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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