It's that time again friends-- time to remember that the best thing you can do for your children is to have the best marriage possible. Love this post from Kate Aldrich, who along with her husband Brad have a wonderful marriage blog, One Flesh Marriage.
Kate and Brad will be at our Hope at Home 2012 conference for adoptive and foster parents, October 5-6 in Atlanta, GA.
Only two weeks away -- you can still register. We are so looking forward to seeing you!
Kate says . . .
When we were dating and first married my hubby and I found there were many things we differed on. Many of these things were a reflection of how we were raised. One of our differences was our feelings on leftovers. Yes, leftovers. I would try to serve the leftovers again later in the week and my dear hubby was not so keen on them.
I have to admit; many times leftovers are not as appealing as making a new, fresh meal. How do leftovers apply to marriage? Well for many years our marriage was stuck in our own selfishness, and we ended up giving each other nothing but leftovers. We fell into a routine of giving of ourselves to everything we “needed” to do first, and then being frustrated when there was little left over for our marriage.
When I think on this or feel myself being pulled in all directions, wanting to leave only leftovers, this scripture comes to mind.
“Honor the LORD with your wealth, with the first fruits of all your crops”
Proverbs 3:9 NIV
In our lives we are asked to honor God by giving him the first fruits of our lives. Yes this includes our money and material wealth, but it also means our first fruits of who he made us to be-- our time, our talents and our callings. Then, if we are married we are called to prioritize our spouse next. Bringing the next fruits to them-not the leftovers.
This is modeled for us in the relationship Christ (the groom) has with the church, us (his bridegroom). Christ’s first priority—after obeying and glorifying the Father—was the church. In Jesus’ example we can see that giving our spouse our leftovers is not going to result in the one flesh connection we truly desire to have. If we want that bond, that true feeling of being completely known and accepted, then we cannot settle for giving leftovers.
You might say, “Ugh, but life is so hard, I have meetings to attend, dinner to make, emails to respond to, babies attached to my hips, extended family responsibilities, toilets to clean, children to rock to sleep, Iphone games to play, facebook to check....”
The list goes on and on!
All of these things have their time and place; some have more importance than others. Yet not one of them should go before your spouse on a regular basis. There are times that our children have to come first for a short time, or a work project takes priority. When those times happen it should all be with the goal to get back to God first, Spouse second, children third and everything else fourth.
Practical ways to keep priorities in order:
Evaluate what you are doing with free time
You know that time during the day when both you and your spouse are free to do what you want? In that time, are you doing separate things? I tend to get flack for this, but that time should be spent together. If you prioritize that time together, you will find that you are refreshing your marriage.
Does that mean you have to EVERYTHING together? No, but it means you make every effort to spend some alone time each day, as well as be in each other’s presence for the rest of that time. After our kids are in bed for the night, we go to our room and that is our time. We enjoy quiet-intimate time together as well as do our daily devotions, read our books, watch an occasional movie and other things we enjoy as a couple.
Share where you struggle and ask your spouse to help
I’ll admit it is hard to be open and vulnerable, to admit where I struggle. Yet, I love that I have a safe place to share that, with my hubby. He knows me, understands me better than anyone else on earth and loves me regardless of my weaknesses. He also wants to lead me to be the best servant of Christ I can be. I love that about him.
I share when I am struggling and he helps me to put it all in perspective as well as come up with some ways to help the situation. If we are able to share the ways we feel pulled away from making our marriage a priority, most spouses will be touched and willing to pray and help. Being vulnerable and having that trust, keeps your one flesh journey moving forward.
Pray and seek God’s word
God never fails to amaze me with his steadfast faithfulness. Seeking Him through prayer and His Word is essential to keeping from serving leftovers to your spouse. We have all heard it said, “Never underestimate the power of prayer”, yet how often we do seek other ways to work on our struggles first? Give God the first of your struggles, then your spouse next. These biblical principles are there for a reason, give them a try!
Do you feel like you struggle with giving your spouse your “leftovers”? If so, share how you have overcome this trap in marriage.
See you at Hope at Home 2012!