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Friday, July 20, 2012


I’ve been writing about the dramatic rise in the number of divorces of people over 50, referred to as gray divorce. You can catch up with the Introduction, Remedy 1 and Remedy2 to get the whole picture.

Today I’m concluding this little series on the factors that contribute to marriages dissolving as couples get older, although, of course, the damage these things do to marriage is not limited to those of use with graying hair.

Today’s issue is the last of the three that I’ve written on, but it is perhaps even more to blame for gray divorce than either of the others we’ve discussed.

Today I’m talking about priorities.

Today’s Choices Affect Your Tomorrow

It’s incredible how much we have competing for our time and attention - perhaps more than at any time in history.  The pressure to have it all, do it all, and excel at all is pervasive in today’s western culture.

We tend to live our lives in such a driven fashion that it’s easy to unknowingly trade the important for the immediate.  I know this because I’ve done it many times in my own life.

While there are an infinite number of distractions that we can allow to detract from our marriages, I’m going to focus on just two – and they are biggies.

The Parent Trap

There is more parenting advice available today than ever.  It seems we are preoccupied with becoming the perfect parents and raising perfect children. Here’s an amazing little statistic to point out that fact:

Now I have nothing against Mommy blogs. That is NOT my point, so don’t flame me. Kids are extremely important, and we are charged with their care and nurture. We need to do it well. The problem comes when we put our kids ahead of our marriage.

Two facts that may help you to keep the priority of your marriage ahead of your children:
  1. The best thing you can do for your kids is to have a strong marriage. Showing your kids what respect and sacrificial love look like will bear fruit into multiple generations.
  2. You and your spouse are one; you and your children are not. Your marriage relationship is based on a unique kind of covenant. Don’t make the mistake of relegating it to equal status with any other relationship, including the one with your kids.
Consistently prioritizing your children ahead of your marriage, however well-intentioned, is a significant reason so many couples facing the “empty nest” season suddenly find themselves rooming with a stranger.

The Quest for Success

Particularly in America, the desire for more “stuff” is engrained in our marketing-saturated culture. Success is defined by having the most toys, the highest corporate position, the most influence or the biggest bank account.

Can I just point out that NONE of these definitions of success lines up with the Kingdom of God.  Yes, I believe God wants to bless and prosper us, but I believe it breaks His heart when we sacrifice our time, effort and attention for worldly success to the detriment of our marriages. That’s always a bad trade!

Typically men fall into the success trap more than women, whereas women tend to have more difficulty keeping their husband prioritized over their children.  In truth, though, such stereotypes are shifting with the huge increase in women in the workforce and the increase in the number of stay-at-home dads. 

No matter, the issues are the same for men or women: success in your marriage is more important than the worldly success that presses in all around us.

The Ultimate Number One

I would be remiss if I talked about priorities without mentioning the most important priority of all:  your personal walk with Jesus.  This is the one thing that we all need to maintain as the highest priority of all.  Yes, it’s easy to lose sight of that truth, but I encourage you to continually challenge yourself to get closer to God, because when we do that everything else we do, from marriage to parenting to careers, will flow much easier out the place of intimacy with God.

Getting your priorities in line and living accordingly is not something we do once and move on. Because there are so many forces acting against our priorities, we all need to continually be vigilant and watchful.   

Maybe some of this has struck a chord with you. Maybe you are feeling convicted about having some of your priorities out of whack.  It’s never too late to make changes and to have those changes bear fruit in your life and your marriage.

What changes do you need to make to your priorities today?

Related posts

Header photo credit: Pete Reed
Mommy blog graphic courtesy of  


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