All-Star Panel: Married Couples Answer Your Questions
Thanks to our All-Star Married Panel for their answers to this month's question from one of our readers! I think you'll love their thoughts. Remember to send in your questions at any time to firstname.lastname@example.org.
QUESTION from a reader:
It's so easy for me to forget what the most important things in life are. The mundane/entertaining/daily necessities tend to crowd out the investments in key relationships/spiritual necessities/deeper joys & realizations. What are some good ways to habitualize making what's most important, most important when it comes to my daily rituals and how I live my life?
ANSWERS from our panel:
Larry and Diane are a wonderful couple from California...and some of the most Christlike people we know.
Do the most important things first in the day (or as soon as you return from work) and then go from there. For example: Read the scriptures and pray first thing in the morning then start your day. That way you know they really will get done.
Put the important things on your calendar like an appointment. If the timing doesn't work for you, change to another time; but make sure you try it for about a week before you change. Once you find the best schedule for doing all the important things, make a goal to do it for 21 days (takes that long to make it a habit).
Remember Pres. Benson's counsel:
"When we put God first, all other things fall into their proper place or drop out of our lives. Our love of the Lord will govern the claims for our affection, the demands on our time, the interests we pursue, and the order of our priorities."
Rob and Hannah are a super fun couple who have been living in wedded bliss for over two years.
Wow, that's a tall order. First, you're probably the best judge of what is most essential in your life, so assess the activities you find yourself most involved with and rank them in order of importance. Getting them all done is another matter. We both think that it takes different amounts of time for different people for those activities to turn into good habits and become a part of our consistent routine—we also both agree that it's even easier to drop those good habits if you're not careful. On that note, Hannah's cousin once shared with us that he makes sure to have at least 80% of his day planned out—that way, he doesn't get sucked into time-wasting activities when he could be filling his day with more productive things. Both of us try to do this by writing down our daily/weekly goals—Rob on his iPhone, Hannah in her Moleskine planner—and check them off as we accomplish them. This method works for us because we love the satisfaction of physically crossing items off our to-do lists, but you get the idea—taking stock of your life and prioritizing (in whatever way works for you) is key!
Joel and Marie are two of our favorite people. They have an incredible little family and currently hail from Idaho.
Joel has what he has heard called a "move through time" personality, versus a more sequential one. I, Marie, prefer to have more structure. He said that my/our organization of our most important key habits to build our family spiritually have helped him realize that if those most important things are organized you know they will happen and you avoid the distractions more easily.
We try to continually evaluate our vision for our life (individually and as a family) and simply ask, "Are we making the progress I (or we) want to make?" and if not, to add the question, "What specifically can I (or we) do to make this happen?" The answer very often includes a new habit. Maybe I'll get up a few minutes earlier to do a certain thing, or we'll change the way we do scripture study a bit to help us get more out of it. The important thing for us is to be firm in the habit, but flexible in considering changing it at the appropriate time. We try to make changes in a meditative time on Sunday afternoon, not when the alarm goes off.
We don't do everything we hope to eventually do individually or as a family, but we have just accepted that it is worth it to have morning, evening, weekly, six-month and yearly that take a chunk of time. Most of the time we really enjoy the planning and doing of our rituals. It makes the rest of our time much more effective toward our true vision, not just a life of default occurrences.