I was watching the West Wing the other night. One of the character seperates from his wife because, as he admits himself, he puts his job first. 

This got me thinking - should a marriage always come first? Are there things that are more important? Does putting a marriage first erode who you are as an individual?



  • Before your sanity ? Before your kids ?
  • compo 1compo 1 ✭✭✭

    some thing I will not go though   I am single and will stay that wayimage

  • For me nothing comes before my 2 daughters, I hope hubby feels that way too. After them though I'd say yeah, marriage comes first.
  • Hog-mouseHog-mouse ✭✭✭


    i have a friend whose husband put his job first. They are no longer married.

  • If you marry me I will always let you come first!

    Ba boom tish!


  • I blame the insomnia

  • The question seems a bit too abstract and general. I'd need some specifics. I don't watch West Wing.

    To take a couple of examples, on the one hand, if "the job" said: now you have to go and work on a project in Siberia for two years and your partner can't go with you, I'd expect anyone to tell them to stuff it. On the other hand, if one partner says to the other, now we are married, you have to give up your career, because the marriage comes first you know, no more of this work nonsense, I'd expect the partner to tell them to stuff it. So it depends what you meant by job coming first.  

    I certainly think being "who you are as an individual" (as you put it) should not be in opposition to marriage, it should be enhanced by it. Marriage should be an engine for indivdual growth. But if the two are in opposition for some reason, I think being who you are and living your life has to come before marriage. There is nothing right about being lost completely in a marriage.


  • ...IMO there is no right answer to this, just loads of more questions etc.

    Im married, with a 3 year old daughter and im self employed/employ 3-4 lads and work 6 days a week only hols we have is over christmas when w break up for 3 week.

    ........My daughter comes before anything (wife, work)!!!!  Work comes before the wife to an extent because without me working like i do we wouldnt have what we got, wouldnt go on the hols or weekends away (forgot to mention that) etc etc BUT and its a BIG BUT.....I DONT NEGLECT MY WIFE, im always happy to see her, always try and make her smile always pestering her for hanky panky, i might pick up her fav mags out the blue knoing she will spend all night glued to reading them, she dfoesnt want for anything and most of all............


  • My job comes a long way behind everything, to be honest.

  • MartenkayMartenkay ✭✭✭

    Different aspects of marriage assume priority at different times. This is why communication  is of such importance.

    Your spouse may be in line for promotion greater responsibility, more time away from home and better standard of living - is that what you both want?  Your children are becoming difficult are you going to be there for them? The in-laws are getting old and need support are you going to be there for them? Redundancy may be on the horizon you need to work all hours to keep your job - agreed? The household debts have become difficult to service - are you agreed how to proceed? There could be problems with gambling, drinking or violence. There might be ongoing illness or disablement. All these and more will apply to both spouses e.g. wife's promotion or wife's gambling.

    All these things can put a strain on any relationship and at any given time may take priority in your lives to get sorted.. Whatever is normal for your marriage could be at risk so what is the degree of risk and can you accept changes that might need to be made? Have you the courage/cowardice to say this is not what I expected or the marriage I wanted I'm off?

    Marriage should come before everything else, the normal vows say that if not in everyday language. Some people are strong and some not so and others just plain weak.

    Though it should go in the "Affairs" thread can I say that I feel those that embark on an affair betray not only their spouse but also their children and all the in-laws too. The betrayal says that you are putting your own self interest above family and children - it is not just you and your spouse.. If the marriage really is over why not just leave and make the required arrangements. Curiously why wait until you have got yourself all fixed up with another partner before suddenly realising your marriage was over?


  • Along the lines of what Mike said.  Marriage should be a springboard not a cage.  A safe place to retreat to after doing whatever you do to earn a living.  A place where you're loved and can be yourself.

  • I don't think there's any right answer to this either, but I do think that whatever your views are it would be beneficial to the relationship if they were shared/understood by the respective partners. 

    I think priorities shift, and it's natural for them to do so. If the prime focus was always on the person you're married to, then that in itself would probably cause problems. 

    The context of the issue in the West Wing was that the guy's job was always more important (I think he was chief of staff at the White House...) and spent very little time with his wife, forgot their anniversary, etc. It just set me thinking image

  • my wife and kids are the most important thing in my life without doubt, dont think anything would ever change that as Mrs Towner wouldnt allow it to!image

    but seriously, i wouldnt have got married if anything else was likely to get in the way.

  • It's interesting to read people's viewpoints...

    especially as I left my wife of nearly 14 years only 4 weeks ago

    Although every situation is different - there are always similarities. Don't forget that while it's necessary to fall in love to become married (okay, perhaps not necessary per se, but usually important!) it's also possible to fall out of love. Outside influences can affect this, but at the end of the day, it's your head and heart that tell you what is right, and what isn't.

    It's the same if you choose to embark on an affair (which, I hasten to add, is NOT the reason I chose to leave) - your head, and your heart, make the decisions.

    Going back to Sarah's point about the character being too busy, forgetting anniversaries etc - that isn't necessarily a recipe for divorce, if the person has always been like that then often allowances are made, or they may even make up for it in other ways? I always, without fail, remembered anniversary, birthday, Xmas, Valentines Day.... would often buy flowers at the weekend for no reason, etc etc... BUT if the two people in the relationship drift apart, for whatever reason, then no amount of face value gifts will keep them together.

    That's exactly what happened with my wife and I - she will say that she didn't fall out of love, it was only me - and that may well be correct. But we met 19 years ago, when I was 20 and she was 33 - 19 years later we are very different people - some people grow together over time, ties bind them, until they are a single functioning unit. Other people stay as two separate entities - and as far as I can see that's a recipe for either a split, or an "open" marriage with all that entails. As far as I'm concerned we very obviously drifted apart - i'll take some responsibility for that, but not all. As I reach 40 I'm making a conscious effort to be a better person, fitter, healthier, and hopefully happier - that didn't necessarily sit well with an overweight, smoker and drinker. Yes, she was like that when we met, and always has been, but as people change, then thought processes, priorities, even attractions change - and if you change, but the person you're with doesn't - then either you have to accept that, live a compromise (that won't necessarily make either of you happy), persuade them to change - or decide to make a very drastic change to your relationship.

    After 9 months of turmoil, unhappiness, deep thoughts, occasional depression, and odd hints of bright sunshine as ideas of another possible life were shown to me I made what I consider a brave step - to walk away from families, friends, an easy life, a house, comfortable finances - to find what will make me happy. Selfish? Maybe, but we only get one life to live, and marriage should be a joyful celebration, not a cell.... if it becomes a cell then it's time to consider what you can do to break through the bars...


    Sorry if it's an unfocused ramble, but I write as I think...

  • MartenkayMartenkay ✭✭✭

    Yes, let's face it time moves on and people change. It's sad and it hurts when it comes unexpectedly. I am thinking of people I know. 

    But Sarah's post does beg the question are the marriage vows worthless words if so why do we not find something else to say? If we get away from the religious aspect then surely a Registrar's Office marriage should be able to come up with words that we are comfortable with rather than fantasy.

     L'amore fa passar il tempo. Il tempo fa passar l'amore                                                Love makes time pass. Time makes love pass.

  • Marten - spooky, I had a Registry Office wedding... the only change in words is the removal of any aspect of religion at all, to make it a purely civil ceremony. I think at the time of the wedding the vows are anything but worthless, I think they are a representation of everything the couple feel for each other - however, if those feelings change, then the words become less relevant, as they relate to feelings no longer shared?

  • MartenkayMartenkay ✭✭✭

    Ultrarocker I am as susceptible to change as the next guy. So far so good!

    I am really thinking that if marriage is no longer viewed as a lifetime commitment to use your words

    ultrarocker wrote (see)

    at the time of the wedding the vows are anything but worthless, I think they are a representation of everything the couple feel for each other - however, if those feelings change, then the words become less relevant, as they relate to feelings no longer shared?

    Why not join the happy couple together with 'hopes' for their future happiness "maintaining" their marriage to the best of their abilities. At the end of the day they are still married and know what is expected of them. A bit more realistic I think.image 

  • I was brought up in a belief of marriage is for life. Since it very obviously isn't,  I can't see the point myself. Those of you that are married...sell it to me please. image

  • Marten, possibly more accurate words, but not necessarily very romantic for the most special day of your life?

    Yes, my marriage might have failed, but i'm still a soppy old romantic at heart LOL


    OW - why sell it to you - it has to be something you want to buy, not something that's sold to you. If you find the right person, and you're the right person for them,  then it is for life, and you'll want to spend the rest of your life with them, through thick and thin...

    Until you find that person though, well, there's nothing to sell....

  • MartenkayMartenkay ✭✭✭

    From what we have been saying it may not turn out to be the most special day of your life. Life can be very hurtful and that day might, in retrospect, turn out to be the most nightmarish day of your life. This is why I think we need to tone down the wording. Some people don't even listen to the words they are saying and some are too immature (at any age) to understand what they mean - the guy is thinking 'sex' the girl is thinking 'baby'!

    OW I wish I could sell the lifetime commitment to you but I cannot. I think that in most marriages the difference between staying together and splitting up will at any time be precarious. Some communicate and get through difficult times others give up easily. On the other hand there can be a 'paper trail' of problems over time and one or other partner just does not see the point anymore. I do think that many marriages lose focus and the spouses can become indifferent to each others needs whether it be sex, compliments, romance, pleasant surprises, sharing interests etc. If it happens and that lifelong commitment comes to an end it can make you feel that you are the only person in the world to which it has happened. You need to enter marriage with your eyes wide open.

Sign In or Register to comment.