My husband understands me in a way that few people can. He appreciates my quirkiness. He understands why certain things cause me pain. He is sensitive to my emotional needs. He’s a good man. There is no question in my mind that I married “the one.”

And because I was fortunate enough to marry a great guy (and the right guy for me), I make sure he understands that our marriage matters to me more than many of the other things in my life. Our relationship is one of my top priorities. I nurture what we have as much as I can and I try to be mindful as we move through each year of our marriage. I want this thing to last.

But if I can be honest with you, my marriage does not matter more than everything. It just can’t. There are things in my life that I viewed as priorities before I got married, and saying “I do” almost eight years ago didn’t change that. Those things still matter to me more than my marriage does.

And this isn’t news to my husband, so I am not worried about what he’ll think when he sees this. He understands what my priorities are and he respects them. This understanding is one of the things that keep us together and happy. I suspect it is one of the things that will help our marriage stand the test of time.

I know we all have different priorities, and you have to do what works for you, but here are three things I think should matter more than your marriage.

praying in marriage

Your Relationship With God

There isn’t a person on Earth that can fulfill my spiritual needs. Only God can do that. And without my spirituality intact, I can’t do much of anything. I am the wife and mother I am because I put God first in all that I do. He is the one that sustains me and by doing so, He gives me the things I need to be a good mother and wife. Without nurturing that relationship, I am certain my marriage would suffer. Actually, I am certain that every area of my life would suffer. We must seek God first in all that we do (Matthew 6:33). Then, and only then, is when we will see the other areas of our lives fall into place.

health and marriage

Your Health

There is a pattern I have noticed in my life. If I fail to make my health a priority, things begin to slowly fall a part. I love my husband, but for me to be a good wife and mother, I have to make my healthy a priority. My health matters more than my marriage does. With a strong family history of stroke and heart disease, my days are numbered if I’m not serious about my health. What I know for sure is that my husband and my kids want me to stick around for as long as I can. They probably want that from me more than anything else. This is why my health has to come first. As selfish as it may seem, it is the truth. I think giving them a mediocre version of myself, instead of just saying, “My health matters more,” is far more selfish.

personal development

Your Personal Development

Personal development is an area that far too many people neglect, and by doing so people tend to damage the most important relationships in their lives. You have to value yourself enough to put effort towards developing who you are as a person. If you are unwilling to do that, how can you give the people you love your best? Personal development includes things you do to maximize your potential, such as learning new things, building self-esteem, improving self-awareness, and strengthening your gifts and talents. You can’t enter a marriage and expect a lifetime of happiness and success if you have no intentions of working on who you are as a person. Your personal development should matter more than your marriage, because the more you put into growing as an individual, the more you are able to bring your best to your marriage.