Each of us is gifted the exact same amount of time every week. There are 10,080 minutes spanning every seven rhythmic days. Regardless of your wealth, health, family size, workload or responsibilities - we all get the exact same amount of time every week - not a second more or a second less.
What is particularly shocking to me is how few of those precious minutes we spend investing in our marriages. People squander time here and there, investing discretionary minutes in many areas of their lives that will yield far less of a return than if that same time were invested in their marriage. Seriously, very few things offer even a remotely similar benefit of a fully functioning, healthy, God-honoring marriage.
And yet, so few married couples actually achieve that kind of marriage.
Those who have a not-so-great marriage (which represent the majority, by the way) blame all kinds of things - incompatibility, a past mistake, their parents, their kids, their boss...
But for many (not all, but most) couples, the true source of their less-than-fantastic marriage is a lack of willingness (by one or both spouses) to give the time that is needed to have the marriage they say they want.
- We go to school for 13 years to graduate from high school. That's an investment!
- We go to college for 4+ years to get a degree. That's an investment!
- We go to training to learn a skill - and continuing education to keep our skill sharp. That's an investment!
- We practice for countless hours to learn our sport or instrument. That's an investment!
But it's not. Funny, that is.
Last week, Susan and I went away together for the 3rd or 4th time this year. Just the two of us. Two days, in the mountains. Yes, it cost real money that I had to scrape to find. Yes, we left our kids at home. Yes, there was undone work on our desks. Yes, there were a thousand things we needed to do at home.
But we believe that the greatest return for our time can be found by investing it in our marriage. So we do whatever it takes to make that investment. And as a bonus, we're teaching our kids what a great marriage looks like! (Did you know that your kids will very likely have a marriage like yours because it's all they know? Would you be pleased or dismayed if your kids had a marriage like that?)
For the record, the odds were stacked against Susan and me. We were married very young (19), and we had a child 7 months later (no, she wasn't premature). And we had no money. I worked 3 jobs and went to school full time and we barely saw each other. It was a rocky start!
But some people mentored us and helped us to see that we had to invest in our marriage - regardless of the cost. We had to read books about marriage together (one every year). We had to go away together (3-4 times a year). We had to go to marriage retreats together (once a year). We had to spend dedicated time together (a date every week). We had to get tools to help us hone our skill as husband and wife.
I'll share some of those tools with you in another post this week. But right now, I'm asking you - if you are married - to find some time - no, to MAKE some time - this week to talk about your marriage and to make some plans to go away. Even if it's January before you can do it - even if that IS your Christmas gift to each other - it could be the best gift the two of you have ever given. It's the gift of a great marriage.
And the only way to have one is with time!