I was intrigued and disturbed by a post Tim Challies wrote today. His children asked him whom he loved more: them (the kids) or mom? Tim answered he loved mom more. His children were upset and cried.
I had a true, gut level response to this. I wanted to cry, myself! I would have answered differently. Is that just because I'm a mom and hard-wired to be a nurturer? As I read (and participated) in the comments, I began to wonder if this was just a classic case of the differences between men & women/ dads & moms?
Most the male commenters agreed with Tim. Here's why I disagreed:
1. Love can't be measured. It's not a matter of more or less. When I had Jewel, I couldn't imagine loving another child "as much" as I loved her. But now I know that the heart has an infinite capacity for love. To tell my children that I love Daddy more than them is like saying I love breathing more than eating. The two are inextricably joined.
2. I agree that parents need to foster and maintain their relationship with each other. I, too, have seen child-centered marriages that fall apart once the children leave home. But this is not a matter of loving the child "more" as much as it is the parents not feeding their spousal relationship.
3. I asked Matt whom he loved more. He answered: "I love you more...no, I love you differently." He also said he would never use the "more" word to the children. Phew! There are different kinds of love. Children can understand thisespecially if given examples like: the love they have for their favorite book vs. the love they have for their sibling or best friend.
4. When children ask "whom do you love more?" they just wanna know: "Do my parents love me unconditionally?" To launch into a lecture on the sacred covenant of marriage as it pertains to the Godhead of Christ and the church just bewilders and hurts them. The only way they know how to express their question is through the words: more or less. If a parent says they love mom more, no matter how good the reason---all the child hears is: Daddy loves me LESS.
I really like & respect Tim Challies' blog. But I'm also wondering: Am I wrong? How would you have answered? And do you love your spouse "more" than your children? Do you think men just love differently? Do young children even understand the question they are asking? Please share.