In It Takes Time I said that It is important to take time. Now that time I had been talking about the time factor for a good and successful marriage. Today I want to emphasize that we have to set our priorities right (Setting Priorities) in how and where we are spending our time.
I drove somebody to town the other day so that she could catch a bus to go to the airport. It was at an early hour but it was time well spent. On the way back I dwelt on these thoughts...
We have an appointment for a job interview, a job we really want to have. Won't we do everything in our power to be there on time?
We want to meet with that special friend who we haven't seen in months. Won't we go through all the efforts to arrange a meeting with her?
It would all depend on the work we are willing to put into our assignment the teacher said. Oh, and how seriously we had taken his words.
She had to get up at 5 in the morning. But she didn't mind. It was her wedding day and all worth it.
They made sure to leave early to head to the airport and to catch their plane. They made sure it would not leave without them because it would take them to Hawaii.
What about meeting with God every day? Do we take this lightly because, after all, He is there all the time anyway? Or do we think we can be there as we please because He will understand and forgive us if we are not?
Why do we pressure ourselves to the extreme to meet certain deadlines and to rush to appointments but when it comes to our time with God we procrastinate? How about just setting aside 5-10 minutes of quality time with the LORD every day?
I'm very much preaching to myself here, too. I have often caught myself putting God second, third, even last. We are tempted to push God off His rightful place in our life when we forget about Him. We are in danger of forgetting the One who has saved us, whenever we are of "perfect" health and well-off financially. We are tempted to hold on to our money and stuff, thinking more highly of our own "capability", and we are craving for other gods (things and people can become our gods).
God's Word offers us such an abundance of advice how to live: no matter if we are poor or if we are rich, whether we are young and full of energy or whether we are getting old. God, through His Word, talking to us today. He wants to be our one and only Father. He loves to spend time with His children. Are we making the time for Him today?
If you were to write down the three top priorities in your life, who or what would come first? God? Your daily devotions? Time spent with and for your husband? Being together with your children? Your work? Your home? Your friends? Your ministry?
If you were told that you were only to live another 6-12 months, would you change anything? Why? Why not?
Honestly? I struggle now and then, setting my priorities right. I believe that the following is the perfect order:
2 Husband and Home
The problems start, of course, if God doesn't come first in our lives, but also whenever the ministry takes a higher place than our husband and our family. I'm guilty of having given my ministry too much attention while neglecting my marriage.
1 Putting God first. I'm not talking about plain Bible reading. I want to know more about God's Word, of course, but spending time with my LORD is so much more than that. It's about talking, praying to Him, listening to Him (e.g. verses He brings to my mind or points me to while reading His words) and praising Him through prayer and songs. The quantity of time doesn't matter as much as the quality of it. That changes everything!
2 Putting my husband second. He needs to be only second after God. I remind myself that he has a very special place in my life - even before my child/ren and, yes, before my ministry which goes beyond my home. I include many things I can and should do for him: keeping our home running and in order, guarding his time (after working hours end), supporting him in his work and encouraging him, minding our child/ren while he is working, acknowledging him as the head of our home, telling him how proud I'm of him.
3 Putting the ministry in third place. I find this so important. We are tempted to put the ministry before our husband. But we need to remember that woman was made for man (1 Corinthians 11:9), that we should be keepers of the home (Titus 2:5), and that we need to teach our children diligently (Deuteronomy 6:7). So, for a good amount of years, our ministry lies in meeting our husband's and family's needs and keeping our home.
What does it take for a marriage to work? Besides love, patience and effort, one of the most important ingredients to make a marriage work is time. It is important to take time.
As a couple we need to spend quality time together: going for a walk, having a candlelit dinner, visiting places, spending time alone with each other and being romantic. True, it isn't always easy to do because our schedules are already filled with working hours, chores, fitness, hobbies and more. But it is important that we will take the time to build and nurture our marriage. Keep the marital bond healthy.
Divorce never happens over night. There must have been issues with the marriage before. Maybe they had been ignored again and again? Perhaps the couple has not taken the time to probe the causes of the problems? Unresolved issues and arguments are dangers that can sneak into any marriage. Beware of them. Be on your guard! So, another important ingredient to make a marriage work is communication. It is important to make the time to listen and to talk.
The best anchor of a working marriage is, of course, the LORD Jesus. We might face some similar issues and hardships in our married life than non-believers do. However, having Jesus at the helm of our marriage-boat will make things so much more worth it.
I have ordered a few books on marriage over the last two weeks. There will be some book reviews coming up shortly. Stay tuned for there will be some book reviews coming up in the near future.
Two men had been asked to do something. One said he wouldn't do it but later on he did, the other said he would do it but in the end he didn't. Who would you rather be married to?
You look at Angela's husband and wonder: How could she stay married to him all these years? He is an unbeliever. Ever since she has come to Christ, he is giving her a hard time. Of course she loves him! Maybe not like on the first day of marriage... but she surely cares for him. It hurts her to see him in this stage, neglecting his spiritual health. She wants to help him, teach him, talk to him about her belief in God's Word - and she would love to do that all day long. However, the more she talks the more hostile he seems to become toward what he calls a senseless faith.
Now Violet's husband, he is a total different man! Straight away you will notice that he is very good in explaining Bible passages and teaching the the things of God. They are always in church on Sundays and throughout the week they participate in various studies and gatherings at the church. John had been called to faith first, then Violet followed.
"That sounds wonderful. Good for them," you say, "But you don't understand. I can identify more with Angela than with Violet. My husband is an unbeliever."
Been there! So let me point out, please, that the last thing you want to live with is a false convert. You don't want your husband to live the Christian life only to find out later on that he really never cared for it after all. True, it would make things much easier on you and the children and life could be so great in church, too. Yes, but only as long as he is playing his role well. But what if some hardships come along? What if some of his buddies convince him that there is "more" out there than being a Christian? What if he will meet "the love of his life" and leave? Or, what if he will get fed up pretending to be someone he really isn't? Even if he would continue on, eventually you will stumble across his false doctrines and he might defend them furiously. Then what? Will you be able to stand firm for Christ? Honestly?
I reasoned with my uncle once: "But why did you just lie to her?" My aunt had asked him if he had taken his medication, to which he replied, "Yes, of course I did!" His reason for lying? "Now she is all happy and will leave me alone." He explained that otherwise she will keep on bugging him all day long and he doesn't want her to do that. He just wants (his) peace.
Yes, I understand: You long for your husband to come to Christ. However, you want him to become a true believer, right, not one that will play his role to please you or so that you will no longer bother him about this?
If you turn to Matthew 21:28-31 you will find the Parable of the Two Sons where it says:
"But what do you think? A man had two sons, and he came to the first and said, 'Son, go, work today in my vineyard.' He answered and said, 'I will not,' but afterward he regretted it and went. Then he came to the second son and said likewise. And he answered and said, 'I go, sir,' but he did not go. Which of the two did the will of his father?" ... (NKJV)
Yes, being married to an unbelieving husband can be very hard. Remember, though, that nothing is impossible with God: neither for you to continue living with your husband (as long as he doesn't want to leave) nor that your husband will turn and call out to Jesus for salvation.
Wait. Pray. Trust in God's perfect plan and timing!
Have you ever wished that someone would have told you the truth about how hard and painful it can be to become pregnant, give birth and raise children in this world? Or, have you ever wondered why, in a more or less civilized world, men and women are still fighting in a competition of who is worth more than the other? Why are people still struggling to find meaning and purpose in their lives?
I didn't grow up in a Christian home and I regret that I didn't have any older women around who would teach me the principles about biblical womanhood and Christian homemaking. Now older isn't necessarily relating to age here. The women could have been much younger than I but more mature in their walk with Christ.
True, nowadays we will find an abundance of advice available to us – online and offline. So why bother writing more on that topic? Let me explain what kind of studies I have found so far and what it is that I'm really looking for.
There are studies for women arranged by topics. Often enough these teachings will talk about a specific topic that is of more or less interest to us. Throwing in Bible verses doesn't make these teachings Rock-solid, though. They are usually created to be women-ish and all about us and how we will succeed in life.
On the other side, there are studies for women that go through certain books of the Bible. Often enough I don't find any “female” aspect in them.
What I'm looking for is a study for women that would guide us through God's Word, stopping us each time the verses are specifically addressed to women, and then helping us to read them again and to study what God is telling us – so we can apply the principles in our own lives.
Twenty years ago, while still in my 30s, I started writing a book about The Christian Homemaker. That time God had other plans for me, though. Surely I needed to grow a lot more before I could even start thinking of teaching other women. Now, twenty years later, I feel a strong desire to pick up this work again and – by God's Grace – to finish it before my time on earth is up.
I want to share the pleasure with you that comes through digging deeper into God's Word. I want to encourage you to read and study along. You will be amazed, how much God cares for us and how much He has to say to and about us.