Thursday, January 15, 2009

Bringing Home Paradise -- Week 2 -- Prioritize


At the recommendation of someone in the bloggy world I picked up the book Hidden Art by Edith Schaeffer. She spoke a bit about priorities that seemed fitting as I contemplate how to make my marriage and my husband a greater priority in my life and daily habits.

The quote speaks of art, but I think fits equally well as we look at our marriages. Sometimes people see their marriage as growing dull or say they have fallen "out" of love, but there is that part of marriage, and every relationship, that simply requires discipline, work, and commitment. We must make our marriage a priority. Here is what she says except where she said "art" I kept thinking "marriage."

All art (marriage) involves conscious discipline. It will involve discipline in time and energy -- or there would never be any production at all to be seen, felt or enjoyed. The balance of the use of time is a constant individual problem for all of us: what to do, and what to leave undone. One is always having to neglect one thing in order to give precedence to something else. The question is one of priorities.

It would be very frustrating if we expected each other to do each thing perfectly, or to add new creative things without eliminating something else. Of course something is being neglected every day. That is the finite bit of humanity asserting itself! . . . We are supposed to be representing the Creator. . . we should look for expressions of artistry, and be sensitive to beauty, responsive to what has been created for our appreciation.

It is easy to think that intentionality removes the creativity, beauty or spontaneity. But, in actuality without intentional effort and determined placement of priorities, our marriage cannot exhibit those traits.

Schaeffer uses an interesting image of the removal of a cast from a broken limb. At first the muscles are stiff and need retraining and effort. Marriage can fall into that as well. We plaster it with our routine, schedules, and busyness, and forget the amazing strength it holds in and of itself that we buried long ago. I have enjoyed rediscovering the true beauty and strength of the marriage bond and look forward to a couple weeks of focusing on practical ideas to retrain and develop those "muscles" further.

Marriage can become just another "hat" I wear in my daily hat dance, but I don't want that. I want my relationship to keep growing, to bloom in new ways each day. I continue to pray and consciously make it a priority.

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