It is easy to get entangled with many things that demand our attention and forget our priorities. It is easy to follow our passions and things that excite us. After all they make us happy. It’s not easy to ignore them. At time we get twisted teaching that are given out with another agenda. In this section we look at how our priorities in marriage should be structured. This is how it should be, God first, your spouse second, your children third, your parents fourth, and others including other people, work, church etc fifth. Let look at this further.
God has the supreme priority. He gets the first share of your time, relationship and income (tithe). You are to obey Him always and walk with Him daily. After all you belong to him. You do not belong to your boss, your church or your pastor. This share is not ministry. It is about walking with God and developing a relationship with Him.
Your spouse gets the second priority. He or she gets the second share of your time, relationship and income in fact he or she owns half of your possessions. You have to serve him or her first before your children, parents, siblings or pastor. Actually, before God you and your spouse are one person.
Your children are in third position after your husband or wife. Your children have one father and one mother by divine appointment, so be there for them. Serve your children before everyone else. Spend quality time with them, parent them and do not delegate your parenting responsibility to television shows or the maid. Do not neglect them.
At fourth position are your parents. Regardless of circumstance we ought to respect them. Ephesian 6:2-3 [AMP] says, ‘Honor (esteem and value as precious) your father and your mother–this is the first commandment with a promise. That all may be well with you and that you may live long on the earth.’ Note that your parents include your parents’ in-law. Treat them as you would treat your own parents because they are [Deut 5:16].
On fifth position is everyone else; siblings, cousins, aunts, church mates, colleagues, friends, etc. When one is single their priorities are different. God remains number one, parents are number two and siblings and everyone else are number three. However when one marries and has children, parents move down from number two to number four, and siblings move down from number three to number five. A lack of understanding of the changes in priorities when one marries and has children can result in parents and siblings competing for attention with your spouse and children, causing animosity. Instead of your siblings interfering with your spouse and children, they must focus on their own spouses and children. Their priorities have also changed.
The same priorities apply during prayer. When praying, you pray for your spouse first before anything else, then your children, then your parents and then everyone else. Your spouse, children and parents must receive more prayers than anything else. When blessing, you bless your spouse first, then your children and then your parents, in that order, before anyone else [Ephesians 5:20-33].
Before you buy your pastor a gift, buy something for your spouse, your children and your parents first. This is what brings a ‘sustainable’ blessing, a blessing that will last, a blessing that will not open a door for strife. If you put the church before your family, you may get blessed, only to lose it because of the curse that comes from your mixed priorities. The church belongs to God, not to you. The pastor works for God, not for you. On the other hand your family belongs to you. It is your primary responsibility by divine appointment. God takes care of his business, the church, and you should take care of yours, your family. When you take care of your family, God will bless you enough to be able take part in fulfilling Gods’ mandate in the church. The Bible refers to the church as God’s bride. You have your own spouse. God takes care of His, you should take care of yours.
Do not put the cart before the horse! ‘The blessing begins at home!’ This is a sustainable blessing, a blessing that makes rich and does not add sorry. It is passed from generation to generation. As you gather at church the combined blessing can do much more bigger things because there is combined faith and blessing [Matthew 18:19] but ‘Prayer begins at home. God put Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden as their home [Gen2:8]. It was a blessed home. There was no curse in Eden. This shows that our homes should be blessed. The primary place for experiencing God’s blessing is none other than our homes. We safe guard this by putting our marital priorities in divine order.
Again do not put your career or work before your spouse or family. It also brings a curse. If you neglect your spouse and prioritize your career you risk losing the extra money you get quicker than you get it. The promotion you get can easily turn into misery and a bondage.
God’s principal interest is to fellowship with you in prayer, not to meet your daily list of demands that you call your prayer list. Free will offering, gifts, church building funds etc comes later. He wants your heart.
Your second interest in life is your spouse’s interests; not your boss’s; friends or your work. Your spouse left everything for you. You! Not for your money or work. They gave up their identity for you. Hence you better be there for them. If you find yourself spending more time at work than with them, disaster will surely follow. Listen to the needs of your spouse, and meet those needs. Who will meet them if you do not? If the demand seems too big, then pray together about it. God normally intervenes. “If you and your spouse shall agree in prayer about anything, it will be granted!” [Matt 18:19]. The best team or agreement that can break any bondage or curse and cause overflow is a married couples’ prayer of agreement. That’s why the devil fights marriage.
Surprisingly you will find that each time you sacrifice these demands for your spouse or family, God blesses you. Each time you turn down some activity because of family demands, God will always compensate you.
You have two choices, either to go out sacrificing your spouse and family for your job or sport, working and toiling like an elephant but eating like an ant. Or you can choose your family and allow the blessing of God to work for you. Guys, obedience is better than sacrifice, because obedience is followed by the blessing. On the other hand sacrifice is associated with toiling! [1 Samuel 15:22, Deuteronomy 28:1-2].
Husbands and wives, hear me on this, rather agree with your ‘dull’ spouse and receive God’s blessing, than to argue and strife with an intelligent spouse and receive a curse. God works in a peaceful environment. It’s better to lose the argument with God on your side, than to win the argument without God. Losing the argument with God puts the power of God in charge of the situation, thereby bringing to pass what you originally desired. Remember winning the argument has nothing to do with strengthening your marriage, but purely a display of ego.
As you contemplate;
- What is the difference between a contract and a covenant?
- How are you showing this one-way, unconditional, covenantal love to your spouse?
This the final part of the Fifth and Final Episode of the Marriage Journals.
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