|Philippians 2:4 Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.|
Whenever we are looking to our husbands to change in one area, we first have to look at ourselves and make sure we line up with God's Word. So, this chapter, although we may be quick to judge and criticize other people and their priorities, I think we should start with ourselves. As a stay at home mom, it can be easy to say or assume that my priorities are totally perfect and well balanced because anyone with kids knows that children, especially babies, have needs that must be cared for 24/7, and so a mother often does put others before herself, and in today's world a mother is like a god if she puts her child first because of the sacrificial love and the hard work mothering entails, but...according to God's Word are we to put our children first? As wives, God is our number 1 priority, and our number 2 priority is our husband, and likewise for our husbands. Our children are our number 3 priority, now for those of you with little ones, yes there are things like changing diapers, making meals, etc, but that we can still do things to show our spouse that they are a priority in our life.
Stormie states, that in today's busy world we can be consumed with, "work, home, friends, projects, interests, and activities....it's hard, in the midst of everything that occupies your time and attention, not to allow your spouse to fall down on the list--or at least feel as though he/she has."
She suggested that to make your spouse feel they are a priority in your life you can (sometimes it's not the quantity of time, but rather the quality of time)...
*greet them with a smile first thing in the morning instead of grumbling to "go make the coffee"
*let him know you are praying for him and ask for specific prayer requests
*Ask, "Is there anything I can do for you today?"
*plan a date night or a weekend get away
*check in on him periodically throughout the day
Stormie says, "Priorities have to do with the position in the heart."
When John and I first got married we were both working full time, which meant I left the house by 6:30 in the morning and came home at 3:30-4pm and John went to work at 3:30 or 4:00 til 9pm...we had horrifically opposite schedules, which meant we missed each other A LOT! What did we do to show each other that we missed each other and that we wanted to spend time together and that we loved the other person? Well, some of the things I'm about to list we got a lot of flack for from friends AND family, but you know what, we DID NOT care, or let it bother us, because we knew for our marriage to stay strong we needed to make each other a priority, not friends, not other family members (The Bible says to leave and cleave and we took that literally) and not work.
1. We did not take phone calls after 9pm...we told all our loved ones in advance the reason why, and we said that our time at home after 9pm, unless it was an EMERGENCY (John's sister once called him at 2am to come kill a bug for her...not an emergency, but very funny) was to be respected. It took a while for some of our loved ones to get it, but I think ultimately they realized we were not trying to be mean, but trying to set a boundary for our "new family".
2. Weekends were sacred...listen, I actually wrote out the amount of hours I saw John throughout the week and it was a sad number...so weekends, even though John had Taekwondo til 1pm on Saturdays, we made sure we were TOGETHER on the weekend, especially on Sundays...Saturdays we would share the day with friends and family but Sundays were usually just us, and those were really special. I have some great memories of our Sunday outings after church...we would go to Le Peep for brunch after church, head home for a leisurely nap, go to Princeton for a stroll, or go see a movie, go to NY for a museum trip...it was awesome! I always knew I was a priority to John. He never said I'm going out with my friends, or I'm going golfing, he had plenty of time to do that during the day during the week, I always knew weekends were saved for me and vice versa!
3. We shared each others hobbies...John took up scrapbooking our vacations with me, and I tried Taekwondo for a bit, we also shared ministry time together, we volunteered Sunday nights at youth group and we started our own "youth group" with the teens at Taekwondo. Working and having fun along side each other we got to see each others strengths and weakness.
4. Texting wasn't an option back then (I don't think) but John would call and leave messages throughout the day to me to let me know he was thinking of me. Sometimes he would even "show up" at my classroom door, and would get a bunch of squeals from my students and a big smile from me! In the evenings since the Taekwondo school was down the road from our Townhouse I would sometimes drop by, especially on Fridays and Saturdays, just to say hello and see him in his element! I loved seeing John instruct a class and wear his uniform!
5. Planning vacations became one of John's delights. He would always plan a vacation for the week during Christmas break and another for during the summer, usually around our anniversary. Pastor Joe told us during pre-marital counseling the importance of being alone as a couple, even for just an over night stay. It just rejuvenates your love for one another. But the time and effort that John would take to pick the best hotel, and find the nicest restaurants, and decide on our daily excursions, it took a lot of love and time and it meant a lot to me to know he did that.
6. At 9pm when John walked in the door, I was available to him. We usually would stay up and watch a show together while he ate, but we always caught up with each other's day and we were always in the same room. This was a sacrifice on my part, because honestly, I wanted to be in bed by 9pm. I was exhausted from the day of teaching, coming home to clean/cook and food shop and all I wanted to do by 9pm was drop, but I made my John a priority because how would he feel if I was asleep when he came home, or dinner wasn't made, or I had nothing to say to him? I missed him and I wanted him to know so.
I'm finding that life was definitely simpler then, without children in the mix! I could focus all my care on John, but now I do need to pray that God helps me to balance my priority between John and the kids. Sometimes I do feel torn. First and foremost I have to be sure that I have God as my main priority.
1. Do I have a set quiet time with the Lord? Do I keep it?
2. Have I prayed?
3. Do I bring all my worries, concerns and requests to God or just blab to friends?
4. Do I pray first for wisdom on a situation or seek out a friend first?
5. Do I keep the Sabbath day holy? (I don't just mean do I drag my family to church and show up...I mean do I really have a humble spirit at church?)
Have you ever noticed that if your priority with God isn't straight that your other relationships probably are out of whack too?
This week let's pray that...
Pray that your husband always puts God first, you second, and your children third.
Pray that we can show our husbands that they have an important position in our hearts.
Pray that we will prioritize our time and that nothing frivolous will occupy our time.
Pray that the Lord will be Ruler in our hearts.
Pray we Seek God First.
This week's LOVE DARE...
Surprise your husband at work if possible! bring a special treat (John would always bring brownies for my students! He became known as the Brownie Guy :))