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Is your parenting style killing your marriage? Prioritizing your spouse improves both areas

You may be focusing on your parenting style, but your marriage might be suffering.

We talk about parenting, and we talk about marriages… but we don’t often talk about how our parenting impacts our marriage.

Studio 5 Parenting Contributor Heather Johnson believes there is a strong correlation. To get specific, Heather claims that American parenting is killing American marriages. It’s quite a statement, but Heather backed it up.


She painted a vivid picture of modern parenting as a dominant force in our lives. It’s like a religion, she suggested, where all our energy and efforts are channeled into raising the perfect children. But amidst this devotion, our marriages might be getting sidelined.

“When our marriage is in the way of parenting, now we’ve swung the pendulum too far,” Heather explained.

Imagine a pendulum swinging back and forth, but sometimes, it swings too far in one direction. Heather argued that when we prioritize parenting above all else, our marriages suffer. It’s like our partners become obstacles in the way of our parenting goals.

Impacts on Children and Marriages

The repercussions extend beyond just our marriages. Neglected marriages can breed entitled children. When kids grow up thinking they’re the center of the universe, they’re in for a rude awakening.

When we make our kids the priority above all else, Heather explained, “We’re not modeling for them what it looks like to have both relationships simultaneously running at the same time.”

Heather shared a few ways to strengthen your marriage, which in turn, strengthens your family.

1. Communication: Complaints vs. Criticism

“Less criticism, more understanding—it could work wonders.”

Heather suggested a shift in how we communicate with our partners. Instead of criticizing, try complaining. It’s about expressing our feelings without blame, fostering understanding rather than resentment.

2. Adding Magic to Everyday Moments

Injecting a bit of magic into our marriages doesn’t require grand gestures. It’s about those small, everyday moments of connection. Just five instances of intentional connection can outweigh a single negative interaction.

“Imagine if every day you found a way to reach out and physically offer touch. It makes every day magical,” Heather specified.

3. Dreaming Together and Cultivating Positivity

“Keep that late-night dreaming going and try to see the good in each other—it’s like putting on a pair of positivity glasses.”

Heather encouraged us to keep dreaming with our significant other, just like we did in those late-night dating conversations about our hopes and aspirations. And let’s not forget about seeing the best in each other, fostering positivity instead of criticism.

“When we put energy into our marriage,” Heather explained, “it improves our parenting. When we go the other way and we put all of our energy in parenting, it doesn’t guarantee us a stronger marriage. But when we put all that energy into marriage, both benefit, which is a beautiful thing.”

To contact Heather for counseling, email, or visit

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