Balancing Priorities in Marriage

Question:I badly need help. My husband is not the same person I knew 10 years back. We have two children and he works up to late everyday, I have tried to check several times whether he is in office and indeed he is always there. He has no time for me or the children, he gets irritated over small issues, does not want to help in the house the few hours he’s available, we don’t have holidays as a family, he never gives anything to my parent, never calls any of my relatives, his friends send messages calling me all sorts of names, does not buy me anything, does not have time to pray with the family. What can I do?
Please print out this marriage column and read it with your spouse. Don’t let another minute of your marriage be squashed by wrong ideas and the improper use of priorities. You can do something about it.

Marriage Guidance:It sounds like your husband is working too much, if there is such a thing—it’s labeled in society as a workaholic. He does not have his priorities balanced properly. This is a big issue with many Christians and then they wonder why, even though they seem to be doing everything right, their life is unbalanced and chaotic.

From your letter is also sounds like you are focusing way too much on the negative aspects of what your husband is or is not doing, rather than being supportive in some way to help your husband realize he has his priorities off kilter. This also means you are confused about your priorities in the marriage. Our marriage will definitely become imbalanced, wearisome and chaotic when God is not at the top of our priority list. Let me explain.

Scripture lets us know right away at the CREATION of Adam and Eve (Genesis 2:18) that Eve was created to be a helpmeet to her husband. This means we can meet with our husbands and be a help to them or we can defy our role as wives and rebel against our calling and be a deterrent to our husband instead. Which sounds better to you?

Wives, being helpmeets to their husbands, are to be supportive and encouraging in helping their husbands be all they can be in God. Complaining, nagging, and quarrelling works against this objective—it works against a wife’s calling to be the true helpmeet that God is talking about. I know, it can sometimes be difficult to be encouraging when we ourselves are discouraged, but this happens because we wives have our priorities mixed up too!

Ok, so our husband comes home crabby and irritable after working many hours at his job. Do you think your husband wants to be there? Probably not, but he has his priorities mixed up. When our husband comes home from working all day we should be available to them emotionally if they need to talk about their day and physically to get the stresses of the day off their mind. They need to unwind. They probably would be happy with a back rub, good meal, and a smiling wife.

Now I know that some of you reading this may be thinking, “Why should I be nice to a grouchy, mean husband for?” Why shouldn’t you? Galatians 6:2 reveals why we should be nice. We are to carry each other’s burdens and in this way we will be fulfilling the law of love. Why shouldn’t a wife carry her husband’s burdens? Why wouldn’t she want to? Marriage is for the good times and the BAD times. This is what marriage is all about—the good times and the not-so-good times!

The main problem in many marriages is the lack of respect for one another. The foundation they are loving one another on is not from God but from the world’s standards and views of how they think marriage should be. But this is wrong! Many deceived Christians have been mislead. Marriage is not supposed to be led by the creation but by the CREATOR! God created and established marriage and He also controls it. If you want a blessed marriage then let God control its outcome.

How does the creation lead marriage? Well in this instance the husband is confused thereby selfish—he works long hours and is not there for his family—this can work the other way around by the wife and her career too. Husband and wife emotionally need each other.

People often believe sex to be the most important aspect of marriage, but in fact being there for each other emotionally and spiritually is more important because the foundation of infidelity is lack of emotional and spiritual support of each other!! I’m not saying that sex is not important for couples in marriage, but that we often overlook each other’s feelings, roles and positions, which is the basis for the feelings of dissatisfaction with the man or woman we married.

In the same instance from the letter above, the wife is only thinking about her lack and husbands faults, thereby keeping her from finding a Godly solution to her marriage difficulties. If she were seeking a Godly solution, which she is now attempting to do by contacting our marriage ministry, she would soon discover that her happiness does not depend upon her husband and what he does or doesn’t do.

Love Must Be Sincere

Another big problem in marriage is we confuse love with something we felt when we were dating. This euphoric lusty passions that dating is supported on, which later brings grief to couples in marriage when those feelings of desire dissipate, which no doubt will eventually. This is because Love must be Sincere and not based on a feeling!!

If you don’t have lustful passion for your spouse any more does it mean you do not love them anymore too? Absolutely NOT! Does it mean you can go get a divorce and find someone new to feel that desire of passion with? Absolutely not!

It means the dating days are gone where no commitment was ever in place. You’re married now and being a Christian, God expects you to be committed and devoted to your marriage through the good days and the BAD days. God expects us to Love the one we married even when we don’t FEEL like it! God teaches us that we are NOT to marry the one we love but we are to love the one we marry.

As Christ Ones we have a responsibility to our marriage FOR GOD.

He said to them, “You are the ones who justify yourselves in the eyes of men, but God knows your hearts. What is highly valued among men is detestable in God’s sight. Luke 16:16

It is all about getting our priorities in proper order.

Wives, consider what I am about to say very carefully. Do you think your husband, after working long hours all day should come home and do household chores? I myself would NEVER tell my husband he has to do anything, especially clean the house. Why should a wife tell her husband what to do? Does she tell her boss at work what to do? Absolutely not! So how can she come home and demean her husband in that way? No wonder many wives are finding their husband’s having emotional and physical affairs. We can certainly consider things with our husbands but we should not tell them what to do and how to behave. And it can certainly work the other way around too, men, so please do not put yourselves on a pedestal. Put God on the pedestal instead where he belongs!

(There is no validation for infidelity. We should never blame our spouse for the choices that we make, but a spouse can be a factor in another spouse’s infidelities in those who have a weak faith.) We are the rower in our own boat. Christ is calling for us to follow Him, but ultimately the boat goes wherever it is taken by the rower, whether it is following Christ or going the opposite direction, we are free to make our choice and which way we will row our boat.

Now, I do understand that some wives work long hours OUTSIDE of the home too, and therein is the problem!! We make these terrible choices for ourselves and think we are helping out our families but it backfires! Most wives and husbands don’t mean harm when they have their wives working outside of the home, but it causes so many problems with the management of the home and family life that it is just not worth it, do you think? But this is a whole other article.

I myself know exactly what it is like being home for days alone with three small tots while my husband goes out of town working for weeks at a time. He often missed Easters and the boy’s birthdays. We had our priorities confused, big time! We thought money was more important than our marriage and children. Boy we’re we confused?

When my husband, Frank did come home after being gone for weeks at a time, all I cared about was he helping me out with the kids and the housework. I thought our marriage revolved around ME! I wanted his total focus only on me and what I wanted. I was so needy early on in our marriage that I actually pushed him away.

Thanks be to God we got it all figured out, but it took several separations, heartache and suffering before that happened. No one explained to me how important God is in our life and marriage and in fact, I was told to leave my husband because he didn’t care about us. But this is a whole other article again. We have to get back to priorities.

My worldly attitude and the way I perceived my marriage to be created division in our relationship and instead of enjoying the times when he was home, I wallowed in a frustrated, resentful, pity pot, blaming my husband for my unhappiness. At the time, we didn’t know it, but all we needed was the right foundation for our marriage to be supported on, but neither one of us knew what that foundation was. You can read my personal testimony of how I overcame negative emotions, alcohol addiction and a bad marriage in our book Journey on the Roads Less Traveled.

We spoke of God and knew God, we even read the bible sometimes but that was not enough. Not until we put our TRUST and FAITH in God through Jesus Christ did we start to realize what our marriage needed. Sincere love and our actions based on that love. Our actions should never be based on how we feel, because it will lead us astray. Our emotions are ok to have and to feel but we should never let them lead our direction in life. We must walk our Christian faith by principles established and taught by Jesus Christ.

God NEEDS to be the number ONE priority in your marriage too!

Our calling as wives is to be helpmeets to our husbands, but instead many of us, without proper understanding and guidance, are exactly the opposite of that to our husbands. We believe it is our husband’s responsibility to make us happy! But it’s not true! It’s a lie that has been cultivated among women who have not been taught how Christ works in their life. Christ is alive within you and He will bring blessings to your life if you would only let Him in. Let me tell you the journey and growth a woman or man can have with Christ is never-ending and full of joys, wonders, and peace.

My husband and I were building a marriage, but it was failing because it was not built on the foundations and principles that created us—our Source of all that is pure and righteous. It was instead built on the foundation of what we felt we could get from each other.

“Unless the LORD builds the house it’s builders labor in vain. Unless the LORD watches over the city, the watchmen stand guard in vain. In vain you can rise early and stay up late toiling for food to eat—for he grants sleep to those he loves.” Psalms 127:1-2

Essentially the above scripture is letting us know that a marriage without God can never experience the spiritual bond that God brings to the marriage. A city without God will crumble from evil and corruption on the inside. Don’t make the mistake of leaving God out of your marriage, like so many are doing. Make God your highest priority, and let Him do the building!

A husband surely does not want to come home to a quarrelsome wife and housework, just as a wife doesn’t want to be greeted by a mean ole ogre. Do you know what a husband would love to come home to? How about for starters his favorite meal, a hug and kiss and a happy, smiling wife? Actually if a man’s wife is happy and joyful when he comes home from work, he will probably come home to just about anything you cook him.

Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the LORD forgave you. And over all these PUT ON LOVE, which binds them altogether in perfect unity. Colossians 13:13-14

You make time for you and your husband to have “alone time” even if that means at 9:00 at night. Ask God to forgive you and come into your life and protect, guide and teach you in His ways in your marriage. And God will take care of you.

In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:6

I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you and watch over you. Psalm 32:8

Though you made me see troubles, many and bitter, you will restore my life again; from the depths of the earth you will again bring me up. Psalm 71:20

I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. John 16:33

We tend to sometimes trust our emotions too much then it gets us in trouble. I even allow this to happen from time to time. We allow our negative emotions to tell us how to behave in our marriages and its wrong! Believe me, negative emotions can bring us down. This is why we need to keep our focus and our number one priority always on Christ. No marriage can stand up under a shaky foundation. We need God!! God asks us to “put on love”. We have to make ourselves “put it on” because it is only through the power of the Holy Spirit within us that we can truly love others. Ask Christ to help you love your spouse today!

As for your husband his relationship with Christ is his own. What can you do to change your husband? But…you can be a Godly influence to your husband by your loving actions. Let your husband “see” Jesus working in you. Be all you can be in Jesus Christ.

Husband’s Priorities

    – Duty to God first and foremost

    – Accountability to God

    – Second duty to wife

    – Responsibility to wife

    – Third to children (if applicable)

    – Love, cherish and protect wife

    – Primary provider for wife and family

    – Accountability to wife and family

    – Primary spiritual decision maker

    – Primary decision maker on large issues that involve the rest of the family

    – Responsibility to love your fellow man

Wife’s Priorities

    – Duty to God first and foremost
    – Accountability to God

    – Second duty to Husband

    – Responsibility to Husband

    – Honor, love, respect, submit to husband

    – Responsibility to nurture and care for home and children

    – Responsibility to love your fellow man