Every morning, I feel like I have to make several choices. Do I help my husband get ready (since he has a long commute to work), or do what I need to do to get ready for work on time? Do I iron my husband’s shirt, or work out? Do I make us breakfast and lunch, or do I work on a blog post while he cooks the food? Do I fill up his water bottle, or do I wash the dishes?
The word priority has changed over the last couple of years. It used to mean the most important thing, but now, it can be made plural. When it comes to balancing your marriage, your free time, your kids’ schedules, and your other obligations, it seems like there are multiple priorities. I mean, which one could you really put first before the others?
When we’re single, our priority is to look out for ourselves, or maybe even to look out for a friend or family member. Once we get married, it seems that our priority shifts to making sure our spouses are healthy, happy, and at peace. However, those other important people in our lives don’t go away; we just have to learn how much of a priority to give our spouses.
I believe the story of Mary and Martha (Luke 10:38-42) pertains to this idea of choosing our priority. One day, Martha invited Jesus over to her house. Since hospitality was important (a priority) in the culture where Jesus chose to have His ministry, Martha was focused on making sure everything was perfect for Jesus’s stay. Her sister Mary, however, did nothing to help her sister get ready. In fact, she was listening to Jesus, which was important (a priority).
What Martha was doing wasn’t wrong. She was doing what was expected from her in the culture, and although it’s not explicitly mentioned in the text, I’d like to believe that Martha was busy preparing because her priority was making Jesus comfortable and well fed in a clean home. Nevertheless, Jesus admonishes her for not choosing what is better. What was important (her priority), in that moment, should have been listening to Jesus, the Great Teacher.
We have a lot going on in our lives. During this past school year, we had plans every single day. It was exhausting! From work, to ministries, to family parties, to small groups…we didn’t have room to breathe. Now that it’s the summer (and we’ve made some changes to our schedules), we have more down time, but before that, we literally had to choose what was most important (the priority) in each moment. Especially since money, and not only time, is also a priority for us now, because we are saving up for a house.
So, our questions were:
Do we save gas and food money, or do we visit a friend who we haven’t seen in months?
Do we have a date night, or do we clean the apartment?
Do we go to our small group, or do we have a date night?
Do we sit in traffic to go visit a relative that lives a twenty miles away, or do we go to bed early?
There was no wrong answer to each of those questions, but there was always a better choice. If my husband chose to work overtime while I wanted to spend time with him, I would have grown resentful, and his choice to work would not have been the better choice. If I chose to clean the house instead of helping my husband get ready, he would have been late to work and angry, so my choice to clean would not have been the better choice. It’s not always going to be a clear-cut correct choice, but when you have one priority, making the choice of what is better is definitely easier. Our priority, overall, was that we made the decision together.
I believe that, although we have multiple people and tasks that are important to us, ultimately, we have an overarching priority that encompasses them all. For me, my priority is obeying God and showing His love to others. Ephesians 5:22 calls me to submit to my husband as I submit to the Lord. The way I submit to my husband reflects how I submit to God. Men are also called to love their wives as Christ loved the church, so my husband’s love for me is a reflection of his love for God.
Think about the priority of your life. Does your schedule reflect that? Are you truly doing what you want to do? Choose today what is better.