Oct 032017 1 Response

Sometimes Your Spouse Deserves Your Best

It sounds like horrible marriage advice, but it’s true–sometimes your spouse deserves your best. It sounds bad because it seems to imply that there are times when your spouse doesn’t deserve your best. Of course, those times do not exist. Yet there are many times in which that will be the case. No couple standing at the altar intoxicated by their euphoric love for one another would consider it, but everyday life simply does not allow us to give our absolute best to our spouses every single day.

We romanticize marriage to such an extent that we think a great marriage is built by continually giving our best to our spouse. It sounds great, but it’s not reality. The truth is that even in the best of marriage, your spouse is not always getting your best. (See: No Wonder You Don’t Love Each Other)

Some of it is seasonal:

  • a pregnancy full of sickness
  • an unusually busy time at work
  • dealing with an extended illness
  • the newborn years
  • caring for a sick parent
  • experiencing great grief

During these seasons, our spouses and our marriage will take a back seat. It doesn’t mean we love them less, it simply means that life demands we spend our time and energy in other places. In part, it’s because of the security of our love for one another that we feel the freedom to prioritize other things over our spouse.

There are seasons in life in which our spouses will take a back seat. Yet, a healthy marriage doesn’t even demand that we give our best to our spouse’s every day. Most jobs are from 8-5. A majority of our most productive hours in a week will be given, not to our spouse, but to our workplace. We will give our best to our employers not our spouses. After those hours are spent, we still have multiple expectations placed upon us to run a household, eat, exercise, take care of children, contribute to civic organizations, etc. Even on a daily basis, we cannot routinely give our absolute best to our spouses.

A healthy marriage is not built on two people giving each other their best at all times. They are built on a continuous ebb and flow as we attend to one another and then attend to all the other responsibilities which come our way.

Sometimes, however, we must give our spouse’s our best. While we can’t always give them our best, we must sometimes do so. They must have such importance in our lives that there are times in which they get the fullness of who we are. Before work responsibilities, children, hobbies, parents, church, civic organizations, or others, we must drop everything and give our all to our husband or wife. Failing to do so is failing to honor the institution of marriage, the vows we committed to one another, and the dignity of the one we call spouse.

Give Them Your Best

One of the simplest ways we can improve our marriage is to intentionally create more moments in which our spouses gets our absolute best.

Instead of communicating after all the responsibilities of the day are complete, create a time where you are energetic and engaged while speaking your spouse.

Instead of allowing your time with your spouse to be interrupted by a phone call, email, text message, or needy child, carve our times in which no one can reach you so that your full attention goes to your husband or wife.

Instead of sex always being at the end of the day when we are exhausted, give of yourself in a time where you are awake, energized, and the sun is out. (See: 7 Signs of a Satisfying Sex Life)

Sometimes your spouse deserves your best. It’s unrealistic to think you can give it to them all the time. Yet we can give our best far more often. The sad truth is that the spouse who often gets your leftovers will have emotionally left long before the marriage is over.

You must intentionally give your spouse your best. To the extent that we do this on a regular basis, our marriage can survive seasons where this is impossible. If your spouse feels valued, respected, and thoughtfully cared for, they can be very gracious when work or life demands much from you. However, when a husband or wife already feels taken advantage of or ignored, they will quickly grow bitter if a circumstance suddenly demands your time.

A Test for Your Best

Consider this simple test to see if you are giving enough time to your spouse:

If you received a phone call from work or family that meant for the next week you would be nearly unavailable for your spouse, by the end of that week would they have compassion upon you, bitterness toward you, or be generally apathetic?

If they would be apathetic, you have serious problems. Their love has likely grown dim and their hearts are dying. They might have already given up on the idea of having a good marriage.

If they would be bitter toward you, you have problems. The bitterness is a sign they still desire your attention–that’s good. Yet the negative emotions reveals they do not feel valued or respected. They need more from you. (See: When There’s No Time for Marriage)

If they would feel compassion toward you, you are in a good spot. It means they feel honored and valued so that a single situation doesn’t define their whole perspective. They think first of you and not themselves when evaluating situations.

A Few Questions

If you desire to give more of your best to your spouse, consider the following questions:

  • Is there a time this week where your spouse will get your undivided attention?
  • When your phone rings and your spouse is talking, does your spouse win the face off?
  • In the next year, is there at least one weekend that belongs exclusively to your spouse?
  • Is there ever a time in which you tell your work “no” because of a commitment you’ve made to your marriage?
  • Can you describe a time in the last month where your kids did not get access to you because that time belonged to your spouse?
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