Everyone talks about having balance in your life. It is extremely important and I do my best to strive for that balance. Have you ever put much thought into having balance in your marriage? It sounds a little strange, but let me explain.
Too much outward focus
The first, and most often talked about, way to be out of balance in your marriage is to spend too much time doing things outside of your marriage. You may the type of person who has very high ambition. I am very much like that. When I do things, I do them all out. This can be a good thing because I tend to get things done and do them reasonably well.
It can become a major problem if I pour too much time into these ambitions. An example would be youth ministry. Mandy and I both love working with youth at our church and helping them discover and grow a relationship with God. When we starting having children, Mandy had to cut that way back. I didn’t slow down much and, in fact, started doing more. When our second daughter, Brooke, was born I decided to take a month off from everything outside of work and home. This was a great idea and I highly recommend it. Husbands, your wife needs you at home during this time and she will be forever grateful! Anyway, when I started getting back into youth ministry activities, I dropped one or two of the regular activities. It was a great decision and I have never regretted putting more time and energy into my marriage.
Is there something that you put too much time into? Many people do this with work. Working 80 hours per week, week after week, is out of balance. Maybe it is a hobby. Playing golf every evening after work and then on Saturdays and Sundays is out of balance. One of the trickiest is ministry like I mentioned before. It is very easy to rationalize spending too much time in ministry because you are doing “God’s work”. I have to constantly remind myself that I have a vocation as a husband and father first, youth ministry second.
Too much inward focus
The other side of the coin is not often talked about. It, however, can certainly be just as dangerous. This side of the coin involves making your marriage the end all, be all of everything in your life. The dangerous part is that usually means putting your spouse on a pedestal. They will never be able to live up to your expectation. They are human, so they will eventually disappoint you. Once that happens, it can cause the marriage to unravel quickly because your illusion has been shattered.
It can also cause you to become very possessive and jealous. Do you know someone who is a very jealous person? It just doesn’t look good on them. They start acting very paranoid and it drives everyone in their life nuts. “He must be cheating on me?” “Why did she smile at THAT guy?” If trust breaks down, even if it is unreasonable, their is serious problems in the marriage. When you place all of your self-worth and purpose on one human being, you are setting yourself up for heartbreak.
Strive For Balance
Too much of anything can cause a problem. If you get married, but never act like it (as far as time spent on it goes), you are out of balance. If you have no mission or purpose in your life other than your marriage, you are out of balance. The key is to find a mission. Even better if you can find one together with your spouse. That way you are still working together, but are focusing on something/someone else. When you do find that mission (either individually or together), don’t let it run your life. You still need to find time to just hang out and be a couple.
How do you find (or plan to find) balance in your marriage?
As I was writing this post, it reminded me of the song American Dream by Casting Crowns. Enjoy it below: awesome song!