How to Balance the Priority of Relationship & Personal Preferences
When the right person comes along – a godly person that you can fully trust and relate to well, a person who is attractive to you, a person that you would be happy to have as the mother or father of your children – it is worth considering making adjustments to some of your temporary personal life preferences in choosing your life partner.
In the early years of my marriage to my wife, Lori, I made several key career decisions that put my wife and children above the possibility of promotion and increased income. While working for a large international corporation, I told my boss that I would not relocate my family (which was standard practice) in order to advance in the company. Although they could’ve come with me if they each had an l2 visa, I decided that I didn’t want to disrupt all of their lives. It’s quite a big thing to move all of your life over to another country, it was a decision that I wasn’t willing to make without serious consideration. I decided to refuse a management position from another company that would have immediately doubled my income because I could foresee that in order to do the job well, I would have to become a slave to the position. Instead, I left the corporation for a position as the Executive Director of a non-profit counseling center that netted me a 25% decrease in income. I chose not to begin my private practice immediately after receiving my license as a Marriage & Family Therapist because I would have had to work many evenings and be away from Lori and our four young boys. I never regretted any of those decisions because I was so certain that my marriage and family held more importance than money or career. God used all of those choices and experiences to prepare Lori and I for the ministry that He had planned for us long before we had any thought of Nothing Hidden Ministries.
Living life in harmony with another person often requires compromise. Our core values, particularly our spiritual core value for trusting God first, must never be compromised; however many of our life preferences and goals frequently calls for compromise in order to fit what’s best for our marriage and family.
Yesterday I spoke with a young man about his recent dating relationships. He mentioned that he is dating and enjoying a young woman, and he really feels that she is a godly woman that he could trust; they communicate vulnerably and honestly. He shared that there is a strong innocence and purity about her, which to him, makes her very attractive. When he discovered that she is four years older than him and that she would probably want to have children right away because of her age, it diminished his interest in the relationship because he did not feel ready to have children. In this case, it’s too early to tell if for him to tell if she is “the right one,” but if all of the essential qualities and values were right except for her age, the choice to place convenience, and possibly fear, above choosing the right person could result in missing out on a relationship that God is ready to bless.
We must learn to place lasting, eternal values above temporal ones if we are to experience the wonderful relationships and the wonderful plans that God has designed for our lives. The Lord told Jeremiah he would have to “…extract the precious from the worthless…” (Jeremiah 15:19). Developing a powerful and successful career or ministry to the detriment of our marriage and family is not God’s idea of success.
Here are a few of the temporal values that will need to take second place to choosing a person with the right spiritual and relational qualities:
- Needing to have my education completed and my career established first.
- Needing “see the world” before I settle down.
- Needing to have everything according to my timing.
- Needing a spouse with all my desired physical features.
- Needing to have enough money saved first.
Placing personal convenience and plans as a first priority above relationships is just one way to have potential relationship and family stolen from us.
Marriage and family have a very high priority in God’s eyes. We must keep them in that same priority in order to experience the kind of fulfillment that comes only from a loving, committed relationship that is surrendered to God.
by Barry Byrne