There are many “good” things out there, but sometimes, we try to cram too many of them into our family life. It’s a tricky balancing act that takes significant consideration. When left unchecked, these good things can become bad influences on our marriage and family. If we allow these good things to take priority over our marriage and family, all we’ll have left is a damaged relationship with our spouse and children. None of us want that! So, how do we identify these issues and uproot them?
Here are five things to consider:
I love technology, but it can distract me and eat up my time like nothing else can. So, I’ve had to set some important boundaries for myself. I try not to be on the phone when I come home to my family. I want to make sure they know that they are more important than my Facebook feed. My husband and I try to put our phones down as much as possible when we are home so we can engage with one another and with our kiddos. It’s essential that our spouse and family don’t feel like they have to compete for our attention with our screen. So, we must be willing to set intentional boundaries for ourselves and follow through with them. When we do this, our marriage and family will be healthier and happier.
We must work to live, but we must also make sure that we don’t find ourselves living to work. If we’re not intentional about our time, work can eat up our schedule, and we can end up depriving our spouse and family of the time and attention they need from us. So, set boundaries. We need to be careful about the amount of overtime and travel we take on at work. We need to make it a priority to be home at a reasonable time so that we can engage with our family before bedtime. When we make our family a priority over our work, our relationships will be stronger, and our life will be in balance.
3. Personal Hobbies
We should all try and find time to engage in our favorite hobbies even after getting married and having children. However, the problem arises when we spend more time golfing than we do with our families. We shouldn’t put our scrapbooking hobby ahead of time with our husbands. If we are constantly trying to arrange our schedules around our hobby, then our lives are greatly out of balance. We must always put our marriage and family first. There is no hobby worth pursuing more than our spouse.
4. Children’s Sports and Activities
There are many benefits to children being involved in sports and after school activities of all kinds. But, many parents are spending a fortune and many hours away from the rest of the family for their child to be involved in these activities. I understand that some children exhibit tremendous gifts at a very young age, and we feel like it is our duty as parents to further their skills. This is a good thing. However, when we throw our family into hyper-drive to attend all the practices, rehearsals, games, competitions, etc., this good thing can quickly wear on a family and become detrimental to the family, as a whole.
I love hanging out with my girlfriends, and I have the privilege of doing so on a weekly basis. However, I know there must be a balance there as well. Too often, Dave and I have counseled couples who have allowed time with friends to take up time spent with their spouses, or they let their friends govern their marriage. Unfortunately, some of those marriages ended in divorce. We are greatly influenced by our friends, so we must choose them wisely. We must also realize that we cannot put any friendship ahead of our friendship with our spouse. I believe our spouse should truly be our best friend. We can certainly have close friendships, but we shouldn’t spend more time with our friends than we do with our spouse and family. If we find that we can be more honest and open with our friends than our spouses, then we need to lean away from spending so much time with that friend and lean into spending more time with our partner. We are keeping ourselves from having the intimate marriage that God wants for us when we spend more time with our friends and allow them to know our deepest thoughts and feelings instead of our spouse. So, yes, let’s spend time with our friends but not let that time exceed the time we spend with our spouse.
Again, all of these things are good when in balance. Let’s make sure that our marriage always takes priority over these things, and our relationship will be so much better for it.