Two very different conversations that took place in the last 24 hours really have me thinking about marriage and how we treat our spouse. In the one conversation, a person basically stated they were nice to people who weren't family. The indication was clear that you can treat family like dirt, as long as you are nice to strangers. This was in the presence of their spouse. The second conversation was one relayed to me that concerned a couple where at least one of the spouses vacations without the other.
Here's the deal. The person you are married to - where exactly do they rate on your list of priorities and time? Do you put them before yourself and others?
I remember several years ago, probably 9 or so by now, when my husband and I were having a very rare night of dinner alone at home without the kids. It always seemed like we rarely had time to talk when the kids weren't there or something wasn't going on. However, on this particular night, it seemed like within 5 minutes we had covered what we needed to talk about. And in my own mind, at least, there was this very eerie feeling that I didn't really know my spouse. And what would happen to us when the kids moved out?
We had just finished moving into the home we had built. We had full-time jobs. We didn't have financial problems. We had been married a long time. We had two teenagers. But our marriage seemed to be held together by stuff as opposed to substance.
That night was my wake-up call. Although things are very different now, I still remember it as though it was yesterday because I never want to feel that way again.
I often hear people say that you and your spouse should go out on a date regularly. I believe this is especially true when you have little people at home. But when it is just the two of you there, I suggest you take time to talk. You can catch up on what is going on in your lives and other things. But then, take time to talk without the TV, the movies, the dinner guests, or other distractions.
Without a doubt, I believe that your spouse is to be your first ministry. Before the church, before the children, before anyone else. Do you minister to your spouse? I'm not talking about doing ministry together, which is a great thing. I'm talking about ministering to them in ways that show you love them and that they matter to you.
At the end of my days, can I say that I loved my husband well? Will he say that I loved him well?