Every one of us has the same 24 hours or 1440 minutes allotted to us every day we’re here on this earth —with no exceptions. Within this time there’s a fierce competing battle going on for how we spend every minute of that day. Steve and I experience it, and I’m sure you do as well. The “tyranny of the urgent” will always be in competition for that, which means the most to us —that which we SAY is our highest priority. That’s why it’s important that we are making time for marriage—to grow our marital relationship.
The Psalmist said, “Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” (Psalm 90:12) Isn’t that something that should be the prayer of our hearts —especially in our marriages? We SAY our marriages are important to us, but do our daily schedules really reflect it?
The Bible tells us that where our treasure is, that’s where our hearts are also. What about the treasury of how we spend our time? What does that say about our hearts?
Making Time to Be Together
Now, I’m not saying that we have the ability to arrange our time as we please. After-all, most of us have to work to finance our lives. Plus there are many other demands on our time as well. But if we’re really honest, MOST of us can find at least a small treasury of time to spend on that which we value.
We need to consider that whatever we say, “yes” to, we’re saying, “no” to something or someone else. And it’s usually our spouse that we expect to “understand” when we shorten them of our time.
Dr James Dobson states:
“Like most men, I’ve always struggled to maintain a proper perspective between my profession and my family. Just when I think I’ve conquered the dragon of over commitment, I say ‘yes’ a few times when I should have said ‘no, thanks,’ and the monster arises to maul me again. I know of no easier mistake to make, nor one that has such devastating implications for the family.”
Busyness Can Happen to Us All
In all fairness, this happens with women also. Especially when it comes to the ministry of Marriage Missions, I could work 24 hours a day (and still never get everything even close to being done). Sometimes Steve has to remind me that even Jesus didn’t work like that when He was in human form. Plus, if we don’t do what it takes to make our marriage healthy, we are being hypocrites in running this marriage ministry.
Steve works a lot of long hours in his job as well. Plus he tries to do what he can for the ministry of Marriage Missions. So he battles with time and energy issues that takes from our time together.
But together we try to give grace, and yet remind each other of the importance of spending quality time whenever it’s possible. We do this even if it’s just sitting across from a table hand-in-hand for a short time talking eye to eye as friends.
Most women have a tendency to be more “relationship oriented” than “job performance oriented.” But we still get involved in saying “yes” to more than we should. It’s just in a different way. Women will more often over-commit when it comes to relational matters. This especially applies when it comes to caring for their children.
And of course, caring for children should be a high priority. But don’t neglect your marriage more than you should. The best gift you can give your kids is a healthy marriage with their parents.
Articles to Help You
A few articles to read posted on the web site on this subject can be found in the “Assorted Marriage Issues” topic: When a Job Steals Time From the Family and Marriage. And then there are the articles, Career Issues: Lack of Time Together and Staying Connected when Your Spouse is Away. (This article is for those whose spouse travels or lives in a different location for work purposes.) Plus there is the article, When Hubby’s Away.
And then there are several articles posted in the Children’s Effect on Marriage topic that can give you ideas when your children come in with their “tyranny of the urgent.”
And for those in the ministry, in the Pastors and Spouses topic, the articles Emotionally Abandoning Spouse for the Sake of Ministry plus, Is Marriage in Conflict with Your Ministry? are helpful to read. And then there is the article, The Ministry of Marriage for the Pastor.
We have other articles posted in other sections of our web site as well from which you can glean marriage priority tips.
We found the time before we married to be together… and many who are involved in affairs find the time to do so (stealing time from their spouses), so why can’t we find the time now with our spouse? Priorities!
Ask God to Help You
But if you don’t think you have time to give, ask God to show you where you can grab moments here and there. God is faithful. We’ve done this several times. And we have found that God makes us aware of moments we can spend together.
And if you don’t have a spouse who recognizes the importance of making time together, guard your heart from allowing it to go places it shouldn’t. Please don’t allow yourself to do that which isn’t right —even if your spouse doesn’t hold to the same standards. Uphold your integrity. “Integrity is doing what is right even if no one but God is watching or notices.”
Also, pray for as long as it takes, and don’t give up praying and believing that God will wake up your spouse.
It comes down to daily, minute-by-minute choices. Just because we CAN do something, just because everything cries for our attention it doesn’t mean we should do it. Marriage is like a garden. If you don’t continually tend to it, it will be over-run by weeds. And those weeds will choke out all you say you value.
Tyranny of the Urgent
It used to be that I (Cindy) would say, “after this, things will slow down.” And then it was “after that” and “after that, and that,” and the saga goes on. But eventually I saw that “this, and that, and that” will always be in my life. The “tyranny of the urgent” seems to be a permanent condition attacking our lives today. I’m only fooling myself thinking things will slow down in some way.
If you don’t say “no thanks” enough — that which I say I care about the most may not wait for me later.
I’ve come to see that over commitment is a “marriage killer.” I used to equate spiritual depth with the number of spiritual “things” I was involved in. I was even on a local board for the Promise Keepers ministry while not really being the “promise keeper” God wanted me to be in our marriage.
Oddly enough, it was through the Promise Keepers Conferences that God revealed to me that I was only a part time husband. And unfortunately the “part” that Cindy got wasn’t my best. I’ve found the best spiritual thing I can do is take care of my wife as Christ’s bride.
I encourage you to stop to consider if your busyness is something that brings God glory. Does it take you away from the really important things that you should be devoting more of our time to? I’m talking about things like your marriage and your family built to honor Him?
I can’t answer that question for you. What you do with your time is between you and God. But as for me, I’ve learned that my wife is my number one (earthly) priority. It’s not my job — and not my recreation time. I used to say that I “loved to play golf.” Now I say I “enjoy” golf, but I love Cindy. I know that sounds like a small thing, but when it comes to my thinking about my relationship with Cindy, there are no small things.
Let me encourage you (men) to prayerfully examine your schedules. What would God want you to remove? What would He want you to move into a higher priority? And what would He want you to move way down the list (if you feel it must remain)? If you struggle with this, may I suggest you ask your wife, Christ’s bride, what she would want you to remove or move?
And ladies, the same questions can be said in reverse. Pray about this and listen to what God says to your heart.
Cindy and Steve Wright
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