[This lesson was introduced by a video presentation of a marriage situation entitled Marriage on the Run presented by Paul and Nicole Johnson. Running time: 8 minutes and 33 seconds.]

How busy are you? Too busy? Too busy for what? Too busy to live at home? Too busy to mow the lawn? Too busy to change the oil in the car? Too busy to cook? Too busy to eat at home? Too busy to wash clothes? Too busy to go to bed? To busy to exercise? Too busy to have fun? Too busy to be married?

Ask any ten people who work, or any ten people on a career track, or any ten people who own their own business, or any ten people who are a part of the corporate world, or any ten ordinary, everyday folks, "Are you too busy?" and the majority will say, "Yes!" You likely would have difficulty finding many people who did not have too much to do.

Being too busy is the common, typical life circumstance of Americans.

  1. We live in a nation and society that functions on the principles of capitalism.
    1. The merry-go-round of our economic approach to life keeps the majority of us running in circles.
      1. Two important principles in our economic system are (a) free enterprise and (b) expanding markets.
        1. Free enterprise guarantees you the right to organize and operate your business competitively without government control as long as you do not threaten the public's interest.
        2. For business to thrive in our economic system, we must increase the need for our service or our product.
      2. For our economic system to function, there must be a market that is always growing, always expanding.
        1. You either identify an existing market, or you create a market for your service or product.
        2. To expand a market or to create a market you must do three basic things.
          1. You must identify a need.
          2. You must make people aware of the need.
          3. You must convince people that their well-being or their happiness depends on fulfilling that need.
        3. That is the purpose and objective of advertising.
          1. Advertising exists to make us want.
          2. When advertisement succeeds in making us want, advertising must then convince us that we need what we want.
          3. Advertising exists to convince us that our lives will not be fulfilled unless we acquire what we want and believe that we need.
    2. But, that is not enough to sustain our economic system.
      1. It can never be enough to acquire what you want and think you need.
        1. As soon as you acquire what you think you need, you must be motivated to want something else.
        2. Only by creating new wants that become new needs can the system grow.
      2. This is a basic objective of this approach to marketing in our system:
        1. Motivate people to be dissatisfied.
        2. But, at the same time, convince people that the key to happiness is being satisfied.
        3. Convince people that they will be satisfied if they acquire what they want.
        4. But, in business never forget that satisfaction and contentment are the enemy of our economic system.
      3. This economic view creates a way that we look at life, and we commonly call this view of life "reality."
        1. And the overwhelming majority of us buy this view of life and never question it.
        2. So we all climb on the merry-go-round and learn to move in circles.
        3. We get so busy that we cannot get off.
        4. We have to do more to acquire more.
        5. Because we acquire more, we have to do more.
        6. And the number one casualty of our being too busy is our marriages.

  2. What are the three greatest needs we all have in life?
    1. Well, let's see if we can identify the three.
      1. Could they be:
        1. A house
        2. The right clothing
        3. A car
      2. Could they be:
        1. A job
        2. A bank account
        3. A credit card
      3. Could they be:
        1. An education
        2. A good career
        3. A economically secure future
    2. I do not believe any of those are the three; may I suggest these three:
      1. To be meaningfully loved just for being myself.
      2. To be genuinely forgiven when I fail and repent.
      3. To share my life meaningfully with someone else.
    3. No matter what you acquire, it is impossible to reach the highest level of fulfillment in life without those three.
      1. These three experiences can never be found in a house, clothes, and a car.
      2. Nor can they be found in a job, a bank account, and a credit card.
      3. Nor can they be produced by an education, a good career, and a secure economic future.
    4. These three things can be found when a husband and wife build and sustain a mature, responsible, godly marriage.
      1. Those three things are the highest objective of successful companionship in marriage.
      2. They are the three pillars that sustain the marriage relationship.
        1. In a healthy marriage, the husband and the wife know as a fact, "I am loved, and I am loved just because I am me."
        2. In a healthy marriage, the husband and the wife extend each other real forgiveness for failures when there is repentance.
        3. In a healthy marriage, the husband and the wife live life meaningfully with each other.
      3. To the degree these three things are true, the marriage is healthy and responsible.
      4. To the degree these three things are not true, the marriage is weak and irresponsible.
      5. To the degree these three things are true, companionship characterizes the marriage, and companionship in marriage was the intent of God.
    5. But because we "buy" without question the concept of "reality" produced by the creative marketing goals of our economic system, we neglect and abuse the most critical earthly relationship that we have, marriage.
      1. No earthly relationship has as much impact on our total lives as does the marriage relationship.
      2. No relationship can bring as many basic blessings to life as can marriage.
      3. No other human relationship brings as many benefits to the family of God.
      4. In a perfect world, there would be two things:
        1. There would be open communication in intimate relationship with God.
        2. There would be the ideal companionship shared by husbands and wives.
        3. The only time a perfect world existed, those two relationships were a part of it.

  3. Next week Joyce and I will celebrate our 38th wedding anniversary.
    1. Compared to a number of marriages in this congregation, we are youngsters.
    2. I confess to you freely that Joyce is the greatest, most significant earthly gift that God has given me.
    3. "Looking back, is there anything that you would do differently?"
      1. Surely!
      2. I would not neglect Joyce because of my commitments to other people.
      3. I would not impose on Joyce by making her pay the price of my over-commitment.
      4. I would make time commitments to Joyce as important as time commitments that I made to any other person.
      5. I would be much more diligent not to be too busy.

What is the greatest threat to your marriage? There are many, many serious, deadly threats to your marriage: lack of commitment, debt, shallow relationships, selfishness, the love of pleasures, other relationships, growing apart, stress, materialism--the list is much too long to complete.

But the greatest threat to your marriage is the threat created by simply being too busy to be married. Many other threats become threats simply because you were too busy.

The first thing that you can do to protect and preserve your marriage is to guard against being too busy to be married.

David Chadwell

West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR
Evening Sermon, 6 June 1999
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