Thoughts and Excerpts on Priorities and Obligations

“And the wife is not the same as the virgin. The virgin gives her mind to the things of the Lord, so that she may be holy in body and in spirit: but the married woman takes thought for the things of the world, how she may give pleasure to her husband.” 1 Corinthians 7:34

Keeping this verse in mind, the following excerpts are from Dr. Laura’s book for wives, “The Proper Care & Feeding of Husbands.” I’m single. My body and spirit together belong to only One.. for now. I’m reading this book through for a few reasons.. one being, I want to one day be the best wife EVER, but I also believe that the marriage commitment is a parallel to the covenant commitment God made to me. So.. in reading, I’m constantly being reminded that these roles are already written on my heart, whether or not I submit myself to a husband one day. So anyway.. if you’re single, read this. If you’re married, I can only imagine you’ll want to read the whole book.. it makes so much sense and is so refreshing.

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Having [a] loving, attentive, playful connection with [your] husband reduce[s] stress by adding a dimension of shared joy. This is a point too many women miss when they complain about being drained by their husbands’ needs, or when they resent their husbands’ needs, or when they perceive themselves as being victimized by their lives.

Which brings me to my next point, which is that lives are constructed of choices. Unless lightning has struck your house (obviously out of your control), your life is constructed out of the building blocks of your choices, good ones as well as bad. The bad choices (self-centered, short-sighted, immature, or just plain stupid) can have unpleasant consequences to marriages.

There are only so many hours in a day and only so many things any of us can do and still do well. Prioritizing is a must. Without it–that is, without formally or informally listing in order of importance what is necessary and whit is negotiable–the important things tend to slip down on the list. Prioritizing is a moment-to-moment necessity, not just an issue of long-term planning.

Luke, a listener, wrote to me of a call he heard on my program that changed his immediate behavior. The caller had asked what she could do about her husband, who felt that he wasn’t the number one priority in her life. I quickly told her that she needed to make him the number one priority or, in essence, her marital vows were hollow.

Of course, she resisted, complaining about already having too many demands on her and this just made her life tougher. I commented on how self-centered a perspective that was and challenged her to imagine being on the receiving end of her behavior.

After hearing this, Luke wrote:

“I was thinking about how crazy it is to marry and then not enjoy it with your spouse. My wife and I have been married for just under a year, and I really enjoy the marriage. Then I began to reflect on what my weekend held, and you guessed it: I was about to neglect our ‘Friday Date Night’ in the name of studying for my college finals and my lesson preparation for my high-school teaching job. Well, my wife was still at work when I got home, so I got out the books and tried to get as much done as possible. When she walked in the door, I hugged her and told her to get ready because we were going out on the town that night.”

Luke admitted that he had been letting her slip on his priority list–and that it hadn’t even taken a year for him to become a meathead. He had justified this priority shuffling with the thought that he would put his wife at number one when he had more time. He ended his letter by thanking me for the lesson learned that no one is immune to occasional short-sightedness and faulty logic.

It is important to look again at what the logic was: that he would put her at number one when he had more time. What does that mean? That means that she was never to be number one unless there was nothing else on the list. When was that going to happen?

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If you decide that the most important thing about your life is your worker-ant role, you’ll likely feel drained a lot of the time and resent the obligations you have to your husband and children–obligations that, ironically, will save you from that feeling of being drained in the first place.

You are not loved, adored, and intimately needed at work. Check out all the competitive backbiting, layoffs, and computerization and mechanization substitutions for human beings going on in the work place. Meanwhile, you are a goddess to your children and a queen to your husband. Let’s see. Aside from the paycheck issue, which one is more nourishing and rewarding?

Now let me make something completely clear. I am not suggesting married women should not work. I am not suggesting that there is no valid form of personal expression of creativity and special gifts outside the home. Obviously, I have a radio and writing career. I just took up sailing. I love taking on challenges and doing service. But from day one, I have always made it clear to everyone, especially my husband and child, that if anything got in the way of family, it would get tempered or excised.

It’s one thing to have a tiring, stressful day–or even week. It’s another thing to allow outside activities, no matter how seemingly important, to routinely get in the way of obligations to the roles created by holy vows, moral obligations, and love.

From “The Proper Care & Feeding of Husbands” by Dr. Laura Schlessinger

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