Better Yourself – Better Your Marital Relationship
Annette Nay, Ph.D.
Copyright © 2006
Where are Your Priorities?
With the fast pace of our lives, it is important that we make time
work for us and not allow it to get away from us. We all have beaten
ourselves up over all the should-haves and could-haves that we have slip
through our hands. Many times this happens because we fail to plan and
we do not have a good perspective to guide our daily lives. We allow the
needs of the day and the wants of others direct our lives.
Our lives must keep a perspective of those things that should come
first in our lives. To keep your life in perspective, use the five
finger priority method.
- God comes first. Talking with God about what needs to be changed
in your life, is a must. Being spiritually fed is important to
keeping you spiritually and emotionally well.
- You come next. When you take care of you, you will have the
emotional and physical energy to take care of the remaining
priorities. This means taking the time for good nutritious meals,
exercising at least three times a week, and getting enough rest at
night and during the day!
- Family is third in the list of priorities. Time with your spouse
and each of the children, separately, is important. This may be as
little as five minutes per day. This is a must! A date night once a
week with your spouse is also a must if you want to keep your
- Church comes fourth. Church responsibilities are important, but
they should never overpower the importance of your relationship with
God, taking care of yourself. It should never come before your
- Community - It is important, but comes in last.
Many times we fill our lives with too many things from the last three
items on the priority list and seldom take care of the first two. We
must take time to replenish our spirituality by communing with God,
reading the scriptures, and surrounding ourselves with uplifting music
and other good literature and activities. There must also be time to
exercise and have a good diet.
You should never put off taking care of yourself. It never happens!
Instead, make it a priority. You need time to replenish yourself through
relaxation or play time. This may be relaxing while watching the sunrise
or set, painting a picture, taking a class, or reading a favorite book
for just a few minutes per day.
When we replenish ourselves we are ready to tackle the day, help
others, and do our best. We are unwise to think we can do well at
anything, if we have not taken care of the first two priorities on our
When you're the best you can be, with all that life throws at you, no
one, not even yourself can expect more. That is a hard lesson to learn.
Many people, no matter how hard they try, feel that they should have
done better. They should have foreseen the future and stopped unwanted
events from happening. This is not possible. It is possible, however, to
manage our day to eliminate many failures from happening.
When we fail to plan, we plan to fail.
Since your time is valuable, you cannot afford to fumble around
wondering what you should do next. Make three lists:
- Things that must be done and by when.
- Things that need to be done.
- Things you'd like to do.
Before you go to bed, make a tentative list of what needs to be
accomplish tomorrow. The list should include time with God. This means
exercise, good diet, and free time to breathe for you. Time for family
is a must. Then add in the “must-dos” of the day and some of the
“need-to-dos” to fill in the rest of the time.
Remember that you do not have to wait until the last minute to
accomplish the “must-dos” in your life. Procrastination will kill you.
With a little planning, you can do a little over-time on projects and
get them done on time, without all the stress of the last minute. No one
performs their best under stress.
By small things great things may be accomplished!
By marking all the must-dos on a calendar, you can see at a glance,
the days in your life that will be too full. By planning ahead, you can
move items back or forward to less full days. If this is not possible
then do ahead what can be done to elevate the stuffed days. When this is
not possible, then prioritize what really needs to be done by you.
Delegate the rest to other people.
When you have a calendar of events for your life, you will be less
likely to take on more than you can manage. You can finally say, "No, my
schedule will not allow that this week." In this way you will know that
you are doing your best and have no reason to feel guilty for saying,
"No!." When you are doing your best, no one, not even yourself, can
expect more of you. In this way you will not be allowed to beat up
yourself over the “should-have-beens” or “could-have-beens.” You will be
managing your life not allowing fate or others to do it for you.
Now take the time to sit down together separately and later together
to compare notes and use each other as a sounding board to figure out if
your ideas are on target for what really needs to be done.
This kind of change may seem like a hard thing, but it is well worth
it, because you become a better person, a better husband/wife, and the
type of person you will need to be to become like God having worlds
without number and enough children to people those worlds, all under
your management. If you do not know how to manage yourself, you are will
not be able to manage the affairs of others. So learn how to do it now
and you will be far better off in this world and in the world to come.