Values

I know a couple where the husband said to the wife that they have to make a certain amount of money a year. It is a very high amount. They have only one child and live in an apartment.

Meanwhile, the wife is miserable, stuck at a job that she hates, where her manager is abusive to her. She is so stressed out that she has begun pulling out her hair. Doctors have put her on anti-anxiety medicine, but it isn’t helping because it is treating the symptom, not the disease.

I believe that the husband has his priorities wrong. It isn’t about money at all, and it never should be. If his wife is so miserable that it is affecting her health, then something has to change. They need to evaluate everything that they are spending money on and how much money is coming in. Perhaps he needs to get a second job. Perhaps they can trade out a car for a cheaper one. Perhaps they can move back in with a parent.

But there is no reason that a spouse should ever put money before the health of their spouse. No money is worth more than your spouse.

My husband was very stressed out recently about extra responsibilities with his job. This is a new job, but suddenly he is being expected to do things that he did not sign up for and is not trained in. He wants to do well, but these added expectations are not reasonable. It was obviously very overwhelming to him.

I chose to play the biggest card and speak of my fears. I told him a story that I’d just read about a woman whose husband was very stressed out over his job. He was so anxious over all that was going on that he had constant pains in his stomach (the stomach and the head are the most common sites for stress to manifest). Doctors, as usual, gave him medicine to treat his stomach pains but did not advise him to seek help about his job. She woke up one night to discover that he’d killed himself while she slept.

I told my husband that I don’t want to live through that. No job is worth that kind of stress. If his boss got angry that he wasn’t able to do what he expected him to do – a duty that was not on the list of expected tasks when he was hired – then perhaps he needs to find a new job. We can make do. We will work it out. We have before. But his health is worth more than money.

Don’t ever put money before your spouse. Remember “forsaking all others” as part of the vow? It normally refers to intimacy – that we promise to only be intimate with our spouse. But I take it to also mean that their well-being should be seen as important and valuable.

It doesn’t make sense if you have a lot of money but your spouse is miserable. It doesn’t make sense to demand that your spouse work at a place that is harmful to their well-being. Even if that man’s wife doesn’t kill herself from the stress, she’s living a half-life already because of it. It is not right for him to demand that. But this is her battle to fight. If he cannot see that, then she must speak up for herself.

Possessed pigs.

Jesus wasn’t always appreciated for healing people. He healed two people who were possessed by demons, and the townspeople begged him to leave the town.

In Matthew 8:28-34 (NRSV) we read that –
“28 When he came to the other side, to the country of the Gadarenes, two demoniacs coming out of the tombs met him. They were so fierce that no one could pass that way. 29 Suddenly they shouted, “What have you to do with us, Son of God? Have you come here to torment us before the time?” 30 Now a large herd of swine was feeding at some distance from them. 31 The demons begged him, “If you cast us out, send us into the herd of swine.” 32 And he said to them, “Go!” So they came out and entered the swine; and suddenly, the whole herd rushed down the steep bank into the sea and perished in the water. 33 The swineherds ran off, and on going into the town, they told the whole story about what had happened to the demoniacs. 34 Then the whole town came out to meet Jesus; and when they saw him, they begged him to leave their neighborhood.”

I always find it interesting that the people who recognize Jesus as the Son of God are always the possessed ones. Everybody else had to figure it out the hard way, if they figured it out at all. Many times Jesus tells those who recognize him to not tell anybody. He wants to keep a low profile.

But there is no hiding when you kill off a bunch of pigs.

Sure, these two people were possessed. They weren’t just a problem to themselves, they were a problem to others. They were “so fierce that no one could pass that way.” When he cast out the demons and they went into the nearby herd of pigs, the people went back to being normal. The pigs were not. The pigs drowned themselves.

I can see how this would be a problem. The town had probably already written off these two people who were possessed. They were just the crazy folk who stand at the edge of town and yell at people. This happens sometimes.

But pigs, now, that’s starting to get into money. They were being raised for sale. When the whole herd jumps off a cliff, that is a lot of money jumping off a cliff too. Sure the townspeople were ticked off.

Forget that two members of their town were now restored to sanity.

Forget that a miracle just occurred.

How often do we do this today? How often do we get our priorities mixed up? How often do we see how things affect us and forget to see the big picture?

Lots.

People are meant to be loved, and things are meant to be used.
All too often we get that backwards.