I Am Third (or Tenth!)

I just recently read a note in our church bulletin from our parish’s marriage counselor regarding how to prioritize our lives.  I love this marriage counselor, and my husband and I had a wonderful experience with her through Marriage for Keeps sponsored by Catholic Charities.  However, I was disappointed with the order of her priorities.  She said that the order in your life needed to be:

  1. God
  2. Yourself
  3. Your spouse
  4. Your children

This is in direct contract to the philosophy of my own marriage which my mother first taught me years before my own marriage.  She said that if you place your spouse’s needs ahead of your own, you will find happiness.  You see, if you spend your life working to make your husband happy, and your husband, in turn, is working to make you happy then your joy will be complete in your married life.

I am third

So first I propose that your first two priorities should be:

  1. God
  2. Spouse

Following your spouse’s happiness, God has called us to not only be wives but mothers and with that vocation in mind, my children’s happiness should come before my own.  Now that definitely does NOT mean that I give my children everything they want.  Far from it.  It simply means that when they truly need something, I forgo whatever it is that I want to do and serve them, as God calls me to do.  So even though I would rather be writing an email or balancing my checkbook, and my second grader asks for help on her math, or I need to get the cleaning done and my four year old asks me to read a book, my vocation and my Lord calls me to put them first.  And placing their actual needs ahead of my own, my happiness is fulfilled in knowing I am doing God’s will.

So now that I have God, spouse and children in the correct order, is it my turn?  No, not hardly!  Next comes the rest of my loving family – parents, siblings, nieces and nephews.  They are followed by my beloved friends.  When they need something, I definitely want to be there for them, just as they are for me.

After these wonderful people come other entities that flux in their priority levels.  My church also deserves my attention – teaching at Children’s Church, serving in my Mom’s group, leading Bible studies.  And then my children’s school also requires my time in the form of being a room mom, volunteering for field trips, helping out the teachers.  You may think that it’s your turn next – but for me, the community comes next, with providing food for food drives, trash pick-ups and the like.  Then finally, after even the dog is fed, it’s my turn and I take my joy in knowing that my life is prioritized according to what Christ has called us to do – serve others.

  1. God
  2. Spouse
  3. Children
  4. Family
  5. Friends
  6. Church
  7. School
  8. Community
  9. Dog!
  10. Self

How do you prioritize your life?

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