It should come as no great surprise that many marriages in the United States are in disarray. And what would you say is the main reason? Alcohol and drugs? Lack of commitment? The women's movement? Inability to communicate? Breakdown of traditional family values? Adultery or sexual adjustments? Or could it be the inability to manage money or in-law infringement?
While all of these may be and probably are contributing factors to marital disruption, they are not, according to one national expert, the major cause. In his book "Marriage and Sexuality," Dr. James Dobson has noted: "The most dangerous threat to family life is one seldom mentioned. We can talk about alcoholism, drug abuse or infidelity, but a more common threat is the simple matter of overcommitment."He continues, "I'm talking about the husband and wife who are too exhausted to take walks together, understand one another, meet each other's needs, have time for play, have time for children, have time for devotions. The husband often moonlights to maintain some standard of living; the wife works and tries to oversee the home; everyone is on the brink of exhaustion. I see that as the quickest route to the destruction of the family and it can happen so easily."
Dobson, a noted psychologist in California, also observes, "Sure, we have to make a living, but there's more to overcommitment than that. Why do we have to have a standard of living that we didn't have 30 years ago. I think we're sacrificing things that are absolutely irreplaceable. Things like relationships with the family, the loving interaction between husband and wife, parent and child. When you lie on your deathbed and look back over your life, you won't remember the new automobile, the new couch or the neighborhood you lived in. You'll remember who loved you, who cared for you and where you fit into somebody's life. If those things matter then, they should matter now, and we ought to live like they do."
Hugh Nibley at Brigham Young University once made the observation that the challenge of life is not only to choose between good and evil. He noted we also have to choose between good and good. There are so many noteworthy causes to champion in life that we can easily be distracted from marriage and family life with many good causes as well as a few bad ones. The outcome is the same. We are simply too busy and too tired for each other and our children.
The catchword of the day seems to be "quality time." We use it often with our children suggesting that quality time with our kids is more important than quantity time. I sometimes wonder. Perhaps our children would just like to have us around some of the time, regardless of what we do, or don't do, in their presence.
The quality time concept is now being used in marital relationships. Couples naively think they can spend mere "quality" moments together in life and still survive. Suppose you hear of a nearby restaurant that serves top-grade, quality steak. The best in the area. So you go to the restaurant, mouth watering, and order the house speciality. You salivate as you impatiently wait for your steak to arrive. Then, when the waiter finally brings it, much to your dismay it is very small. Only 2 inches square. But, as you anticipated, the small amount tastes very good.
When the waiter returns with your check, you complain about the portion size. He listens attentively and then simply responds, "We don't advertise quantity . . . only quality."
Think about it for the next few days. Regarding your time, do those who matter most to you in life get the leftovers? Should they have quantity . . . or quality? Or is it possible to have some of both?
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