Marriage-Minded Schedules – Pt 2 – Marriage Message #238
Are you too busy to be married? Most of us would answer “no” to that. But let’s rephrase the question: Would your spouse say you act like you’re too busy to be involved in your marriage? Would he or she say that you treat your marital relationship as if it’s unimportant to you?
You see, you can be a busy person with a lot of other people and things pulling for your attention, but even so, your spouse can tell if they’re really a priority in your life. I know this to be true because my husband Steve and I are very busy people. We can’t spend as much time focusing our undivided attention on each other as we’d like, but still in the back of our minds we KNOW that our marriage is a priority to the other.
We know that below our love for God, comes our love and devotion for each other. If either of us truly needed the other, we’d find a way to shove things aside to tend to those needs. We’re determined not too busy to find a way to have a good marriage!
Let me ask you another question: when you were engaged to be married, if someone would have asked you if you were too busy to make your future spouse a priority, what would you have said? The answer probably would have been, “no” (otherwise, you probably wouldn’t have married in the first place). And why would that have been your answer? It’s probably because in the newness of your love you were intentional in making your future spouse a priority. You decided that you wouldn’t be too busy to find ways to be with him or her.
Then what happened? For those of you whose spouse would say that you act like you’re too busy to be involved in your marriage —what happened? LIFE happened! Everyday events, people and things, which compete for our attention, have a way of shoving us away from each other. In our attempt to build a life together, we allow everything and everyone else to become more of a priority to us than our marriage. Our intentionality to make our spouse a priority becomes a dream of the past and we forget what’s really supposed to be most important to us.
When LIFE happens, too often our good intentions become a thing of the past, stealing our time away from the spouse we once promised to love and cherish for the rest of our lives —and yet we allow it. Instead of giving our spouse the best of us, we spend almost all of our energy and time giving elsewhere, and our spouse gets the “left-over’s” (if there is anything left over to give).
So then the question comes to mind, but “how can I change that? I HAVE to work, the children have needs, and there are so many good and also pressing things to do —there’s no more time to give!” After-all, there are only so many hours in the day!
Let me challenge you with something author Andy Stanley wrote in his book, When Work and Family Collide: Keeping Your Job from Cheating Your Family (Multnomah Publishers). He wrote,
“When you consider the limited number of hours in a day, there’s no way you can reach your full potential in all those areas. There’s just not enough time. Your situation isn’t that different from mine. If you stayed at work until everything was finished —if you took advantage of every opportunity that came your way —if you sought out every angle to maximize your abilities, improve your skills, and advance your career, you would never go home.
“Likewise, if you stayed at home until every ounce of affection was poured out in all the appropriate places —if you kept giving until every emotional need was met —if you did every chore, finished the “honey do” list, and did everything necessary to ensure that everyone felt loved, you would never make it to work.
“In fact, if you are a parent, you know that your children alone could command every waking hour if you let them. Add to that your fitness goals, hobbies, and friendships. The list is endless and so are the time requirements.
“So let me take some pressure off you. Your problem is not discipline. Your problem is not organization. Your problem is not that you have yet to stumble onto the perfect schedule. And your problem is [probably] not that the folks at home demand too much of your time. The problem is there is not enough time to get everything done that you are convinced —or others have convinced you —needs to get done.
“As a result, someone or something is not going to get what they want from you —what they need from you —what they deserve from you —certainly not what they expect from you. There is no way around it. There is just not enough time in your day to be all things to all people. You are going to have to [choose] somewhere.
And that’s what it comes down to! We’re all given 24 hours in a day. We all have choices to make in how we spend those 24 hours each day. Some of us have more choices and pressing demands than others, but it still comes down to choosing the best. As author Dennis Rainey says,
“One reason for so much stress today is that we want too many of the good choices. But the Christian couple should want only God’s BEST choices. To make the best choices, you need to be controlled by His Spirit and not the spirit of the age in which you live.”
Jesus commended his follower Mary because she chose “the best” in how she spent her time at that moment in history. What about you? Are you choosing “the best” in how you spend your time so that your marriage isn’t neglected? Because your marriage is a picture of Christ’s love for the church, don’t you think God would consider it worth spending what you can to give it your best?
If you think your spouse would say, “You act like you’re too busy to be involved in our marriage” we hope you’ll sit down with the Lord and sincerely listen to what He has to tell you on this. Then sit down with your spouse; lay everything out before the both of you, and prayerfully consider where you can cut back —making even little changes for the betterment of your relationship.
We know that there are “seasons of busyness” and demanding jobs and ministries but you and your spouse need to be united in agreement with all of this. Don’t spend all of the best of yourself outside of your marriage —find some way to reserve some of the best for them.
Sometimes you have to stop the flowing river of life from over-taking your married lives and decide how you can change your course when you’re headed in a wrong direction. If you and your spouse disagree about the priority of where you’re spending your time and the “best” of yourself, then NOW is the time to decide how, with the Lord’s help, you can change courses so your marital relationship is strengthened.
For some of you, this is a definite wake up call! Do what you can to change what you can, while you still can… one step at a time as you ask God show you how.
Cindy and Steve Wright