Part 2 of a 3-Part Understanding Marriage Series
In my previous article, I examined what Timothy Keller (author of The Meaning of Marriage) has to say on our life priorities as they pertain to our couple and marital relationships. In this article, and in future articles in this series, I will further expand upon these categories.
Your Relationship with God
Jesus reminds us to seek first the Kingdom of God in relation to all of our concerns (Matthew 6:33). Although he does not speak directly to marriage in this passage, he does overtly suggest a holistic way of approaching life. He essentially says: Take care of this and everything else will take care of itself. This does not mean that we will not have problems, or be free of suffering … quite the opposite, I am afraid. But what I believe he says is that all the things we chase after – whether idols or sinful behaviors – will start to be reordered and our strongholds broken. If our number one priority is our career or our hobby, then that particular thing will master us; it will guide our behavior and choices and will ultimately receive our loyalty.
Your Children or Your Marriage?
We live in an age in which children are the number one priority. I previously worked in child and family services and am now working with couples on a daily basis, and I have discovered this to be the marriage killer. While it is normal for children to change the dynamic of the couple relationship, we do have choices about how we prioritize children’s activities. Recently a couple I worked with who were in crisis noted that, “We can’t find time to do date nights … our daughter is on the varsity soccer team and she has practice every morning at 6 a.m. and then from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. every day.” After examining their priorities, my clients came to the realization that soccer was consuming them. They realized that the kid’s activities were the focus of their relationship and that they did not even know each other anymore. They could not remember one time in the previous year when they had sat down and had a deep, meaningful conversation that did not involve soccer, money, yard work, or their jobs. In addition, their sex life had become non-existent.
The impact was felt even deeper when one partner disclosed that they had been involved in an emotional affair that had recently turned physical due to feeling “a lack of connection” to their partner. While their daughter was on track to play college-level sports, their relationship was on the way to the divorce court. As a couples’ therapist, the phenomenon I observe most often is the following: Those who prioritize the children almost always have significant relationship issues later in their marriage.
Christian Counseling Can Change Your Marriage
As a Christian counselor, I have noticed how people in our modern era often approach marriage as a way of gaining something for ourselves. This is not a bad thing until it becomes the ultimate thing. It can also motivate us to invest in our couple relationship in order to stay in our marriage. In my following article, I will continue to examine the traps that pull us away from vibrant couple relationships.
“Cascade Mountain,” courtesy of the author, Michael Lillie;“Colorful Abstract” courtesy of Lichtmagnet, All-free-download.com