(forgot to post this yesterday) I had a hard time figuring out why our first 18 months of marriage were so hard. We were both following Jesus and loved each other, but something was off. Out of desperation I turned to the Lord. I decided to spend daily time with Him regardless of how I felt on any given day. As the weeks and months went on something began to shift. My relationship with Jesus was growing and my affection toward Him was noticeable to my wife. Only years later were we able to define what happened in this process. I shifted my primary focus from Anna to Jesus, and things got much better.
This was an incredible learning lesson for me. Somewhere in my mind I thought that my primary focus was supposed to be my wife. While it is true that she is to be my primary focus on this earth, I was missing an integral part of the equation. Anna needed to become my second priority in order for life to work the way God intended it to work. One fascinating thing that Anna shared with me through this process is that as she saw me shift my primary focus from her to Jesus, that gave her security. In her mind she thought, “Ok, I can follow this man.” Anna was excited that she was no longer the one I was looking to for ultimate happiness and validation.
As I have done my best to keep my Jesus as my primary relationship things have continued to get better and better the past 12 years. Even as kids entered the picture 6 years ago, the relational priorities have remained. Jesus, then Anna, then our children. The best gifts we can give our children are a personal growing relationship with Jesus and a solid marriage. It seems noble to sacrifice these other priorities on behalf of the kids, but that is not how the Creator set it up. As we keep His relational priorities intact we have the opportunity to experience all the Lord has for us in this life and the next.