Jimmy Evans on When Misplaced Priorities Get in the Way of a Good Marriage

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Early in my marriage, I was reading the 2nd chapter of Genesis. It describes Adam and Even in the Garden. I had read it many times, but this time God helped me understand it in the context of marriage. He used it to bring my marriage back from the brink of divorce.

In Genesis 2:24-25, God speaks His first words about marriage. I call these the “four laws of love.” They are guidelines God gives about marriage. When we follow them, the success of this relationship at the center of civilization is all but guaranteed.

The very first law in this passage is what I call the Law of Priority. It’s one that trips up many of the thousands of couples I’ve counseled over the years. We see the prominence of priority in the first part of Genesis 2:25 — “a man shall leave his father and mother.”

Before marriage, the highest commitment and devotion in a person’s life is to their parents. This changes at the altar. God designed marriage to operate as the most important human relationship in our lives, second in priority only to our relationship with Him.

Look at any problem that may exist in your own marriage and it won’t take long to see that those issues stem from misplaced priorities. If we prioritize any other human relationship or interest above our spouse, our marriage will struggle.

To see how it happens, think back to the beginning of your relationship. When a couple starts dating or begins to fall in love, they pay close attention to the relationship. They spend time with each other regularly. They sacrifice to meet each other’s needs. They defend the relationship against competing demands.

Once engaged, this continues up to the wedding. They spend time together and focus attention on each other. The honeymoon is wonderful. After tying the knot, the excitement of a new living situation keeps things going — especially for a younger couple. If problems arise, the husband and wife work together to communicate and find solutions.

Within a few years, though, a couple of different things happen. One or both spouses gain more responsibilities at work. Their careers progress. And within a few years, the couple begins to have children. According to research, the shift from childless newlyweds to parenthood is when the satisfaction level of a marriage begins to drop significantly.

At this stage, early problems may be ignored or masked. It’s easy to let those things slide because both parents are busy at work — or because both are focused on a baby. These problems aren’t solved. They are simply pushed aside. Unaddressed, they begin to magnify. Dissatisfaction or frustration start to fester.

Even if both parents work, the differences between men and women at this stage are very real. Women are instinctively nurturing. A new mother will pour her attention into caring for the child. Men instinctively want to be providers, and a husband will give more attention into his career.

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SOURCE: Christian Post, Jimmy Evans