I recently heard from a man who is struggling to find time to be with his wife. In addition to his job, and her being a full-time mother and housewife, they serve a great deal at their church. They’re both frustrated at how little time they have together.
I hear this often and see it even more. Some see the problem, some do not. Sometimes one spouse sees it as a problem, while the other does not. Maybe they both see the problem, but neither of them has any idea how to make a change.
The only answer is to do less; probably a lot less. The problem is figuring out what to stop doing. The reality is you’re going to upset people – accept that and move on. People being upset is far less important than your marriage. Likewise, most of what you are doing is less important than your marriage. I would argue most (all?) of what you do for your church, or any other ministry, is less important than your marriage. Damaging or destroying your marriage in the name of serving the Lord is wrong and completely contrary to what the Bible says.
You and your wife will have to figure out what to cut out, but here are a few common things that eat time:
- Church activities: I am all about being in a church and being active, but if you feel you must attend more than two church events a week, I suggest you rethink.
- Ministry: I’ve been doing marriage ministry for over sixteen years, but if it regularly hurt or limited my marriage, I would walk away. There are, or should be, different seasons of ministry. When your life is otherwise crammed full you may need to limit the ministry you do.
- Children’s activities: Sports, dance, music lessons, extracurricular school activities, clubs and so on are good, and I think children need some of these to become healthy, well-rounded adults. However, these events can easily become so many they hurt the marriage, the family, and even the children. Several recent studies have found that most children are too busy and it is hurting their minds and their bodies.
- Recreation, clubs, sports, and so on: Again, you and your wife need some of this to be healthy, but not at the expense of your marriage. Things you do together are usually less of a problem since you are together, but you also need time for just the two of you.
- Social Media, games, surfing the web, television et. al.: You know I’m not against these things, but if a person spends several hours a day doing these then says they are “too busy” for their spouse, something’s wrong.
- Work: I know, I know, you have to pay your bills. Most of us are spending far more money than necessary to have a good, healthy life. Nothing wrong with that, unless it means we have to work an extra job or a lot of over time. For example, having a boat for family fun on the weekends is great, but if the kids only see dad on the weekends because he is always working to pay for the families’ toys and lifestyle choices, is the boat really a good choice?
I realise I’ve stepped on some toes here, but if you’re doing some of these and can’t find time for your wife I think someone needs to step on your toes. Your marriage is extremely important, and you should be ready to cut lose just about anything to keep it healthy.
If lack of time is an issue for you and/or your wife, I strongly recommend the book Margin: Restoring Emotional, Physical, Financial, and Time Reserves to Overloaded Lives. You can read my review of the book here. This book could save your marriage, or even your life!