What Matters Most?
What matters most? If you were to share the single most important thing in your life, what would it be? Would it be making money or financial security? Perhaps you’re working on losing weight and health might take the top spot. Maybe you put a high value on integrity. I think most people agree that all these items are crucial, but not at the top of the list. When you come to the end of your life, what do you want written on your tombstone? When the question is put in this manner, relationships usually take the first spot. Whether you want to be remembered, have an impact on your family, have influence at work, or have a successful marriage, relationships are what matter most.On the first weekend in October, I had the opportunity to participate in the Relationship Matters marriage conference hosted by Chris Hogan and Relate Ministries. I will never be the same. Chris not only presented the tools to help us connect with our spouses, but we had the opportunity to practice what we learned. There are those moments in life when you feel a spiritual connection with your spouse so strong that it grips your heart. Magnify that by 100 and that was my weekend. When your lover pushes past mental understanding to a heart connection, there is a satisfaction that both feel. Leon and me had that moment over and over again. For me, this type of experience typically happens when there is a pressing issue to discuss.
For us, the issues involved making decisions together. Lately, I have felt like I was making most of the decisions when it came to church related activities. Church activities are a big part of our lives, and I’ve always wanted Leon and I to work together. In a few situations that involved family and friends, Leon would tell me to do what I thought was best, but when I made a decision that required a change, Leon would act hesitant. I would then pressure him and show my displeasure. We came together at the conference like we never have before. He let go of his easy going nature and say, “I’m responsible for hearing God’s voice on issues that are important to my wife.” I let go of pressuring him. We had been in this process for a while, but God used this weekend to seal it. I believe God got us both ready at the same time for a specific reason. We understood that making just one of us responsible for something that concerns us both wasn’t God’s will for us. This was a breakthrough in our marriage!
One related problem that Leon and I have faced is indecisiveness. I’m sure if you’re a woman, you’ve heard this response from your husband, “You decide.” The effect on the wife is frustration and loss of respect for the husband, which results in nagging. Some men react by avoiding the whole situation and working late or spending time on hobbies or watching sports. Some men will even criticize their wives when they make mistakes. This is not the way God tells us to order the home. Proverbs 14:1 tells us that a wise woman builds her home, but a foolish woman tears it down with her own hands. The solution is to prayerfully make decisions together.
Another common scenario that happens in relationships is when women try to start a conversation. Let’s face it, men get busy with work. They come home and want to chill out. Women will say, “Let’s talk or we need to talk.” Men often interpret this in a negative way and figure the wife is upset about something. On the one hand, couples need to discuss pressing issues. On the other hand, there are right and wrong times to have intense conversations. Picking the right time and place for a courageous conversation is often as important as the topic of discussion. The key is to communicate in a way that is safe for both parties.
I’m thankful to Chris Hogan for his insight with many of my issues and for the way he helped Leon and I work through problems like the ones mentioned.