Setting Our Priorities

In May 1996, Barry and I will both turned 50. As we approached our fiftieth birthday, we found ourselves reflecting on our lives. What has worked well so far? What would we change?

There is one thing that has helped us the most in our lives: It is having love be a priority. Our relationship has always been our primary interest and attention. We spend time perfecting our communication, working through difficult areas, deepening our love and devotion and enjoying each other. From the very beginning of our marriage, we chose to make our love more important than our careers. This decision of giving the extra time and attention to the relationship has resulted in constantly giving us fresh energy and enthusiasm for our work. As we go deeper into our commitment to love one another, so also do we renew our commitment to serve others.

A man in his 40s came to us recently for counseling. He had spent his life building a very successful career. He was earning a lot of money, had developed a very big name for himself in his field, and was respected wherever he went to speak as a consultant. In the American dream, this man had made it to the top. Yet, he was depressed.

He was estranged from his wife and teenage children. Getting to the top had been his priority in life. When he got there he discovered it was a lonely place for him. He finally realized that he needed to spend more time at home and with his family. When he began to do so, he felt like a stranger in his own home. The family had been forced to develop their lives without him. The children were so angry by his previous lack of attention that they didn’t want him around. To protect herself from the loneliness she felt in the marriage, his wife had made the relationship with her three children the priority in her life. She was very involved in their lives and was hesitant to leave any of that to be with her husband.

Our counsel and work with this man was to make his relationships with his wife and children a priority in his life. To let them know that they were more important now than his career. This man has now started a journey back to his family. He is beginning to reap the benefits from making love a priority in his life. He is having to overcome obstacles that were created from years of neglect but each small step is bringing increased love and joy back into his life. It is never too late to make love a priority in your life.

Whenever we perform a marriage ceremony for a couple we counsel them beforehand on the importance of their relationship. We ask them to treat it as the most precious treasure which is in need of polishing and tenderness each day. For when we remember that our relationships are our treasures in life, these treasures can be a constant source of fulfillment and joy.

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