She Comes Fourth In Your Life vs. Children Come First

One of the fun things about having a co-ed forum is sometimes you see a woman and a man say exactly the same thing. Word for word. Just one favors men and the other favors women.

Male: A slight variant on the classic Patrice O’Neal line about making your woman, the fourth most important thing in your life. The order being, (1) You, (2) your mission, (3) your blood relatives (Patrice just said his mom for #3) and then finally (4) your woman.

Female: “I will never put a man ahead of the children. The children always come first.”  Hmmm…. well then, one also imagines if she is the one that decides whether or not something is in the interests of the children, she also trumps both the kids and him. Which suggests an order of (1) Her, (2) Shoes, (3) the kids, (4) that guy that’s always here for some reason.


Well that ain’t going to work if you both decide to play the same strategy of my way or the highway. What immediately begs the question is what happens if someone else comes along and offers the #1 spot to your #4 slot spouse? If only for… oh…  five minutes or so?

You have to consider that for someone to allow themselves to be the 4th priority in your life, they need to be about in the range of 2 points of Sex Rank below yours. That’s a healthy Orbiter distance. I doubt a learned MMSL reader would allow themselves to be so taken for granted.

The Order of Priority

Assuming no one is toxic and needs to be treated with purposeful distance…

Athol:  Self Care > Husband > Father > Son > Brother > Friends > the rest of humanity.

Jennifer:  Self Care > Wife > Mother > Daughter > Sister > Friends > the rest of humanity.

If you notice, Jennifer and I both have each other in the #2 spot. Frankly neither one of us has the interest or ability in micromanaging the others day and self-care. We obviously care about each other, but at the end of the day, if I turn into a complete douchebag I expect to be jettisoned from the marriage. Likewise Jennifer may not turn into a Beluga Whale without me authorizing the self-destruct sequence and heading to an escape pod. We hold each other to high, reasonable and positive standards. It’s a really easy way to live.

The Captain and First Officer differences kick in at the Husband/Wife role position. After that we’re parents and so on down the line. We have a very clear order of priority and mutually understood chain of command. It makes things so easy to manage.


All I know is that all these women proudly saying “the children come first” are keeping me in business.

Because you know that somewhere in the background there’s a hollow-eyed man raking the leaves out of the gutters… thinking about what he just read on MMSL… and how he’s sick of her not fucking him right.

You can say “the children come first” all day long. The husband always hears it as “you’re last in line.”

When they start having an affair, they won’t even need to hide it from you, because you don’t notice them anyway.

Exact same thing goes for husbands with the super Alpha careers. Little woman at home wondering if he’ll ever call or show up for dinner on time. That shit gets old fast. Let alone telling her his mother trumps her. Gotta sting like hell to hear that. Thank God for Facebook and old friends…



  1. ok. i have to call this one for what it is. i’ve been posting “you’re fourth for a LOOOOONG time.

    2-my family
    3-my career
    4- my woman.

    patrice was my gate way red-pill drug.

  2. Changed Man says:

    I’m going to respectfully disagree with Athol on this one. In our current ‘throwaway’ culture, and out of necessity, a man must mentally prioritize the ‘unconditional’ people/things in his life over the ‘conditional’ ones. Given that, any woman in a man’s life must be fourth.

    Where many folk are missing BrianC’s point (Athol included, I think), is that ‘the list’ isn’t an end-all-be-all, cast in stone order of how to invest your time, energy or love…time and energy can and must change on a daily/hourly basis and love is boundless.

    But, it is a hierarchy for how a man must invest his self-esteem and confidence. Without self-esteem and confidence, there is no Alpha. This ‘hierarchy of self investment’ is a mental frame that must be maintained for a man to be successful.

  3. 2manypasswords says:

    I disagree with BrianC re. blood relatives at #3 on the list. I see my father & brother about 3-4 times a year, and probably talk on the phone even fewer times un a year. Ain’t no way they’re in the #3 spot. Children go in the #2 spot b/c a core element of my mission is to raise them to be responsible adults. And yes, that means the wife is lower on the list than children.

  4. KansasFighter says:

    I think this discussion is overly rigid in concept. I agree with “I always come first” mentality. People can’t help that and if you truly are not your own #1 then you are probably a low value beta douche. But as for the rest of the list it is really dependent on where you are and what is going on. When I’m at work, then my career comes first. At home after dinner the kids and their homework come first (although you could rationalize that I am saving the wife the chore and thus putting her first). After the kids are away then the wife comes back into the foreground.

    I suppose I’m trying to get across that whatever I am doing is my #1 priority. Otherwise I’m wasting my time.

  5. whatever says:

    Well, here is the thing. Almost nobody who ever says “the kids come first” MEANS IT. People who say “my mother is 3rd and my wife is 4th” REALLY MEANS Mommy gives me orders first and Wifey gives me orders second most of the time. “My mission” is just some nonsense the idiot is rambling. Patrice is ghetto black so he was raised in a Matriarchy.

    Most people today can’t do the right thing unless you have a gun to their head. No task to small to shirk. No molehill to low to stumble upon.

    People who make a lot of demands of me, while basically acting like an animal only governed by it’s crude instincts, IE MMSL “wife” can decide I should put them second in my life all they want.

    The practical fact of the matter is, after the last kid turns 18 my most efficient move is to jettison her from my life instantly. That’s PRACTICAL. And if we want to be practical, then by all means we should be. Let’s get the party started.

  6. Emi J Jones says:

    I’m pretty new to all this, so maybe that’s why this seems like such a great post to me ( I se other commenters somewhat disagree).

    Right now with the main focus on “roles” in our relationship, we are striving for more of what Athol is saying. Self first, then spouse, then kids, then blood relatives and so on. Maybe that all changes as things work out more or life changes?
    Who knows, but we both are seeing the importance of where we place our spouse right now because we need a stronger marriage for “US” and we’d like to NOT become what our parents are – which if I had to gather, my Mother sees my Father as “who is that guy?” and He probably sees it more as work first, work, work, people at work, then my mom…

    We don’t want that for our lives and we want the “US” part to be strong for after kids – We currently have one ready to leave home, and one who is a always gone as the social butterfly type – so being alone A LOT, we really realized how important being “US” is.. because once those kiddies leave home – you have yourself, and your spouse… those kids won’t want much to do with you other then the occasional money hand out for a few years before you get grand children. (now, we DO have twin boys who are only 6 months old, but like I said, we understand the focus on being a beter spouse team still for once they leave home as well) We also need that self focus first so we can run around after these little buggers as we age!!

    Anyhow – like I said – newbie here – but Great Post!

  7. Trimegistus says:

    I’d say the biggest problem in my own marriage is a mismatch of priorities. My wife has a job that she loves and is very good at; it’s what she wanted to do from a young age. This means “job” hovers around fourth place and keeps trying to creep up the rankings.

  8. alphaguy says:

    Not until I took the red pill did I realize there had to be a hierarchy and I learned here and other places that is Myself, my wife, my kids, my blood relatives then close friends, the rest of humanity. People who don’t follow this hierarchy (BTW, these are only guidelines not rigid rules) in general are doomed to fail in their relationships with other people.

  9. Where does “mission” rank such as your job/career?

  10. Pol MOrdreth says:

    There is a subtle difference between Athol’s hierarchy and Patrice’s: If you look closely, Athol lists his roles / responsibilities, and Patrice lists people.

    It seems to me that this would be a great relationship repairer exercise. Take the roles and really think about how you view the hierarchy, both for yourself and for your partner. Then compare. How do they match up? Where do you see each other in how they rank things? This could be an opener onto how you need each other to rank things, as well.

  11. Changed Man says:

    Your ‘mission’ is just another word for what you’re passionate about and what drives you to excel. It is at the very core of our masculinity and the center of our world. It can be your career or a hobby. It’s what drives us to be a better man and the expression of our passion is what attracts women to us.

    I completely agree with BrianC,
    Me > Mission/Passion > Immediate Family > Woman

  12. This a very important but very tricky thing.

    If you’re a single guy, the order that Danny states holds up well in terms of protecting your personal interests and structurally maintaining an aloof, devil may care if she comes or goes air about you.

    If you’re married it gets oh so sticky.

    I think the overriding thing that has to happen for it to work well is that both parties must be in synch and ideally not have mismatched orderings of their lists for best results. Or if they do, they are agreeable to the different ordering.

    If both parties place career above the marriage, and are okay with that, there should be little cause for butt-hurt as they are both aware of the order. If one places career first, and the partner is okay with that – no worries. (oh, but things do change over time chilrun…yes they do…and sometimes they don’t tell you they changed…lolz!)

    If one party places the career at the top and their partner fourth, and the other partner has that flip-flopped, butt hurt potential could be strong. This is the territory where “our priorities just don’t match up” or “waaaaa….you always put your job ahead of me” or my favorite as a single dating man “MY KIDS COME FIRST!!!!!” (so F all you men! – unwritten subtext in many cases, or the actual intent of such a statement being – “men have shit on me my entire life and I’m sick of you hurting me so I’m going to let you know straight up – you’ve got no chance to get inside my shell.”)

    So, I guess what I’m saying is that being in synch, and staying that way or reciprocity is a key feature, in the long term. I suppose like anything else in the relationship game. Simple in concept, difficult in practice at times.

  13. @whatever

    I enjoyed your comment. The insight and scathing observation is strong in you.

  14. There is a difference between being important and being taken of first. While I will die for my children, in an airplane, I will put my mask on first.

    In terms of wife/kids, it is likewise. The quote that I believe is, “If you love your kids, love your wife.” You may consider the health/welfare/care of your children more important than your marriage, if you sacrifice your relationship with your wife, they will ultimately suffer. So many people do, usually moms that invest all their energy into the kids and neglect their husband. These people feel justified because they are “putting their kids first” — how noble *NOT*.

    Alternatively, if you ensure your marriage is as strong as possible, it will result in a stable environment for your children to grow and develop. Divorce is very nasty on children, hurting them so much more than they gain from an “my kids first” attitude.

    Ultimately, the kids may come first (or before your spouse), but to take care of them, you need to ensure your marriage is strong, which means you take care of your spouse.

    This order thing is silly. If you put too much emphasis on one item and neglect the others, then you have a broken life. For example, not enough effort at work (because you do too much Dad stuff), then you get fired. Do too much work stuff, and your wife has an affair. If you take care of your self obsessively, then all your relationships die. Its not about having your priorities in the right order, its about getting the right stuff done at the right time. Imbalance in part of your live costs the other areas.

  15. Shadow_Nirvana says:

    I think BrianC’s and Danny504’s list is correct(although your career/mission/whatever the fuck can come before your family if you’re narcissistic enough to pull it off without a guilty conscience lol :) )… but there is a huge fluidity to it. This list doesn’t mean you will pick extra hours of working instead of spending time with your wife. Not always at least.

    I don’t get what the problem is with this priority list and why people are speaking against it. This isn’t a “I’m going to give %25 of the time and attention I give to my work, to my wife” list. It just means when push comes to shove, you are an individual man with a family to be with and a purpose in life instead of just being someone’s husband.

    And, of course, don’t be a moron and don’t disclose the knowledge that your woman is your 4th priority to her. Seriously, that will be a bigger blunder than “Yes, those pants do make your ass look fat.”

  16. Hearthrose says:

    To offer some explanation for “children first”, I remember the moment in the hospital when it hit me. I’d given birth (which ain’t easy) around 9pm. I’d had my baby in my arms since about 10pm. It was 3am. I emoted, “okay, next shift – I’ve done my … OH. OH!” and that was when I realised (emotionally) that someone defenseless would die without me. Responsibility – not “go to work and be good at that” or “don’t waste food” or “be a decent person” but “someone will die if you F up” landed on my head.

    It takes work to get your head around the difference between responsibility and priority. My children are my responsibliity – my husband is not. However – my husband is my priority over my children.

    I am very grateful for my religious upbringing, which pounded into my head that the priority list runs, “God – Spouse – Children – Self – Other Stuff”. It gave me what I needed to put the instinct and emotion into its place. The blue-pill world is *very* happy to lay guilt up to the ceiling on women if they buck the “children first” mindset, especially if those children should so much as get a hangnail. It’s kind of fun to say, “I’ll have to ask my husband about that…”

    Not interested in arguing this with y’all – but did feel like you needed to know *why* that switch might get flipped. Understanding others is the first step to making life with those others more bearable, or even motivating them to change.

  17. For all you saying immediate family before wife…. If my husband chose his mother over me when it comes to his time, or if he doesn’t stand up to his parents if they put me down in some way…

    We’re gonna have a problem.

    It’s been seen on the forum more than a few times, putting your immediate family over your wife is a recipe for disaster.

  18. Changed Man says:

    I think it’s very interesting that people are fixated on how ‘prioritizing’ means having to unilaterally choose one over another. I didn’t get that sense from BrianC’s post, at all!

    If a loved one is being an idiot or making unreasonable demands, I would call them on it, regardless if they were a spouse, parent, sibling, child, friend, whoever. I would never allow a loved one to put me in a position of choosing one over another, wouldn’t happen. I would not be rigidly preferential in my love, affection, and support. I would prioritize it according to circumstances, urgency of need, capability of self-care, etc, but I would never withhold it, especially out of spite or anger.

    I do believe that the ‘list’ is of value with respect to how you invest your self-esteem. First and foremost, you must believe and invest in yourself, should be a no-brainer but many fail here… at one time, myself included. A huge chunk of self worth and energy also must go into what you’re passionate about and feel accomplished in… your ‘mission’. Next, the centered feeling of giving and receiving to/from the people who will *always* be in your life. Lastly, the much maligned fourth, the woman in my life because it doesn’t make sense to invest a significant portion of my self-worth into a relationship that can potentially, through no serious fault of my own, not stand the test of time.

  19. Ah, I finally came across the post on the board that led to this post. Obviously a post or an opinion is not going to change anyone’s mind. But…since people are throwing our their viewpoint…here is mine.
    In my functioning adult relationship where there is no Batshit Crazy or other outside factors that get in the way of our couple’s decision making (i.e. family, friends, other love interest) my priorities are as follow:

    God (For me, when you are putting God first (not the church activities and such but a relationship with God) things flow better.)
    Husband/Wife (Your spouse, you are choosing to live your life with this person, not just have kids, not just be roommates, etc. If your marriage is good and your kids see and know this: Their bigggest needs are being met).
    Children: You are raising your kids to be functioning adults, not dependents of you for the rest of your life. Realize that you may love them deeply but it all comes down to them becoming functioning adults who will go and lead their own life.
    Family: My parents gave me life, his parents made him the man I love (or at least played a part). They don’t need me on a daily basis and I don’t need them on a daily basis. If things change and they do need help, we will provide that help. But they would never want that at the expense of my spouse or children. But, in a functioning relationship, this really is not a problem.
    Friends: I love my friends but as I have gotten older I realize there are only a few that I consider “family” like. Their needs come second to my family and parents but if I can help I will. But having a functioning adult friendship…they also know that I cannot fix their needs at the expense of my family. And they know that. When I can’t make the wedding because I am across the country and I have other obligations with the kids school, etc. they don’t hate me for life for not coming.
    Other Humanity: If I see a need with anyone and I can help, I will.

    I think it boils down to how “functioning” is your relationships. If they are not functioning well or at the other end called dysfunctional your priorities may line up different.

  20. romantic_guy says:

    We have been following the order that Athol suggests for most of our 41 years of marriage. There have been times that I let things get in the way of putting my emotional/physical health first, but we have never put our kids before our relationship. If you do that, what do you have when the kids leave??? After your own emotional health, you MUST put each other and your relationship #2!

  21. Shadow_Nirvana says:

    I didn’t understand Athol and Jennifer’s order of priorities btw. Does that list mean Athol puts his daughters in “the rest of humanity” ?

    I know I’m not reading it correctly but still…

    Athol: Self Care > Husband > Father > Son > Brother > Friends > the rest of humanity. read it as the role I am playing.

  22. whatever says:

    Sarah said:

    Children: You are raising your kids to be functioning adults, not dependents of you for the rest of your life. Realize that you may love them deeply but it all comes down to them becoming functioning adults who will go and lead their own life.

    I think that’s great. You have a really… healthy… attitude towards raising your kids. Two year olds need to be functioning adults! And yes, you meant EXACTLY that. You have such low expectations for yourself and high ones for them. GOOD JOB. If they haven’t died yet, you are doing a GREAT JOB! If one of them does die, then remember, YOU DID ALL YOU COULD. And don’t ruin that by following up with a story about how as two year olds they “lacked emotional independence and drove you crazy”. And really, don’t talk to non-American or non-English parents. They will think you are insane. So it’s important to stay in your awful little bubble where your insanity is supported.

    Now, for the professionals out there, what is a good fraction of the help you or your parents got to give to your kids?

    1/2? 1/4? Kick them all out at 18? Remember, you wrecked the world, so they need to be tougher than you ever were. And training for that should start at five! Or two years of age! As low as you can get the other awful people with you to agree with!

  23. I agree with those who list the wife before the extended family (parents, other blood and in-law relatives). As far as I’m concerned, once you’re married, the primary relationship is the husband/wife. The way I see it, when my own children are married, they form a new immediate family with their spouses and I then become extended family and I expect them to put their spouses first.

    But we don’t have hard and fast rules about this. There is a need to respond to individual circumstances as they occur. If one child is very sick, they come first at that time. If my husband is sick and everyone else is well, he comes first at that time. Similarly, if my husband’s mother became sick, she might also have needs that come first for a time. You can only respond to circumstances as they occur but in our house it is

    Spouse -> Kids -> Extended Family -> Friends.

  24. I should have added above, that it goes without saying that we need to care for ourselves first. However, even then, there are times when we need to put our own needs aside for that of another whose need is greater at a time. Times like – when there is an incident and you need to act and follow through immediately. The time I had plans to do something and I got a call that I needed to come pick up a sick child from school instead. Of course, the one time I had an accident and was in the hospital I had to come first for a while. Flexibility and responding to different circumstances. I guess you could say my priorities are flexible but the immediate family wins where there is a clash between their needs and the need of any other person.

  25. Changed Man says:

    Wow, another insightful post from @whatever.

    I would invite anybody else to challenge @Sarah’s comments about raising our kids to be productive members of society as being severely out of the mainstream, but I don’t think I’d get any takers. Seriously, BPD much?

  26. whatever says:

    Wow, another insightful post from @whatever.

    I would invite anybody else to challenge @Sarah’s comments about raising our kids to be productive members of society as being severely out of the mainstream, but I don’t think I’d get any takers. Seriously, BPD much?

    You kind of give the game away with “productive members of society”, don’t you? Not happy. Not self-sufficient. Not successful. Not healthy. Not sane. PRODUCTIVE. A battery. For you.

    And the child’s own anything in any respect? Well, who cares. But of course as you point out this awfulness is mainstream. Well obviously it is.

    Did I say it wasn’t mainstream America zippy? That is the point. Awfulness is TOTALLY mainstream. For her is the difficult task of saying how wonderful she is. How deeply she loves her children. Now, that doesn’t mean she will waste time on them, it just means she will say the words when she needs to deflect criticism or feel wonderful about herself. I’ve seen her “parenting” style often enough. Big on demands and short on help. Her stunning ability to make demands on those who can’t fight back is viewed with awe by the other cowards(ie all other parents). She knows who has the power advantage and she has the will to use it. And is impressed with herself when she does to.

    The children need to be “independent” and take care of everything else. But no back talk. They need to be adults, but obedient ones. Slaves really. You know “productive members of society”.

  27. @Whatever

    Did I miss info from a conversation in the forum or somewhere else regarding Sarah’s comment? I’m not seeing where she said the things about not helping, raising a slave, etc.

    I took her use of the term “productive” or “functional” to mean preparing them to be functional as both a healthy individual person as well as being able operate effectively out in the world and make a life for themselves when they grow up and leave home.

    I don’t think anyone expects a two year old to be a functioning adult. That would be a bit extreme. I expect a two year old not to shit on the rug. That’s a good start. I expect a lot more from my teenage sons and the level of “help” that they require from me day to day is certainly diminished from when they were toddlers.

    What gives?

  28. whatever says:

    I took her use of the term “productive” or “functional” to mean preparing them to be functional as both a healthy individual person as well as being able operate effectively out in the world and make a life for themselves when they grow up and leave home.

    I don’t think anyone expects a two year old to be a functioning adult. That would be a bit extreme. I expect a two year old not to shit on the rug. That’s a good start. I expect a lot more from my teenage sons and the level of “help” that they require from me day to day is certainly diminished from when they were toddlers.

    You young? Just not paying attention? Perhaps you’ve never witnessed American parents in full frothing at the mouth “I kicked them out at 18 and gave them no help because they need to take care of themselves” mode. Or some tough punk father mouthing off how “he makes clear to his kids that him and his wife comes first”. Of course he’ll start weaseling if called on it. You have never heard the banshee howling over the “terrible twos”?

    I’m not really sure how you manage to fix “productive” in your mind as anything but the child being useful to OTHER PEOPLE and who cares about the child? That’s what the word means and they chose it for a reason. Have you never seen the oldsters and their “take a job, any job” with cold glittering eyes cause they want you to pay that tax money so they get their Social Security.

    Sarah’s “functional” is also a cold word to apply to a child. Between “functional” and “productive” on wonders if one is in a factory or a home. And you should remember that all of them are grand liars who talk themselves and their wonderfulness up to no end. This is what they feel safe ADMITTING IN PUBLIC. This is the gilded version.

  29. whatever says:

    I especially love the conventional wisdom that a six year old boy needs to “take care of himself” versus three eight year olds. I could go on and on with other abuses, but really that sums it up pretty good, doesn’t it?

    “What do you expect me to do?” say the stony face adult woman who would run like a good terrified woman to the police if a man slapped her once. She would NEVER hold herself to the standards she holds a five year old boy. That’s ABSURD.

    This also applies to the husband, really.

  30. whatever says:

    Oh yeah. And pushing drugs on children who don’t do what they want because they are to lazy to spend the time and effort to do the work themselves. But heh, drugs are bad! Send marijuana smokers to jail to be gang raped. Send my kid to the nurse at school to get his drugs. He no do what I want and I to lazy to fix with work.

    Yeah, that’ll work for knocking it out of the park American child abuse to.

    As for girls? It varies from pushing them to dress like hookers to telling them they shouldn’t marry or have sex till they are 25. It’s up to the reader to determine which is more abusive towards a young woman.

  31. i think this is nonsense. the fact that my children are my first priority does not mean that I’m not taking an interest in my husband, having sex with him etc. caring for my children doesn’t mean I don’t care for my husband as well.

    but there is a difference. Athol says he would ditch his wife if she got too fat, and she would ditch him if he turned into a douchebag. but while I might ditch my husband for being a douchebag, I would never ditch one of my sons no matter how big a douchebag he was. such is life.

  32. I take it your submission to Parents Magazine got rejected?

    (the lolz)

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