Primacy means placing your spouse ahead of everything and everyone else. Yet it is usually threatened by those closest to us. Perhaps the most shocking reality is that not even our children should be our first priority. Our first priority should always be our spouse. We will be better parents if we have a strong and stable marriage.
Perhaps unintentionally, our children, parents, friends and co-workers demand much of our time and energy. The challenge lies in balancing our time with the outside influences so they don’t take away from our spouse. There are times when temporary shifts may occur. An ailing parent, or work project comes up and requires one spouse’s time and attention for a while.
Paul and Mara had been married for two years and had one child. They lived with his family in effort to save money. Paul had taken a job that required some travelling. In Paul’s absence, his parents and sister treated Mara and their one year old son, Trevor like house guests. Mara did not feel at home in Paul’s parent’s house. Everything she did had to be discussed and planned with Paul’s family. When Paul was home, they treated the couple differently. Mara tried to communicate this to Paul, when she did he became defensive.
“My parents are making a big sacrifice taking us in like this. You should be more grateful.”
“It’s not that I don’t appreciate this situation is helping us financially. Maybe if you talk to them about how they treat me when you are not here, they will listen to you,” Mara pleads.
“You have a problem with the way they treat you, stand up for yourself. I am not going to fight your battles for you,” Paul retorts.
This leaves Mara feeling alone and useless. She doesn’t feel that Paul cares about her feelings. There is a lack of primacy on Paul’s part. If Mara is his first priority and since his family is the one posing a problem he is the one who should interject on Mara’s behalf.
Picture every married couple with an invisible shield around them. All the problems that come at them are from the outside. As long as the couple faces the problems together, nothing can penetrate the shield. As soon as one of them lets down their guard and begins to also attack or dismiss the other’s feelings then those outside influences can and will penetrate the shield.
Matthew 19:5 ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’
In marriage the two are no longer separate. They become one flesh, not just in the physical act of marriage, but spiritually and emotionally as well. The decision and actions of one, or the indecision and inaction of the other affect both spouses.
Since they are connected spiritually, we cannot dismiss that even when one of the spouse’s believes the other is unaware of their actions, they are still affected by their choices. Christ says, “I am the light.” Therefore, if even one of the spouse’s is working at keeping Christ the centre of their marriage, whatever is in darkness, whatever we attempt to keep hidden will be brought to the light by Christ. (I will write more about this under Protection where I will cover the effects on marriage relating to infidelity, addiction and pornography.)
An engaged couple enters the church on their wedding two separate people, they leave the church, after professing their vows as one united in Christ. Therefore the only third person that should be allowed in their marriage is Christ. In this way the married couple, mirrors the trinity. Three persons, united as one.
When we place Christ in the centre of our marriage, we can truly love our spouse the way God intended. God is love, and He alone fills our heart and soul with the love we need to place the other ahead of ourselves. To see beyond our spouse imperfections, and constantly forgive.
When I have learnt to love God better than my earthly dearest, I shall love my earthly dearest better than I do now. – C.S. Lewis
Tomorrow I will share practical tips on what Empowerment means for marriage.
Today reflect and talk to your spouse about the ways the two of you are working to make your relationship your primary focus. How does keeping Christ at the centre help you do this?