In every relationship/marriage, at all times, in all seasons of life, it is important to keep your relationship top priority.
It is easy at times and harder at other times, but you must commit that your spouse is the most important human being in the world to you. And you have to follow up that commitment with choices supporting your decision, when you feel like it and when you don’t!
Be forewarned – Satan does not want your marriage to succeed and he will bait your life with many temptations and distractions to bring havoc to your marriage relationship.
God knows this and that is why His Word is filled with warnings and instructions for keeping your marriage safe and strong.
Below are 10 (ten) distractions that may damage your marriage. While some may seem harmless, be assured that the potential exists for any of these to create divisions and pull a couple apart.
For example, when something makes you angry with your spouse, you both become vulnerable. God’s Word instructs and warns us, “Be angry and do not sin. Don’t let the sun go down on your anger, and don’t give the devil an opportunity.” (Ephesians 4:26-27, HCSB)
I pray God will show you which of these you may need to work on so that your marriage has the best chance of survival and godly success.
1. Children – Children are a blessing, but it is easy to put the children and their needs and demands ahead of your marriage relationship. It is imperative that you preserve time for the two of you and keep your marriage #1.
2. Work – Your work may be overwhelming at times. You may feel pressure to keep up or to climb the ladder of success in your career.
If you both work, there are more challenges and roller coasters of good and bad times at work that impact your personal life. As a couple, you must decide that your work will not jump in front of your commitment to each other.
You may need to set up accountability and boundaries to keep things in perspective. When you are not at work or are on family vacation you can choose to refuse business calls and e-mails. It is possible to give adequate commitment to work while still maintaining your marriage as a higher priority.
3. Individual hobbies – Many couples have different interests and you will do some things by yourself or with friends who enjoy the same things. However, it is important that you intentionally choose to do some mutually enjoyable activities together. Too much social time apart is potentially dangerous. Be creative and find some old or new hobbies you can enjoy together!
4. Friends – Hanging out with one or more of your own friends is good, but at times these relationships can become a distraction. Your friends must not take priority over your marriage! Watch out especially for easy friendships with someone of the opposite sex.
Guard your heart and your marriage. Treat your spouse like your best friend and you will probably be reminded that he or she really is your best friend!
5. Activities – Too many activities is a killer of marriages. You have so many choices and opportunities. It is easy to over-commit and then suffer the consequences. Discuss this subject and come up with a plan for protecting your couple time and family time. Guard your calendar.
Set dates and getaways as a couple and decline other things that might override your commitment to each other. It is easier to be considerate of each other and support one another when commitments are accepted or declined together.
These are just a few possible distractions. In our next newsletter, we will address five more. Keep in mind that Satan does not want your marriage to flourish, but God’s Word says, “So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, man must not separate.” (Matthew 19:6, HCSB)
“Finally, be strengthened by the Lord and by His vast strength. Put on the full armor of God so that you can stand against the tactics of the Devil.” (Ephesians 6:10-11, HCSB)
6. Extended Family – When his or her family demand too much of a couple, it can become a distraction to their marriage and home. Your family may expect you at every party, function, and event. Don’t give in to the pressure. As a couple, set the pace for your family unit, especially if you live in the same town.
Solutions: Set boundaries. Determine some goals you have as a couple and tell your extended families your plans. Give them an opportunity to accept you as a family unit. Let them know you will be making decisions that are best for your own family.
7. Television – There are many ways TV can impact a marriage relationship. You may become so dependent on TV that you leave little time for other more important things. Some of the shows you watch may be negative, ungodly, and leave you with a bad attitude. Or, sometimes TV can serve as an alternative to conversation, cuddling, or just sitting in the same room reading. For example, I (JB) love to have “noise” in the background. I turn something on just so that I can hear sound! Maybe you’re like that, too. If so, do something about it.
Solutions: Set limits to your TV watching. Decide what shows you are going to watch and turn it off when they are not on. Make a list of things you want to do together for fun and then do them. Don’t just fall into the habit of watching TV and doing little else.
8. Internet – Most of the warnings I gave for TV fit here as well.
But, there’s also the huge risk of visiting questionable sites – you think no one will know and it won’t do any harm. There is much to be feared when it comes to surfing the Internet!
Solutions: Limit time here and set up accountability. Put some type of filter on your computer. For a good filter, visit Bsafe Online at HYPERLINK “../../Desktop/Music/BT-Trainer (E)/Esther docs/Relationship & Marriage/www.bsafehome.com”www.bsafehome.com.
9. Finances – The temptation to “keep up with the Jones'” can become a terrible distraction in marriage. Accumulation of stuff and the need to have more just grows and grows. If one or both partners succumb to wanting more than the income can provide, this problem can grow to include debt and result in many more stresses and distractions to bombard your relationship.
Solutions: Devise a budget system that works for both of you. Work together to save money for things you want, need, would like to do, or have one day. Get help from a financial counselor if you need it.
10. Lack of Contentment – Too many couples just aren’t happy. Look around. Does the grass usually look greener at someone else’s house?
Solutions: What can you be grateful for? Can you choose to develop an attitude of gratitude? Have meetings with each other to discuss what is going well, what you are working on, or what is worrying you.
Determine to function like a team and help each other. Plan a family trip/mission trip doing something together to benefit others. It is amazing how working together to help others will improve your marriage relationship.
So, are there areas you need to work on so that your spouse will know you choose them above everything else?