Secret 1: The Right Priorities

“Make sure of the more important things.”​—Philippians 1:10.

What this means. In successful marriages, each spouse puts the other’s needs ahead of self, possessions, job, friends, and even other relatives. Husband and wife spend plenty of time with each other and with the children. Both are willing to make sacrifices for the interests of the family.​—Philippians 2:4.

Why it matters. The Bible places high importance on the family. In fact, the apostle Paul wrote that a person who does not provide for his family “is worse than a person without faith.” (1 Timothy 5:8) Yet, over time, a person’s priorities may change. For example, one family counselor noted that many who attended a conference he held seemed more focused on career than on family. He says it was as if they expected to learn “quick-fix techniques” so that they could “check ‘family’ off their ‘to do’ list and get back to focusing on their professions.” The lesson? It is easier to say that we put family first than to show it.

Try this exercise. Rate your sense of priority, using the following questions as a guide.

When my spouse or child needs to talk, do I give that person my attention as soon as possible?

When talking to others about my activities, do I often find myself discussing things I do with my family?

Would I turn down added responsibility (on the job or elsewhere) if my family needed my time?

If you answered yes to the above questions, you might assume that you have the right priorities. But how would your spouse and children rate you? How we see ourselves is not the only yardstick by which our priorities are measured. And that same principle holds true with the other secrets to success that will be discussed on the following pages.

Make a resolve. Think of one or two ways in which you could demonstrate that your family comes first. (For example: Think of cutting back on things that may be intruding on the time that would be better spent with your spouse and children.)

Why not share your resolves with your family? When one member shows willingness to change, the others are more likely to follow.

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A winning parent places high priority on spouse and children