A few years back, it seemed as though my ministry was taking off. A large number of speaking opportunities came my way, and the dates all worked out with my husband’s work schedule and with our family, so I was able to book them.
Meanwhile, the board I had just signed up for was in a busy season, and I had also started serving on our women’s ministry. In addition, I had also taken on the task of creating more content for courses I was teaching.
One night after returning home from yet another meeting for another ministry that I somehow hadn’t signed up for but was serving on, I walked in the door and was met with tension. My husband’s usual happy self was avoiding eye contact, his communication was sharp, and he was disengaged.
My initial response was frustration. After all, my commitments weren’t bad, they were good, I told myself. They were ministry! How could he be mad about that, I thought?
Thankfully, that night we sat down and had a serious conversation.
I was on a high from stepping into what my purpose was, and my husband was happy about that – but he wasn’t happy about how it was taking my best energy and time away from what mattered most outside of God – us.
So we talked through the things I could step away from immediately, and those I had committed to and which needed to be completed. We agreed that once those time commitments were over, I’d step off.
You see, the enemy loves to distract us with shiny things while our marriages are shutting down.
Sometimes even good things can ruin your marriage. Too much time at a job you love. Too many meals made for people in need. Too much time working out. Too much time with friends. Too many nights at bible study, and youth group, and serving at church. Too much time volunteering to coach or serve or be available. It’s not bad, unless it’s hurting your marriage.
If your marriage isn’t in a season where both you and your husband would say it’s great – then it’s very likely your schedules need to realign with what you say your priorities are. Our culture of busy is breaking down marriages and no one seems to be noticing or doing anything about it.
If you haven’t first poured into your marriage, then whatever else you’re giving your energy to isn’t worth it. Don’t let any other ministry or task be more important than your main ministry of marriage. Please hear me – nothing is more important than your marriage. Nothing.
How does life look today? How can it look for you?
Now, I’m laser focused on how God is asking me to play a part in His mission. I serve at A Wife Like Me and lead the marriage ministry at our church with my husband. My husband and I talk through each engagement and pray over them before committing. I only schedule appointments or interviews during my set business hours to protect our family time.
Be fiercely and ruthlessly focused on what God is calling you to – not on all you could do.
In addition, I’m consistently praying to be alert for anything that wants to distract me from my husband – good or bad. One time it was furniture store sale 4 hours away (which would’ve required me to leave immediately after he returned from work and had been gone for a week). One time it was the fear of missing out on a local women’s gathering (when I had already been gone a few nights that week). And one time, it was a request for an interview about our marriage that required this person to interview my husband and I…separately.
There’s nothing wrong with these things, but we should proactively be thinking through how each opportunity might potentially affect our marriage.
We’ve got to be women who know the seriousness of the enemies lies and schemes and who fight to be ready and on guard for any attack – because they’ll come. “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” 1 Peter 5:8
Need help knowing what to say “yes” or “no” to?
Here are a few simple questions to reflect on. If you answer “no” to any of these, then you know your answer is “no” to the opportunity/event.
Have my husband and I connected lately, alone?
Do my husband and I each feel ‘full’ of each other?
Is our marriage in a strong and healthy place?
Hint – these might require you to ask your husband.
Friend, if you call yourself a Christian, and you are married, then the enemy isn’t wasting any time with you. The devil is out to get you, destroy you, your marriage and your family, and try to convince you to think it’s your husband’s fault. Let us not be fooled, and let’s instead become experts in protecting our marriages.
Wife Step: Take time now with God, asking him to reveal any ways your commitments need adjusting. Then, ask your husband if he feels your schedule or level of commitments outside of your marriage needs any adjustment. Share with him if you’d like to see his adjust at all. Remain open to his thoughts and refrain from being defensive.
What about you? How do you protect your marriage?
Amanda Davison is on a mission to share how her education in counseling and God’s word changed her life and marriage. Her goal is to transform marriages through the hearts of wives by inspiring wives to live convinced of God’s love and love others from this awesome overflow. She is The Wife Coach, Founder of A Wife Like Me, a Speaker, and Author. She works as the Director of Assimilations at The Naz church in Fergus Falls, MN, where her and her husband lead the Marriage Mentor Team. Her favorite ministry is inside her home where she is the wife to a farmer and mom to three.