Prioritizing God and Marriage

One of my priorities is spending quality time with my wife and kids. During my married life, I have consumed content from Pastor Jimmy Evans who is the founder of a ministry called MarriageToday. I’ve listened and re-listened to many of his sermons/podcasts and read some of his books. I wish I could say that my skill as a husband has matched my level of listening to Jimmy Evans, but I have no doubt that his material has helped me be a better husband.

One of the many things I have learned from Jimmy Evans is the priority of marriage over everything else in life except God. Some spouses tend to prioritize their children, thinking that their children need and deserve their attention moreso than their spouse. The risk here is that when the children grow older and leave the nest, you’ve not invested in your marriage the way you should. You’ve also shown your children priorities that are out of balance. Another thing I’ve learned from Jimmy Evans is the importance of praying together as a couple.

As a parent of two young boys, I can attest to the fact that children consume much of our time and energy. My typical work day involves getting up around 5:30 in the morning, spending some time with the Lord, getting ready and heading off to work at about 6:30. I work from 7:00 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. and get home about 5:00 p.m. We always eat dinner together as a family.

From the moment I get home, my boys demand my attention. Right now, they are not likely to go to bed unless we do, so I help out around the house and spend time with my boys until about 8:30 when we all start getting ready for bed. We read stories to the boys and try to have a short time of prayer before we dive into the sheets. Hopefully, we’re in bed by 9 or 9:30. Yes, I’m 41 years old but I still listen to Adventures in Odyssey while I fall asleep.

Our schedule gives me about 4 hours each evening to be with my family, but does not allow for any time for Leslie and I to be together alone. Nevertheless, we do spend a lot of time together as a family, around the house, going for walks and excursions, watching movies or football, and eating together. It’s not a sacrifice, it is a joy.

To prioritize time with God, I have to be intentional about it. I have to make a plan. I might pray at spontaneous moments of the day or worship the Lord while I drive to work, but to spend that quality time with Him that I know I need, I have to make a plan. I have to plan to get up in the morning. I’m certainly not perfect in executing my plan, but I do better because I make a plan. If I’m up later than planned the night before and don’t wake up to pray, I make a plan to pray in the evening. The same strategy applies for marriage.

Last year, I think Leslie and I had maybe 3 date nights the entire year. Planning date nights has not been easy, but I’m hoping that we will do better this year. During our attempt at a date night in February, we got rear ended and Leslie ended up in the emergency room. We never did make it to the Cheesecake Factory. Thankfully, we were okay but Leslie was pregnant and she was admitted to the ER as a precaution. Then Jacob was born on April 29th and we’ve been busy since then keeping up with our two boys.

Finally, in December, we had a real date night. We went to Panera Bread. Since there were barely any customers in the restaurant, we had a peaceful and quality time, just the two of us. This year, I am hopeful we will make a better plan. We’re doing better at praying together as a family. We also plan for the unexpected, because the unexpected will always come. It takes work, but the reward is worth it.

Prioritizing Joy

JoyIn my marriage, not much makes me feel better than making my wife laugh. When I say or do something that fills her with overflowing laughter, I feel a sense of satisfaction. Making her happy makes me feel like I am doing something right.

I try to bring fun and laughter to my home. Life is too short to be serious all the time. There are many problems in the world, but Jesus promises joy for his disciples (see John 15:11, John 16:16-24, John 10:10).

This weekend we took our son to the Emergency Room because he got an infection on his body. Thank God, it wasn’t a big deal and should clear up after a few days. That’s life. Still, we found plenty of time to enjoy time together as a family. I made jokes while we watched a Hallmark movie. We acted goofy with our little boy, enjoying his smile. On Sunday, we went to church and then drove about 45 minutes to our favorite Mexican restaurant and ate street tacos.

God wants us to enjoy the life He has given us. He wants to inject some joy into our family life and marriages. Ecclesiastes 9:9 (AMP) says, “Live joyfully with the wife whom you love all the days of your fleeting life which He has given you under the sun…” Life is short, it passes by quickly. I just turned 40 and I’m determined to live out my days with righteousness and integrity, serving the Lord with all my heart, and enjoying the time God has given me.

Proverbs 13:7 (NKJV) says, “There is one who makes himself rich, yet has nothing; And one who makes himself poor, yet has great riches.” Ecclesiastes 9:4 (NKJV) says, “a living dog is better than a dead lion.” You may not feel like you have much, but I encourage you to make the most of what you have, enjoy who you are with and make the most of the time God has given you.

In this article by Ken Blount, Prioritizing Joy In Your Marriage, he offers some practical suggestions for injecting laughter into your daily life. He says, “Good humor stimulates wit and laughter, and it actually creates closeness and intimacy between people, while hurtful humor creates pain and emotional distance.” Use your humor to build up, not to tear down. Enjoy your spouse and your children. Enjoy your friends and the people around you. Enjoy loving God. Enjoy the beauty of His creation. Enjoy life! Prioritize joy.

For Reflection: What are some things you do to inject laughter into your marriage? Into your home? Into your daily life?

“A merry heart does good, like medicine,
But a broken spirit dries the bones.”
-Proverbs 17:22 (NKJV)

This is Our Home

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Our Wedding Day

Marriage Journey

Marriage is not easy, but it is worth it. Leslie and I have had our share of struggles, adventures and joys. We know that God brought us together for His purpose and we are committed to our marriage journey for life. A few years ago, the Lord gave me a song in a dream. The simple lyrics were, “This is our home, this is our vow, make this place a habitation for your glory now.” This has been our goal for our marriage, that God would make our home a place of His habitation and glory.

This page is also dedicated to insights regarding marriage, as we seek to hear God’s voice for our marital unions. I’m still a relative newbie at marriage, having only been married for just over 5 years. But whatever season of marriage we are in, we are all always learning. Here, I will share insights I am learning in my marriage. Join me on this marriage journey!

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