Are you caught up in an ever-circling cycle of busyness? And then with the holidays coming up are you all the more concerned that busyness will consume your married life together? We understand that concern all too well!
A while back we picked up the book, “Who Made God?: And Answers to Over 100 Other Tough Questions of Faith.” In the preface, there was something that got us thinking about this topic of ever-circling busyness:
“I all too clearly remember the day when, as a lad growing up in India, my mother had put a delicious treat into my hand. Happily, I walked outside. I was enjoying every juicy bit and wishing it would never come to an end. Suddenly, out of nowhere, an eagle swooped down upon me. And faster than the eye could see, or the mind could react, the food was gone from my hand. Plus, the side of my face was clawed. I stood there completely shaken by the experience.
“My instinctive reaction was to run home, crying and calling for my mother’s comfort. I was hoping for help and replenishment. What I got was a stiff warning. It was to always be mindful of ever-circling predators that could in a moment leave you empty-handed.”
The Predator of Ever-Circling Busyness
As we read that warning an important thought came to mind. There are other predators out there. Some of these predators encircle and attack marriages. And one of them is busyness. Life has a way of pushing so many “necessary” things at us that scream for our time. It’s easy to take on more than we should —more than it’s healthy. We’ve learned (the hard way) that just because we can do something, it doesn’t mean we should do it.
Sometimes we can get so caught up in what we think is important that we overlook that, which truly IS important; and that is investing in our marriage relationship and family life. Unfortunately:
“While juggling our busy lives, it’s all too easy to let our marriages fall into the background. We would never say our marriages weren’t important—and yet we act as though they’re not.” (Ellyn Sanna)
We’ve done a lot of studying to help our marriage grow into a good one and to help you improve your marriage, as well. And here’s an important fact that is consistently brought to the forefront; “experts” say that the first 5 minutes after a spouse comes home often sets the stage for how the rest of the evening will go. So… no matter how busy we are when one of us walks in the door we do our best to stop and embrace our spouse back into our home. It’s a priority for us. Our spouse is a and should be a priority for us. After all, why did we get married if we don’t prioritize each other?
The Lord reminds us of this regularly. Thank you Lord! We pray He also reminds you of this fact with your spouse.
We’ve come to realize that we could work 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and never get everything done that the ministry work of Marriage Missions calls for us to do. The demands are continual!
But we’ve also come to realize that if our marriage relationship isn’t a good one —then we’re neglecting our most important mission. We are to honor the vows we made to each other and to God to “love, honor, and cherish” each other for the rest of our lives.
How is it possible to do this when you have so many things yanking on you for your time, “encircling” and bidding for your attention? That’s a tough one! Honestly, it has been a juggling act for us for most of our marriage. It seems that we go from one busy season into the next. But here’s a good suggestion (that we’ve used often):
“What can we do about busyness? Carefully review your separate schedules and BUILD IN TIME for each other. Effective time management, forcing yourselves to say no to extra demands from outside the family, and generally not taking on any activity that is absolutely essential can go a long way toward a solution.” (Dr. Sharon Hart Morris)
This takes intentionality. And truthfully, we don’t always do it right. But we keep falling forward, continually asking the Lord how we can make our marriage relationship a priority. This is something we know He would want us to do. God is faithful in helping us.
Priority of Spouse
We agree with Dr Gary and Barb Rosberg when they said:
”Your spouse needs to come to the top of your priority list —just a bubble behind Jesus. You need to give your spouse priority access to your time —instead of just the leftovers. Priority time for your spouse means occasional date nights and getaway weekends. But it also means smaller time slots, such as having dinner together, and taking a brief walk. It can mean spending time talking, playing a game, or watching a favorite program together.”
We also agree with something Teresa Parr (Parent Coaching Consultant) wrote as a warning:
“Babies are loud about what they need. Marriages are not. It’s easy to neglect each other because other things are more urgent, but you have to save some time and energy for your spouse.”
Needs that Bring Busyness
Yes, children have needs. And sometimes, we have to neglect each other here and there, when certain emergencies and health needs demand it. But we need to keep the bigger picture in constant view of growing a healthy marriage for each other AND for our children. We didn’t marry our children. We married our spouse and for that reason, he or she should continually be a priority to us.
It’s important to NOT allow the maintenance of our homes and the ever-expanding demands of our children the centerpieces of our lives together. They are a priority, yes, but not the center. Here are a couple of marriage/parenting tips to keep in mind:
“Let nothing come between you and your spouse—not your house, not your pride, not your friends, not your work, not your kids. You and your spouse are one. The children will be there, of course. They are part of you; and you are responsible for them. But there is no relationship on earth like the marriage relationship. God uses it to model the church (see Ephesians 5:22-33). Nurture your relationship with your spouse so that it lasts the longest and means the most. (Donna Otto)
Dr Debbie Cherry put it this way:
“If you are always pushing your spouse aside for time with the children, you may want to consider just what you’re teaching your children. By the way you treat your spouse, are you modeling for your children how you hope they will treat their future spouses? Probably not. Spending time with your spouse not only draws the two of you closer together, but it also teaches your children that the marital relationship has to be our number one human relationship.”
We can write a whole lot more on this subject concerning children, work and ever-circling busyness. And I (Cindy) have in several articles on this web site. But my husband is sitting right across from me. He needs my time and attention and I need his.
So, we’re closing by saying this. Please know that if you ask God to help you to find the time —to MAKE the time to invest in your marriage; and you TRULY seek an answer and listen. He will show you how you can steal the time to spend with your marriage partner.
We’ve never had Him fail us yet in answering this prayer when we’ve sincerely asked for His help in this important mission.
Please find the time. MAKE the time to show your spouse that he or she is more important to you than all the other things pressing in on you. Make little moments here and there, that you can spend together, special and meaningful. Even spending meaningful pockets of time together is certainly better than nothing!
We hope you will make this mission a priority.
Cindy and Steve Wright
— ADDITIONALLY —
To help you further, we give a lot of personal stories, humor, and more practical tips in our book, 7 ESSENTIALS to Grow Your Marriage. We hope you will pick up a copy for yourself. (It’s available both electronically and in print form.) Plus, it can make a great gift for someone else. It gives you the opportunity to help them grow their marriage. And who doesn’t need that? Just click on the linked title or the picture below:
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