All of us have 24 hours in a day. It doesn't matter whether you're a man or a woman, whether you're rich or poor. We all have the same amount of time.
Your life is defined by how you choose to spend that time—between work, church, family, hobbies, and everything else. Time evaporates quickly, and that's why we have to make choices.
It's easy to say what our priorities are, but the most accurate way to determine our priorities isn't based on our words, but on how we live.
When God created marriage, he gave a foundational rule for relationships between a husband and wife: "Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother shall cleave to his wife, and they shall be one flesh" (Genesis 2:24).
You have a one hundred percent chance of success in marriage if you follow God's plan. He created a foundation to ensure every marriage could succeed, and it's not complicated. It's all about priorities.
When the Bible says we leave our father and mother, it's really saying that we reprioritize our lives. The moment you get married, you "cleave" to your spouse. Your spouse comes first. That's the law of priority.
It's reflected in natural jealousy. In our culture, we often view jealousy as a negative thing, but there is a legitimate jealousy that God puts inside us related to marriage. The Bible says God is jealous when we allow something in our lives to take His place. In marriage, spouses have the same type of jealousy.
In marriage, a husband or wife will naturally become jealous when something begins to replace them in their spouse's life.
That's why the satisfaction level of marriage often drops when children enter the picture. At this point, a woman typically turns her attention to the kids while the husband turns his attention to his career.
The priority of the marriage is lost. The husband and wife stop focusing attention on each other. For a successful marriage, a husband and wife must find a way to avoid this trap by maintaining the right priorities.
The only way to do this is by sacrifice. Sometimes we have to give up certain interests—golf, shopping, longer days at work—for the good of our marriage. Why? Because time is the essential commodity of relationships. For a healthy marriage, we have to take time away from self-focused pursuits and devote it to our spouse.
Once you've established priorities, you must protect them. Work is a good thing. Children are good. Church is good. But the things that destroy marriage aren't often bad things, but good things done out of priority. This includes working too much or focusing too much on the kids—to the detriment of your marriage.
How will your kids succeed if your marriage doesn't show them how?
Marriage only works when it is in first place. That's a challenge, but the law of priority is one God set at the very beginning. If your spouse has complained about the time you spend at work, or with your friends, or playing golf, or on Facebook, then you may be violating God's law of priority.
If so, you need to make changes. You need to sacrifice and rearrange your priorities. That's the only way marriage works.