Balancing Marriage and Work Priorities

It was a sunny Spring Saturday afternoon. I had been at the office all morning working against a pressing deadline on an upcoming presentation. I had come home for a break. and after visiting for a while with my wife, Sue I started to go back to my office when Sue stopped me. She asked me a question – for the umpteenth time, “Do you think you’ll have a chance today to install that new water filter we got at Christmas (it was now mid-March)? Knowing that I had been very busy, I thought surely she would understand that I would get to it just as soon as I could get caught up on my work priorities.

“Don’t you have any idea how busy I have been these last few weeks?” I defensively appealed to her sympathy,  “You know I have to weigh all of my responsibilities and then do the things I think are most important. I’ll install that water filter, but I just haven’t had the time to even think about it.”  She calmly replied “We’re always teaching about family priorities – and this is one of our family priorities. She didn’t back down. So, when do you think you’ll have time?”

I couldn’t believe my ears. “Everybody wants a piece of me,” I thought. “Life’s not fair. Why do I have to put up with this? All of this, over a measly water filter,” I said in self-pity. “I can’t believe you would make such a big deal like this over a piddling water filter.”

Well, as you can imagine, things just went downhill from there and it took about two hours to resolve our conflict and patch things up. As a peace offering, I not only installed the water filter but managed to do several other chores that needed doing as well.

Balancing priorities is difficult, and sadly we often become blinded to the needs of those closest to us. Yes, I had been busy with important activities. But was I so busy that I needed to wait three months before spending 30 minutes to install a water filter? I realized that I was absorbed in my work and had gotten out of balance with my work and love life. That’s easy for us men to do.

On the one hand, husbands need their wives to be understanding about the anxiety caused by those “honey-do” chores. I’m sure that some men enjoy working around the house, but these men shouldn’t be held up as the standard by which all husbands are measured. Wives need to be understanding of their husband’s capabilities. I have trouble installing a light bulb.

On the other hand, husbands need to be discerning in their responsibilities as husbands. God commands us men: “love your wives even as Christ loved the church.” He didn’t command us to “love our work” did He? No, He created us and knows that we men are inclined to be work and task-oriented and that we don’t just naturally gravitate toward prioritizing our wives. So He admonishes us men to be servant-leaders in our homes and to love our wives as Christ loved the church.

And how has Christ loved us? Sacrificially, by denying himself and living for others. He even sacrificed His life by dying for us. We are His top priority. And as husbands, we should follow His example. The only way for a husband to love his wife is to make her his top priority, after God, but before all else.

So Husband, what is your top priority? Is it your wife? Or is it your work? A consuming career is no excuse for shortchanging our wife, our family – or any family priorities for that matter. If simple chores are left undone, it may also be that more important matters like weekly date nights and spending time with children are being left undone too.

If you have made your wife at the top of your list of priorities, then you are to be commended. If not, what changes do you need to make? Pray now and ask God to forgive you and help you love your wife sacrificially and make her your top priority.

Husbands love their wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it.  Ephesians 5:25