Priorities in Marriage

by Dr. Juli Slattery

Have you ever had a single comment change your view on an issue? This happened to me one afternoon in my counseling office.

A woman named Cindy was processing her broken marriage after 23 years with her husband. Out of the blue she pleaded, "Tell them, Juli! Tell the young women you teach, 'Never put your children before your husband!'"

She poured out her heart, re-evaluating 20 years of sleepovers, football games, youth group and cast parties. ... Twenty years of telling her husband, "There will be time for us later."

As we dive into all the wonderful activities of fall, I hope Cindy's warning will echo in our ears. We can engage in an endless number of fun, productive and even spiritual activities that ultimately take us away from the high calling of being a wife.

I'm right with you in this busy stage of life, where saying "yes" to my marriage will inevitably mean saying "no" to many other good things. I've had my share of fall sign-ups in which I've committed to a plethora of wonderful activities only to find in October that I've neglected time with my husband.

If you're determined to keep your marriage a priority, here are some practical steps toward making that happen this fall:

Create a mock calendar before you commit. Adding one little thing to your schedule may feel like nothing, but you just may find that you'll be gone every night of the week. Draft a prospective fall calendar of what an average week will look like. How many nights will you have dinner together as a family? How many Saturdays will you and your husband be driving kids in different directions? When will you make time to nurture your marriage?

Commit to a date night. This is basic marriage advice, but it works! When Mike and I let date night slide, irritation and unresolved conflict creep in. But when we're diligent to go on a regular date, we long for even more time together.

Stay focused on you and your family. If you look around and compare yourself to every other mom, you may commit to things based on pressure, not conviction.

King Solomon warned us in Song of Songs 2:15, "Take for us the foxes, the little foxes that spoil the vineyards [of our love], for our vineyards are in blossom" (AMP, a paraphrase). As you plan your family's fall calendar, don't forget to protect the vineyard of your marriage.


This article first appeared in the August/September, 2011, issue of Thriving Family magazine and was originally titled "Is He Your Priority?" Copyright © 2011 by Dr. Juli Slattery. ThrivingFamily.com.


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