We say that our spouse is the most important person in the world to us. That’s why we married him or her in the first place. But does our spouse know that he or she is so important to us? Do our priorities line up with what we think or what we say? That’s the question: By our actions, what thing and what person appears to be most important?
“In juggling our busy lives, it’s easy to let our marriages fall into the background. We never say our marriages aren’t important —yet we act as through they’re not. Almost any time management book will tell you that one of the first steps toward using your time more effectively is to write down your priorities. And then afterwards, use your time in a way that reflects those priorities. That may mean we have to say no to other responsibilities and pleasures.” (Ellyn Sanna)
Prayerfully consider the following advice given to us by Dr Gary Chapman:
“We all live by priorities. These priorities are revealed most often by our actions. Answer these questions: ‘how do I spend my time? How do I invest my money? How do I use my energy?’ Then you’ll have the answer to the question, “What are my priorities?”
Drs Les and Leslie Parrott add more enlightenment on this matter:
“‘The reason most goals are not achieved is that we spend our time doing second things first,’ said business author Robert J. McKain. And he’s exactly right. We may say that our marriage comes first, but that doesn’t matter if we devote our time to what’s lower on our list. Saying it’s a priority and making it a priority are two different things.”
This goes along with something that Evelyn and Paul Moschetta say (which we agree with):
“The plain fact is that most of us don’t take marriage as seriously as we should. We get so caught up in all the other demands that our marriage and the quality of our togetherness fall to the bottom of our ‘to do’ list.”
Reminders on Priorities
We bring all of this to the forefront of your thoughts right now as a reminder. It’s one that we’ve had to consider quite a few times throughout our marriage as we go through seasons of busyness. We say, “seasons” because that’s what they should be—just seasons. It should not be a way of life. If you’re too busy to grow your relationship on an ongoing basis, then you’re mixing up your priorities. That includes the season when you’re raising your children. They need to see you grow your marriage.
Please pay attention to (and apply) the following advice from Dr Jim Burns:
“One of the big struggles with marriage today is the tendency to put our kids’ needs before those of our spouse. What we don’t realize is that child-centered marriages are often weak marriages. And in the long run they hurt the kids more than help them. If your spouse is not getting his or her emotional needs met by you, often he or she will pour all their energy into the children. The end result is an unhealthy marriage relationship.
Obviously, I’m not talking about neglecting your children. I just want to emphasize the importance of seeking to keep your marriage vows a major priority. When children see a marriage relationship of integrity, they’ll feel more secure. In fact, Scripture says, ‘He who walks with integrity walks securely.‘ (Proverbs 10:9)
“I’m convinced that a marriage of priority and integrity will be one of the best offerings you can provide for your children. You may still need to give extra time and attention to the needs of your kids. This is especially true at certain seasons of their development. However, your kids must also see their mom and dad taking time for each other. They do this through regular date nights, daily connection times, appropriate expressions of romance, and even a commitment to time away for replenishing your relationship. I’m sure you’ve heard the true statement: ‘Do your kids a favor and love your spouse.’”
So, how much time and energy are you spending on growing your relationship with your spouse? Consider something that Fred Smith says on this issue of priorities:
“My time is as much mine as my money. If I don’t let everybody else spend my money, I’m not going to let them spend my time.”
And that advice especially applies to spending time with our spouse! Relationship counselor, Mort Fertel puts it this way:
“Have you ever heard the phrase ‘You are what you eat?’ This catchy slogan from the fitness industry reminds us that how we ‘spend’ our calories determines our health. Want to be fat? Then eat lots of fat. Want to be healthy? Well, you get the idea.
“When it comes to your marriage, I would say, ‘YOU ARE WHAT YOU DO.’ In other words, how you and your spouse SPEND YOUR TIME determines the strength of your marriage. Spend it together and you’ll feel connected. Do your own thing too often and you might sleep in the same bed, but you’ll feel worlds apart.”
Giving Leftover Time
During this time of year when lots of people are eating leftovers, we want to make sure you understand the following point. Don’t just give “leftover” time to your spouse. Give him or her some prime time. Drs Les and Leslie Parrott explain:
“Busy people rarely give their best to the ones they love. They serve leftovers. We’re not talking about the kind that comes from your fridge. We’re talking about emotional and relational leftovers —the ones that remain after the prime energy and attention has already been given to other. This is sometimes known as sunset fatigue. It’s when we’re too drained, too tired, or too preoccupied to be fully present with the one we love the most. They get what’s left over. And a marriage cannot survive on leftovers forever.”
Make sure your priorities are in order. Give your spouse the best of your time and energies whenever it’s possible. Please don’t neglect to do so. God wants your marriage to go beyond just surviving. He wants it to thrive! Do your part to cause that to happen. This is just a friendly little reminder. ♥
Cindy and Steve Wright
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