Every strong marriage has found a way to maintain right priorities. This can be a tricky thing to do, because often what happens is that the things we are trying to balance are all good things — family, exercise, activities, church, and even work.
Work is a great example of a good thing that occasionally gets placed too high on the priority list. Let me say this about work: We go to work to make money to bring home to our family. Our family is the focus. We work for our family. We don’t keep family around to refuel us so we can go back to work.
A lot of people, however, get so caught up in work that they forget why they work in the first place — they work to finance the life of the family. Men are especially prone to this.
You’ve no doubt heard this said before, but you really discover a person’s priorities when they’re on their death bed. In the hours before death, a person is interested in two things: God and family. No one on his or her death bed is interested in making another sale, or finishing up a project, or completing a spreadsheet.
Guys, don’t let your work come before your family.
If husbands are tempted to give too much priority to work, wives may be too willing to prioritize their children. Don’t get me wrong: Your children are important, but not as important as your marriage.
For any number of reasons — not all of them positive — some women get much of their identity and emotional satisfaction out of their children. Maybe their husband first turned his heart away, and so they have turned their hearts toward their kids.
By the time the kids are gone and you have time to focus on your marriage, it may be too late. The damage has been done.
Besides, how are your children going to succeed in marriage unless you show them how? You are the most profound influence in their life. When they eventually get married, they’ll look to your marriage as a model.
Am I telling you to become a loveless, unapproachable parent so you can give all your attention to your spouse? Not at all. But a healthy family is one in which you can let go of your kids when the time comes. They need to be set free from you, and you need to be set free from them. This allows both parent and child to move on with life and do the things God has called them to do.
Work is a very important part of life. Children are very important parts of the family. These are critical things. But do not give too much priority to these good things, because they should never come before your marriage. You protect your marriage by making sure the good things stay in the right priority.
In order of priority, God comes first. Then your marriage. The other good things follow.