Nov 30, 2009  •  In Christianity, Relationships

Would You Choose Your Spouse or Child?

A New Zealand man was forced to make a terrible choice when his wife and son were trapped in a sinking car. He chose to save his wife, and their 13 year old son drowned.

Man had to choose: save wife or son

In the months prior to our wedding, J and I attended weekly pre-marital counseling sessions with our pastor. We actually covered this topic one week, and I was surprised to see that there is a Christian answer to this question.

Who would you choose if you were in this situation? What would you say the Christian answer is?

14 Responses to “Would You Choose Your Spouse or Child?”

  1. Anna:

    I think it’s the spouse, but boy, what cruel choice to have to make!

  2. what a sad story. i’ve heard my pastor talk about this before, he said that you should save your spouse because husband and wife are considered one person so you cannot live without your other half. that being said, almost every parent i’ve met says that they would save their child. regardless, it’s still an impossibly devastating choice. :(

  3. Amanda:

    I would think the spouse would never ever forgive you for choosing her or him over the child. An impossible choice.

  4. Emily:

    Your spouse is supposed to be "ranked higher" than your children…as in, you put each other first in order to provide a strong foundation. And as such, you place each other first in other areas of life….so that children know that you created them to add to the family, not that they were created for the parents’ lives to revolve around. Boy that’s tough to say appropriately…I just remember my parents sitting me down and letting me know "my place" once and how your spouse is #1 and has to be #1 or your marriage crumbles. But I agree, I haven’t met any parent who wouldn’t give their own life for their child’s.

  5. I would say it’s not a matter of spouse or child. It’s more a matter of who is less likely to be able to get themselves out? If either the spouse or the child had more stacked against him or her, I would try to save that one. And I agree with the previous responder, it would be difficult to reconcile the decision with the surviving member either way. That’s a lot of survivor guilt. What an awful decision to have to make!

  6. Jen:

    I agree with Amanda – I’m not sure how the saved spouse would forgive the savior spouse for not choosing the child. When faced with these kinds of heart-breaking hypotheticals, my brain starts to shut down, it’s impossible to imagine.

  7. I agree with the previous comments. No-one should ever be place in that position, and since this actually happened we need to keep this family in our prayers, because there’s going to be a lot of weeping before joy comes in the morning. This question is hard for me to answer because I had a stillborn child and this season is both a wonderful blessing and a challenge for me on the human side. My emotions say, save the child… my spiritual side… tells me… save the spouse.

  8. Amy:

    horrible choice indeed. solely from a practical standpoint though, grief studies have shown that the grieving of a spouse is higher level of grief than the bereavement of a child. not a good answer, but that’s my answer too.

  9. Is it weird to say that I know what my parents would have done? They would have gone for the kid.

    I would pick the spouse, but then again, I don’t actually have children. I agree w/ everything Emily said about the spouses coming first and being the foundation of the family. But at the same time, isn’t a mother’s love for a child bigger than anything else?

  10. Nana:

    I would say you can’t really answer this question unless you have a chld of your own. Not only that, you would also have to be happy with your family. I am divorced with a child. When I was married, I was miserable and would’ve probably saved my child and could care less if my spouse had died. I’m just being totally honest here. But if I was in love with my spouse, then it would be an impossible choice to make.

  11. That’s awful. I would probably save my partner. What is the Christian answer?

  12. mala:

    i’m a mother.
    if my husband saved me and let my child die, i’d kill him.
    my child is the future.
    period.

  13. andree smith:

    Hi because of my circumstances and my adult children being so rude towards my spouse I chose my marriage.I hope I made the right choice for myself and still feel the need to them all together what do you say?

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