Couples Devotional: Choices, Choices

“I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial. —1 Corinthians 6:12a

For about the first month of my marriage, I made the same mistake every night: I came home late for dinner.

My wife, Cathy, was (and still is) very patient. During our first weeks of marriage, she would call me in the afternoon and ask about my arrival time and dinner desires. She was always cheerful and flexible and didn’t mandate a time to be home. I was always given the chance to pick the time. Typically, I’d say something like, “I’ll be home at 6, so why don’t we eat at 6:30?”

Things would have gone really well had I arrived home at 6 p.m. like I told Cathy I would. Instead, as I was leaving the church office I’d get a phone call from a student who wanted me to drop by his house and see his new drum set. “What a great ministry opportunity!” I’d think to myself, “And it’s on the way home.” Or, as I was preparing to leave the office, a parent would stop by and ask if I had “just a minute.”

Anyway, all of these distractions captured my attention and I was always late coming home. But, I really didn’t think it was a big deal since Cathy was asking me what time was convenient for me. It seemed to be no big deal because I could justify all the extra time as part of my youth pastor job.

One night while we were having dinner, I politely asked, “Do you mind if I heat this up in the microwave for a minute?” Little did I know that a simple question could lead to tears, screaming and words I hadn’t heard her say before (to this day I still believe she may have been speaking in tongues) and a quick exit from the table. I thought, “What was that all about?”

It became clear to me that it wasn’t about my question; it was about my nightly decisions to make everything and everyone in my youth ministry more important than my bride. I wish I wasn’t so stupid then, but I’m thankful that I learned at an early age that some things (ministry add-ons) just aren’t as important as other things (my marriage).

So while busyness in the pursuit of doing good things is often worn as a badge of honor, unfortunately, behind that badge we typically find a damaged spiritual life, a damaged marriage and family life, and a damaged career. Just because you’re busy doesn’t mean you’re exempt from the consequences that typically follow an unrelenting lifestyle of busyness.

God has given you the privilege to conduct your own life. You have the freedom to make choices that can lead to God’s blessing and favor, as well as painful consequences. Today, take a look inside to make sure your choices align with your priorities. Don’t just prioritize your schedule. Choose and schedule those things that matter most.

Spend some time discussing how you both have seen busyness in your lives detract from your marriage.

Together, discuss what changes you and your spouse are willing to make in your schedules so that your choices better reflect the priority of and commitment to your marriage.

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Doug Fields

Doug Fields is the senior director of HomeWord. He speaks to thousands of leaders, teenagers and parents each year. He’s also the author/co-author of 50+ books including: Parenting in a Screen Saturated Culture; Intentional Parenting; 7 Ways to be Her Hero – the One Your Wife Has Been Waiting For; and To Have and To Hold. In addition to Doug’s speaking and writing, he is also the co-founder of and the youth pastor at Mariners Church. Doug has been married for more than 35 years to his wonderful wife Cathy, and they live near their 3 married children and 3 grandchildren in Southern California.

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