TODAY   |  March 02, 2013

Expert: ‘No hierarchy on love’ in families

“Truth is, it’s a juggling act,” said psychotherapist Robi Ludwig, who spoke about the controversy that came after E! News host Giuliana Rancic said of her family, “we put our marriage first and our child second.” TODAY’s Erica Hill and Lester Holt interview Robi Ludwig.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>> us this morning. what is your initial thought on this? should marriage come before kids? should we rank them at all?

>> i think the truth is anyone who is married and has kids understands it's a juggling act. there's no hierarchy on love, really. i think the way it was said, it made the baby seem like odd-man out. and i can tell you that, yes, kids do need to see a good marriage. and that's certainly helpful. but if a child feels like they're left out or just an accessory, that certainly not psychologically healthy.

>> i don't think she was saying either/or in this case.

>> right. it doesn't sound that way. i think it would have been better if she said even though we have a child and we're so happy, we love our child so much, it's still very important for me to have a solid marriage and keep my husband a priority.

>> is it important? especially when you talk about a 6 month baby in this case, isn't it important to have the date nights out, the time to make sure the marriage is strong?

>> yes. and we know that when it comes to marriages and stages of marriage, when you have little kids, it's really the most complicated time in a relationship. because there are so many demands and you need to juggle. you need good coping skills. so the happier marriages are really the ones that where the wife can focus on the husband's needs and likewise. where there is thoughtfulness in that union. that is very healthy for a child . as long as the child 's needs are being met, too.

>> what about what we heard and we heard in the piece there about in other countries or maybe the kids are not as -- i don't want to say they're not as high a priority. that is not the casement we do have a send entendency to push upon parents that they have to put their child above everything else, their sleep, their health. and so sometimes it does feel like there is a lot of societal pressure to say no matter what, my kids will always win.

>> there is. there is an idealization of motherhood. and that idea is if you're a good mother, then you don't have needs. or you put your child 's needs first. i think we see in other cultures maybe that's not the style and showing love. the end of the day , are you the right mother, the right parent for your child ? that's what matters.

>> are you surprised that this has kicked off the conversation that it has?

>> no. because the way it was said, it's almost like my husband is first, my child is second. i want a second child and that child will be third. i think the way it was phrased, it made it sound like her first priority was her husband. she loved him the most. and her child was important, too. i don't think that's what she really meant. i think what she was really trying to say is my plan is to have a great marriage and the way to do that is to continue to make my husband an important priority.

>> great. thanks very much. good to have you here.