Well, my sister recently moved away, and it was a bittersweet goodbye. On one level it’s just plain sad. She is fantastic not only as a sister, but as a sister-in-Christ, so there is a real sense of loss not having her nearby. But the “sweet” part of the “bittersweet” is the fact that she’s going to be on the front lines of a church plant. And that is exciting!
However, this is not really a blog post about my sister’s departure (though I do greatly miss her!)
Instead, her move got me thinking about relationships. First of all, the value of prioritizing relationships (because the move of someone you love reminds you how important people are).
On the other hand, I remembered how loosely we should hold on to the people we love. God moves people in all types of directions for all types of reasons. This month I said goodbye to my sister, on a different day I may say goodbye to a close friend, and one day I might say goodbye to a grown child. Goodbyes are possible in just about every relationship….that is, except one.
While goodbye’s will come, there is a particular relationship in which this should not be the case. I started reflecting on this fact when a sad goodbye to my sister was followed by my husband’s sweet playful words, “Don’t worry, I won’t move away.” As obvious as his comfort was, how true it is: Marriage is the only relationship in which we can confidently say God does not want a husband and wife to ever leave each other.
Unless God allows separation by death, marriage is meant to be a no-goodbye’s-allowed type of relationship. And whether or not that feels like good news to you, this unique aspect of marriage carries some interesting implications.
The Priority of Marriage
While we can’t hold tight to most relationships, the Bible commands us to hold tightly to our spouse. Genesis 2:24 says:
Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.
To hold fast is literally “to be glued to”! In other words, we should never hold the relationship with our husband loosely! Quite the opposite. We should see our marriage as the most long-term relationship we have. We should work to remain close (physically, relationally, emotionally, you name it) for as long as we both shall live. Our marriage is the most important human relationship we have.
When we said our vows, “for better or for worse,” we were undoubtedly ready to “hold fast” to our man. It was a promise we willingly made. But I wonder if our commitment has become fuzzy. Do we truly act like our spouse is the only one we should be “glued” to?
The Subtle Priority Thief
Many many many things can get in the way of valuing marriage as you should. Life’s stresses can distract you, the sins of your spouse may distance you, your own sin may detour you, bitterness can derail you, just to name a few.
But there’s one sneaky culprit that steals our hearts more than any other: Our children. No doubt children are a blessing from the Lord (Psalm 127:3), and they should be a major priority in our lives. But without much effort, children can steal the place of #1 in our hearts. We so quickly end up “holding fast” to our kids while putting our spouse on the back burner.
So if you are a wife and a mother, make sure it’s in that order. Make sure you recognize your husband is the one you are to be glued to. Make certain he holds the place of #1.
Test Your Glue
Whether it be kids or something else that competes for your attention, make every effort to hold fast to your husband. Test your “glue” if you will.
Make sure your husband is a priority …
In your thoughts.
This is where it all starts. We need to remind ourselves that our spouse is the one person we are supposed to stay close to until separated by death. We need to correct any thinking that has led us to over-prioritize other relationships.
Your prayer life may provide a quick litmus test. Is your husband a priority in your prayers? He may not “need” your prayers like other people seem to, but he should be the one you pray for most consistently.
In your heart.
If your husband remains a priority in your thoughts, in all likelihood, the “heart” will follow. But you can choose to make him a priority by intentionally giving him affection (more than you do your kids or your dog). Show him love with your kindness, your touch, and with a warm demeanor.
You can also make him a priority by dating him. Spend alone time together, have fun together, pursue some romance. Do what you need to do to increase your love for your husband.
With your time.
There are lots of people who want your time, but don’t let them crowd out the attention you give your husband. Consider how you spend your hours and minutes – does your time reflect an attempt to make your husband your priority?
On a daily basis make your husband a top priority. This means different things to different marriages, but whatever it means to yours — do it.
Unless via death (or an unfortunate situation involving sin—see Matthew 19:6-9), you shouldn’t have a goodbye to remind you how important your husband is to you. There should be no goodbyes. And that’s a good thing. Our marriages are special, important, and involve a unique permanent kind of life partnership. Thus your spouse is worth investing in — more than any other person in your life.
So let’s do that – let’s invest! Start with making sure you know your marriage is your most important relationship, above every other one! Then give your husband your time and give him your heart. Put thoughtful effort into “glueing” yourself to him!