To my boys:

 

There’s something very important that I need you to know. I need you not only to hear it in my words, but to see it in my actions; to sense it in the ebb and flow of our home and life.

That guy you tackle hard when he walks through the door every evening, and bear hug tight during bedtime prayers? He’s not only your hero. He’s mine, too. And He’s also my first love.

 

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Please don’t ever think that I say this because I don’t love you enough. No my sons, I say this precisely because I love you so impossibly much. And I know that when I put your father first, I am not only loving him to the best of my ability, I am loving you to the best of my ability, too.

This is because our home and our family thrives best when Mommy and Daddy’s relationship is given its proper place of utmost importance.

When Mommy and Daddy are working together as a team, you thrive. I’m not just saying this, I’ve seen it. 

 

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I’ve seen how your confidence builds when you see Daddy and I hug, and how you smile securely when my hand is nested within your father’s grasp. I know at times you’ve contested Daddy and I leaving on date nights without you, but I’ve also observed how your behavior and character flourish when you see Daddy and I spending time together.

I’ve seen how when Daddy kindly explains to you that, “This is Mommy and Daddy’s time to sit together.” Or, “Mommy comes first”, that you don’t pout, or even look hurt. No, rather your eyes hold a certain contentment, one built of safety and security. You’ve never complained about the fact that we give you an early bedtime, because you understand that Mommy and Daddy need their time alone in the evening.

 

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I’ve seen that when we’re on a family walk, and I choose to walk next to Daddy with my arm looped through his, rather than run up ahead with you, you don’t sulk, but rather your stride grows more confident.

I need you to understand that I choose to place Daddy first because one of my greatest hopes is that one day you will have a healthy, thriving marriage. I put Daddy first because I want you to one day choose a wife who will, after God, place you first. Ultimately I know that if this happens, that your children—my grandchildren—will also flourish in a healthy home. I want to model to you how to build a strong friendship with your wife that will last long after your own kids are grown and moved on to their own families.

I know that everyday you see me choose to love and serve your Daddy, that you observe the model of a healthy marriage; one that puts the other first, and seeks the other’s best above our own.

 

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I choose to put your Daddy first because I know that when I do this, your foundation becomes all the more secure. You see that Mommy and Daddy have a strong friendship and commitment; one that won’t erode with time or tension; one you will never need to question the strength of. You rest secure, and that is a gift I want to give you; I can do that by placing your Daddy first.

I need you to see that when I slipped that wedding band around your Daddy’s finger, when you were yet a distant dream, I was also making a commitment to you; one that could only be held up by me keeping your Daddy first in my heart.

I need you to see all of these things because once upon a time Daddy’s parents and my parents showed us what a healthy marriage looked like. They still do. And we are all the better for it. I want that for you, too.

 

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My boys, the biggest reason I place your Daddy first is this:  God has commanded me to do so, and for a very good reason. God is the one who decided what family is and how it would work. He masterfully crafted it, and He understood that when a Mommy and Daddy love, serve, and place each other first, everything works better.

The whole family thrives—and that is exactly what I want for us.

 

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I want to thank you, my sons. You have showed so much maturity already in your young years in understanding why Mommy and Daddy place each other first. You’ve never complained or taken offense. Instead, you have returned the gift by showing us that our commitment to keeping a healthy marriage is well worth the effort. You have showed us your appreciation for a strong and healthy home, one where Mommy and Daddy’s relationship comes first. You’ve confirmed that when I choose to put your Daddy first, it’s not only what you need, but exactly what you want, too.

 

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Eryn Lynum is a speaker and the author of 936 Pennies: Discovering the Joy of Intentional Parenting. (Bethany House Publishers, 2018) She lives in Northern Colorado with her husband and three boys, where they spend their time hiking, camping, and exploring the Rocky Mountains. She loves to travel and share at conferences, churches, and writers’ groups. Every opportunity she gets, she is out exploring God’s creation with her family.