Harmony through Budgeting Time


Time for the family is a little like money for the family budget: there never seems to be enough to go around. How can you and your spouse "budget" family time today?

Unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build it. Psalm 127:1

Many couples are like Jenice and Mark, who fought often over prioritizing family time with the kids. Jenice would complain, and Mark would promise to do better. Jenice would then get her hopes up, but Mark would let her down because of other pressing issues.

Time for the family is a little like money for the family budget—there never seems to be enough to go around. Time is also like money in that it is important that we budget it. Most families bud­get by committing money first for living expenses, transportation, health care, and so forth. If there is any money left, they use it for the "frills." Family time budgeting can work the same way. Couples can start this time budgeting by committing time to worship, to "marriage staff meetings" for one another, to "family nights" for the entire family, to work and school, then to other areas of life.

We encouraged Jenice and Mark to review their time commitments and consider scheduling a family night each week. We suggested that a fam­ily night include each family member's committing to be on time for dinner together—with the children's homework completed, with no friends over, with no phone calls or TV, and with no interruptions of any kind. It might include a dinnertime filled with positive and appreciative conversation (no rules, criticism, or conflicts), followed by spending the next one-and-a-half hours having fun.

In Jenice and Mark's case, family nights proved to be a hit with the kids. They also reduced conflict in one major area. Jenice looked forward to making the night special with fun desserts for dinner and new game ideas. Mark enjoyed being able to set aside time in his schedule for these family times.

What would your priorities be if you were to "budget" your time today?

Lord, help my spouse and me to budget our time as You would want us to.

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