Thursday, December 16, 2010

Sacrificially Loving Your Spouse: Part 3: Your Time

My husband likes it when I give him my time.  I know this because when I don't, well, conflict comes along.  With Christmas crazy schedules, I haven't given him as much time as I should, and I know I need to pull him aside and ask for forgiveness and some grace.  How about your spouse?  What happens to your marriage when you don't make an effort to spend time with or for your spouse?  In this post, we'll chat about different ways to bless our spouse with our time.

Let’s look back at the example of our Excellent Wife in Proverbs 31. What does she do with her time? Well, she works for the good of others. She is up early (verse 15) and then stays up late still working (verse 18). We find that she seeks work to do and does it willingly (verse 13) and she is not idle or lazy. (verse 27) In an age where we have many distractions to pull us away from laboring for our family and, ultimately, for God, what is getting in your way?

You see, how we spend our time speaks volumes as to what we value. How many of you ask your husband daily, “How can I help you today? Is there anything I can do in my free time that would be helpful to you?” You are thinking, “What free time?” We have it ladies. If you are on Facebook, calling someone on the phone, watching any TV or reading anything for pleasure (such as blogs--ouch!), you have freetime.

Do you ask your husband if he wants you to attend a girls night out or even a ministry evening before you say yes? How you spend your time affects him, and you should prefer him when choosing your schedule.

Do you take time to thoughtfully plan how you can honor your husband? Like this excellent wife, do you get up earlier than you need to in the morning so you can make him breakfast or pack his lunch? Do you take the time to do laundry before he asks so his favorite shirt or uniform he might need is washed and ready? Do you ever take the time to plan date nights or nights away?  Organize a sitter, be creative and put time into making a nice evening for your spouse. My spouse and I take turns every other month planning the dates and scheduling a sitter.  It really makes the job of planning date nights easier and joyful when you can share in the workload part of it.  Once you are on the datenight, isn't it the best!? 

Do you simply take the time to tell your spouse you love him and are thankful for him?

Take a moment of your time to write down all the ways you have seen your spouse make efforts for your family and for you. Write it on a card and give it to him. Be specific and full of gratitude.

My husband and I get away once a year (again putting aside time) and make goals spiritually, maritally, financially, personally and as parents. Part of this process is telling our spouse what they have done well and what areas we see as opportunities for growth. One year at this goal session, Ryan asked me to not talk on the phone when I am in the car with him driving somewhere. You see, I was spending my “freetime” with Ryan catching up on my to do list and speaking to other people rather than conversing with and investing in my husband. I didn’t even realize this was a pattern of behavior for me, but I took notice and did what he asked.

When your spouse is talking to you, don’t divide your time between him and facebook, texting, TV, kids or the computer. Give your spouse your full attention. Show him you prefer him above all other worldly relationships and distractions with your time. I encourage you to ask your spouse how he feels about how you are spending your time. Have him pray and think about it and then come together to discuss what areas need improvement.  Let God work in your heart and your marriage.  It might not feel pleasant to be sanctified in this area, but it will be a pursuit of holiness well worth the pruning.

Our next post in this series will discuss how we can sacrificially love our spouse with our actions.

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