Where Do Your Loyalties Lie?

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What acts of love can you perform to assure your spouse that he or she is your number-one, earthly priority?

Guard yourself; always remain loyal to your [spouse]. -Malachi 2:16, NLT

My (Teresa's) family had just left after the holiday celebration. The house was finally quiet, but David seemed unusually withdrawn.

"Sweetheart," I asked, "what's bothering you?" David began to tell me about how he felt left out and unprioritized during my family's visit, and about how he was the last to receive my attention whenever my relatives were around. He spoke with gentleness, but his words cut to the bone as he said, "Teresa, I just need to know that you care about me, even when your family is around. I need to know that I'm your top priority?'

I listened intently, but I had a hard time receiving his words. My immediate response was defensive: "You've always had a hard time fitting in with my family. I just pay a lot of attention to them because I don't get to see them very often?' I could see that all my excuses wouldn't make the hurt in his eyes go away.

I called a friend that evening to talk about my predicament. "Amy," I said, "several of my brothers and sisters are hearing impaired, so there are many times when most of the communication is in sign language. David doesn't know sign language, so it's tough to involve him in everything. Besides, isn't he just being oversensitive?"

My friend listened for a while and then gently reminded me that my husband needed me to be his wife first, and a daughter or sister second. She reminded me that he needed the reassurance that I thought of him first, before my relatives. He needed me to sit beside him and include him in family conversations. He needed me to make sure his glass of tea was filled and that I carefully prepared his pumpkin pie.

What acts of love can you perform to assure your spouse that he or she is your number one earthly priority?

God, help me to remember that aside from my relationship with You, I am to place my relationship with my spouse above all others.

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