Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. – Colossians 3:12
We had another productive and provocative discussion this morning in the men’s group I attend. The general topic was giving the gift of “quality time” to our spouse. The guys at church are humble, genuine, and open-spirited. But for many men – especially those in high stress jobs focused on “right now” urgency and problem-solving – the investment of time at home is a big ask.
I would argue, however, that the earth has been rotating at this speed for eons, as well as making its elliptical orbit around the sun, and we all have the exact same amount of time in each and every day, week, and year: twenty-four, seven, three hundred sixty-five.
Additionally, we tend to rearrange our time to allow for the things that are important – or that we judge to be important. So maybe it’s time for some reordering and revaluing and reprioritizing?
I have time-sensitive reminders built into my calendar saying things like, “Pay mortgage,” “Write column for AllProDad,” and “Take Dad to the doctor.” Maybe the bank would be cool with a more spontaneous arrangement? – but I really don’t think so. Maybe my editor will send me a check even if I fail to do the work? – but I seriously doubt it. So why not be that deliberate in making time for our spouse?
If we say our marriage and family is/are the most important thing in the world, then why are we so haphazard in our investment? Have we not observed that when we are happy in our primary relationship everything else is coated with satisfaction and contentment too? Yet, day after day and year after year, husbands (and wives) rely on “winging it” when the straightforward investment of focused time and attention would essentially guarantee success.
What do we value?
All this goes back to “value.” I believe we are easily brainwashed to accept the lie that material wealth is the primary path to happiness. The truth turns out to be that people who invest energy, creativity, and deliberate intention into their family – plus their relationship with God, plus their faith community – report deep satisfaction in their lives regardless of just about any other factor.
How about this: We don’t have time not to be deliberate, intentional, creative, imaginative – dare I say disciplined – in our approach to being married. We can’t afford not to invest ourselves wholeheartedly into love and grace and kindness, and into selflessness.
Being happily married it turns out, is hard work. Which brings us back to the original conversation, and the observation that the investment of time really is a big ask. I guess it’s a question of how we assign value. Considering the fact that happiness and satisfaction migrate outward from our primary relationship, assigning appropriate value and resources to the person we are married with yields an undeniably positive cost-benefit analysis.
Of course, the influence of misery and frustration mimics that of happiness and satisfaction, so if that’s what you want then knock yourself out.
The men’s group I attend is commited to following Jesus in our relationships. And as we do, we’re discovering more and more that his way is that of humility, and kindness, and service, and self-giving love, and generosity, and mercy, and grace. You know, the Colossians 3:12 stuff…
Peace, and blessings on – and in – all your relationships – DEREK