Edric and I seem to get busier year after year, but one thing I appreciate about him is that he prioritizes me. If I were to tell him that I needed him, not in a crying-wolf sort of way, but genuinely and sincerely, he would drop everything for me.
The past two weeks were spent traveling, speaking, counseling and meeting with people about various issues, plus a section of the rip-rap of our house collapsed. By Tuesday afternoon, I didn’t want to attend another event. I just wanted to go home.
It takes me a while to get to this point of emotional and spiritual exhaustion. However, people issues can quickly do this to me. As much as I enjoy dealing with people and seeing God transform their lives, there are periods when it’s deeply discouraging, too.
For example, when I can’t force people to make the right choices (although I sometimes wish mind-control was a super power I possessed), and I see them make decisions that are against God’s will, it saddens and frustrates me. I have to wait on the Lord to speak to them and bring conviction to their hearts. In the meantime, it wearies me when people stew in their wrong emotions instead of actively pursuing God-honoring solutions or listening to biblical advice.
Yet this is what ministry is all about, patiently dealing with the messiness of imperfect people (myself included, of course), and pointing each other to God’s love and grace so that we might all be radically changed by it.
Compared to what church leaders have to contend with, I think that I’ve been exposed to the softer side of the battle. When I think of what my parents have to contend with on a daily basis as they shepherd a mega church, I know that my own dealings with people issues are quite minor. Nevertheless, it’s important that I seek out ways to recharge.
First, when I start to feel burdened and anxious, I return to my anchor – Jesus Christ. Prayer, filling my mind with His truth, and recognizing that He is present takes my focus off people and onto Him. As Hebrews 12:2 puts it, we need to keep “fixing your (our) eyes on Jesus, the author and perfector of faith…”
Second, I’m thankful to God that I have my husband, Edric, to turn to. Whether it’s holding my hand, embracing me, praying with me and for me, offering words of comfort, or helping me to have the right perspective, he brings much needed calm to my spirit.
I can’t run away from the storms that come with the terrain of ministry, and I know I can’t run away from people because God’s Word tells me to love people, even when they display themselves as unlovable. But sometimes, I just need a break.
That Tuesday afternoon, before we were supposed to attend another ministry event, I expressed to Edric how tired I was. At first, he gently attempted to convince me to go to it. In fact, I was dressed for it as I sat in his office waiting for him to finish up with work. However, as he listened to me and took in the sight of my demeanor and posture, he sensed that I wasn’t alright.
So he reassuringly said, “I’ll take care of you.” Then he called in his assistant to inform her that we would be passing on the dinner affair. He requested that she ask if we could get out of our commitment to the person who invited us, and to send our apologies.
His sensitivity to recognize that I was running on empty meant a great deal to me. His consideration spelled L-O-V-E. Even if it was important for us to be at the gathering, he knew that ministry to me, as his wife, took precedence. When we got home, I went to bed a little past 7:30 and slept for about 12 hours!
Edric and I aren’t the type to beg off from a ministry activity we’ve said yes to so this incident was an exception rather than the norm. Lest this be interpreted as an example of why it’s okay to break commitments to people when your spouse needs you, this isn’t what I intended by this entry.
Indeed, there may be occasions when this may be necessary, but the point I’m trying to make is that prioritizing one’s spouse is one way we can affirm our love for them.
Sometimes it’s putting the gadgets away and out of reach when you are having a conversation with your husband or wife so you can give them your full attention. Or…
It’s letting go of a habit or activity that takes time away from your spouse…
It’s going on that much needed date night so you can be together, just the two of you, and leaving the kids at home…
It’s avoiding a course of action that you know will wound your spouse…
It’s honoring your vow to stay pure and keep the marriage bed holy…
It’s taking the time to listen to your spouse’s feelings even when you would rather do something else or be somewhere else…
It’s taking your spouse’s call while you are in the middle of a meeting…
It’s doing your best to resolve a conflict between the two of you because you know that lingering in the hurt isn’t healthy for your marriage…
It’s purposefully praying for one another…
It’s keeping your promise about something you told your spouse you would get done for him or her…
It’s speaking your spouse’s love language whether it be words of affirmation, gifts, time, acts of service, or affection…
It’s seeking to meet their heartfelt needs even if it requires sacrifice from you…
I don’t know what giving your spouse priority might mean in your marriage, but I do believe it’s one of the most convincing ways to communicate, “I love you.” Bold and grand gestures of devotion are great, but there’s nothing that can top the consistency of letting your spouse know every single day that they are the important, that second to the Lord, they have priority over your earthly relationships and pursuits.
Many things in our lives will scream IMPORTANT, so let us pray for the wisdom to sift through the things that demand our attention and ask, which ones will destroy our relationship with God, our marriage and family if we neglect them or engage in them?
I don’t know who Brandon Sanderson is but he said something very insightful: “The mark of a great man is one who knows when to set aside the important things in order to accomplish the vital ones.” If we want to have a good, solid marriage (and even a romantic one), we must recognise it as a vital thing and commit to treat it that way EVERY DAY.
13 thoughts on “Give Priority to Your Spouse”
That word- “I’ll take care of you”. 🙂 So sweet, I pray to have a husband like him.
God bless you both Ms. Joy.
This is so inspiring. I am a student and aside from commitments in school and at home, I also have ministry commitments in church. There were times when I just wanted to leave and get out of the load of commitments that I’ve put myself into. I guess another thing I learned was to choose the commitments that will not deprioritize my family and my studies. I realized I got burned-out from ministry work and ended up not giving my 100% and worse I became weak spiritually. Praise God for you, Ms. Joy. 🙂 This is a great reminder.
You are welcome. Thanks for sharing where you are at to! I am so glad you were able to connect this post with your own situation 🙂
Thank you so much for this post Joy.Your words are so inspiring and very insightful. I’ve learned so many things from your story.Thank you for always sharing.God bless you indeed.????
Beautiful and inspiring. Thank you Ms. Joy!
God Bless you and your family!
Thank you for this encouraging article. I hope to read more of this in the future, i cannot pour out what i feel right now, still praying that our communication with my spouse will improve. Thanks.
You can also message me on my FB teach with joy so it’s more private for you 🙂
Right now I’m wallowing in hurt and self pity. My husband and I are new Christians. Well He is, I met the Lord when I was only 15 years old but my walk with Him happened last year at the age of 35. Just like any other couple, we have our ups and downs. But mostly, its down. I feel like the happy times are only fleeting moments because anytime we will get into one of our arguments. One of us will erupt and a full blown fight will happen. Please don’t get me wrong, my husband is a good man, and he is trying his best to get to know Christ. But as a baby Christian, he lacks knowledge on how to treat your wife in a manner pleasing to God. I am no stellar wife myself, and I am still struggling with the idea of submitting to my husband. I have tried my best though because this is what God has commanded and we must obey. But we both fail miserably, every single time. Our relationship has dwindled to a point where resentment is overpowering the love that we have for each other and that’s not good not just because our marriage has suffered but it has also greatly affected our children. What I cannot take most of all is the name-calling and the finger pointing. I don’t know how to explain all of this in just one post but I’ve already prayed that God will give me a heart that will forgive and at the same time, more humility. I have no problem admitting and owning up to my mistakes, I am at fault too. There is no denying that. I pray as well that my husband will be guided by the spirit so that we are at least on the same plain. Thanks for your article. It made me happy that someday, maybe through God’s grace, we will also have the kind of martiage that you have. One that is rooted in Jesus Christ.
Hi Mrs. C thanks for sharing your heart with me. Keep praying for your husband. Fast and pray if necessary. His heart is not beyond God’s reach and God wants you both to experience marriage as he designed it. Don’t lose heart. But on a practical note, maybe you want to consider attending a retreat for couples, too?
Hi Joy! Thank you for your reply. I enjoy reading your posts and at the same time, they are truly inspiring. As of now, my husband and I are doing pretty well. I wrote my comment to you when I was extemely emotional and very angry (quite obviously), but since our last fight, I think God made me realize that only through complete submission, to Him and to my husband, will I achieve peace. I noticed in the past that everytime I tried to get my way or manipulate any situation in our marriage, iit always turns out bad. It took me awhile to realize it but accepting that we are to submit to our husband is our Lord’s commandment and I must obey. It does not make me lesser as a person and as a woman. When I accepted this, it became easier for me (and to my husband). We are ok now. I think my husband is beginning to notice the changes too (I hope). I trust in our Lord, I know that through Jesus, he will work on both of us, I do not need to worry about my husband, I only need to pray for him to be guided in his choices because as our authority here on earth, he needs to make the right ones according to God’s will because his downfall will be our entire family’s downfall. I love my husband but I love God more and through Him, our marriage will heal (I think He has been working on it for quite some time now). I am sure we will be ok. Thank you again and sorry for the long post. Continue glorifying our Lord Jesus through your family. God bless!
A note to me as a wife ☺. Thanks Joy. May we be sensitive to our spouse needs. May God guide and give us strength always and able to carry our roles with love and passion.
My ways of giving him priority may start early like, I make it a point to wake up 1 or 2 hours ahead before my husband leave to work, just like if he will be fetch for work at around 4 am, I need to wake up 3am to prepare meal, his things and a huge hug and gentle kiss and bye bye wave at the door before he steps out of our door. Funny and sweet gesture ????But it made him happy, and made me happy too ????
my husband abandoned us (me & our 2 kids) last year for his mistress…now im the sole provider of my kids..
That’s so sad. I am so sorry to hear that. May God speak to him and make him realize he is making a tremendous mistake that will destroy himself and his family. May God protect you and uphold you and keep you and your kids from the consequence of his choice. And may your husband be miserable as he chooses to live this way. May this misery drive him to the heart of Christ.