Our next Barefoot Cabin analogy came when Tom and I were told by our rental agency that we should provide an alarm clock in every bedroom. I can’t remember the last time we actually bought one, so we headed to Walmart hoping not to spend too much of our dwindling budget on these time machines. We figured most people use their cell phones as an alarm anyway, right?
We were thrilled when we found some for under $10. One thing we knew we wanted was to be sure they had batteries in case the power went out. What we didn’t think of was to check and see if they had electrical cords as well–our first mistake. <sigh>
Here’s what we discovered about these alarm clocks:
- They had no electrical cord, which means the battery power would be used all the time, making this “cheap alarm clock” expensive in the long run.
- They had no brightness adjustment, so sleeping with it on the nightstand was like sleeping with a flashlight in your face.
- Cheaper is not necessarily better. You get what you pay for!
What does this have to do with marriage? The answer hit me first thing this morning! We can treat our marriage like we did these alarm clocks. We knew we needed them, but we weren’t willing to invest the money for a good one.
Taking each of the three points above, here’s what alarm clocks taught me about marriage:
- It’s important to stay plugged in to each other and The Lord. Self-sufficiency won’t work because marriage has a way of breaking down our own strength. If we are relying solely on our own ability to have a good marriage, it won’t be long until that battery is completely spent. It’s not obvious at first, but slowly over time you begin to neglect doing the things you did at first, like date nights, long conversations, acts of kindness, etc.
- Many times one spouse is more enthusiastic about date nights, marriage conferences, and growing the marriage in general. Rather than working on being the change they want to see in their marriage, they bring up the lack they see in their spouse constantly. It’s like a glaring reminder that says, “You aren’t measuring up to my expectations!” We are unable to change our spouse. That is God’s job and one He is quite good at completing. But what we CAN do is work on changing ourselves. We should let the light of conviction shine brightly in our own faces and use a darkness-adjusting light to gently bring up our spouse’s lack. This is how love operates! (and a good alarm clock, I might add!)
- We can waste our time on things that don’t matter, and neglect those things that do. This is why we shouldn’t be surprised if our marriage isn’t what we’d hoped it would be a few years down the road. If you haven’t made your time together a priority, your marriage will be affected. Sadly, some couples don’t realize this until their kids grow up and move on with their own lives. It’s in this transition that many couples call it quits! They think the marriage is no longer working, like a worn-out clock.
Today we’ll be taking these cheap alarm clocks back to Walmart and hope to find ones that are gentler and kinder with a built-in electrical cord. Next time your alarm clock goes off telling you it’s time to wake-up, let it also remind you to check your marriage. The best way to know how well it’s going is to ask your spouse.
It’s not about the money, it’s about taking your most valuable asset–time, and using it for the good of your marriage. Your spouse may just say, “It’s about time!”