an answer right away, and that’s when you repeat the steps listed above and actually take physical action in your life by doing the things that need to be done. Find peace in knowing that eventually the answer will come and as you practice this and become more in tune with your inner wisdom, you’ll notice the answers come faster and over time you will be able to rely on an immediate intuition.
All of the above is how you live your best life with or without a partner or family because our “best lives” are not necessarily always Instagram worthy, instead our best lives are the ones that are most aligned with our true selves, our most authentic selves - the ones that know exactly what makes our heart sing and our spirit rise. When we achieve that harmony between the mind body and spirit in our lives, we harbor love in abundance and are able to freely give to others.