How we choose to prioritize the relationships in our lives greatly affects our marriage. Unless we are intentional, our marriage will fall to the bottom of our priority list. And we’ll end up having an “upside-down marriage”.
So, what exactly is this?
An upside-down marriage occurs when a husband or a wife, or both partners, don’t make the marriage a priority, so everyone and everything else takes precedence–and our priorities are out of order.
As stated in several of my blogs, my husband, Dave, and I are Christians. Therefore, we strive to prioritize our relationships from a Bible-based, Christian perspective: God first, marriage second, children third, then extended family and friends, and finally everyone/everything else. This isn’t an easy task, but keeping our priorities in line certainly helps us to cultivate healthier relationships that are in balance and in line with our faith.
So, what are some symptoms of an upside-down marriage? Well, some are more obvious than others, but here are 10 of the most common ones.
1. You’d rather spend time at work/with the kids/with friends/doing hobbies/etc. than spend time with your spouse.
2. You rarely, if ever, have a date night with your spouse.
3. You become angry when your spouse asks where you are going.
4. You don’t consult your spouse about decisions.<
5. You’d rather parent/discipline your children on your own.
6. You’ve daydreamed about being divorced because you already feel alone.
7. You don’t talk on a daily basis…unless it’s about money or the kids.
8. You can’t remember the last time you texted your spouse or talked to him/her on the phone.
9. You get angry when he/she calls you at work and view it as an interruption.
10. You dread coming home to him/her.
If you can say “yes” to any of these ten scenarios, please know that all is not lost in your marriage. Every marriage goes through trying seasons, but this is your chance to get the help you both need to turn things around. It’s important that you BOTH are willing to put in the work and time to strengthen your marriage in order to turn it “right-side up”. This is imperative to the sustainability of your marriage.
Some of you may be questioning whether or not it is really necessary to clearly prioritize our relationships. The truth of the matter is that if we don’t choose how to approach and prioritize our relationships, then everyone else and everything else will do it for us. We MUST be intentional.
When we are intentional about prioritizing our marriage, we make time for one another. We set a regular date night. We take time every day to talk to one another…on the phone, via email or text, and most importantly, face-to-face. We don’t view one another as an “interruption”. We stay in tune to the needs and desires of our spouse–mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually. This doesn’t mean that we are the only one to fill all these needs (that is unhealthy and impossible); it just means that we are in his/her corner, offering encouragement and insight, listening, and being a true partner. When we make it our mission to do these things each day, our marriage will be strong and lasting.