Busyness seems to be a symptom of our society. It's almost a badge of honor. We rush from activity to activity saying, "I'm so busy." We even feel guilty if we don't have something to do every moment. Perhaps it's your job. Or maybe you've taken on too many responsibilities in volunteer organizations, at your kids' school, or at church. Somewhere along the line you took on more than you can handle and now you're regretting it. Can you relate?

• You're feeling negative all the time.

• You're pessimistic about everything.

• You're more easily irritated than usual.

• You're not sleeping.

• You're too worn out to be thankful.

We hear from couples who work full-time, go to school, raise kids, serve at church - sometimes even more - and they wonder why their marriages are having difficulty. So many couples aren't making their marriages a top priority. Instead, their relationship is put on the back burner. Everything else seems more important - careers, kids, hobbies, and volunteer work.

We live with the lie we can have it all, we can do it all and we deserve it all. Many couples are so busy that they don't take time to nurture the foundation of their family - their marriage and their relationship with each other. And when that marriage foundation begins to crumble, everything else comes down with it.

You need to set priorities, and your top priorities must be God, your spouse and your kids - in that order. You've got to make time to connect with your spouse and give your kids the security of their parents' strong marriage.

Here are some of the warning signs busyness is taking a toll on your marriage:

• You think you have to choose between your spouse and your kids.

• Your lives are very fragmented. You spend more time running here and there and doing this and that than you spend together.

• When you're together you both tend to be in your own little world.

• You both find yourself easily irritated over small annoyances.

• Disagreements and misunderstandings between the two of you increase.

• Several months pass before you realize the two of you haven't had a date or planned alone time together.

If you've noticed some or all of these warning signs popping up in your life - stop and take notice! Your time with your spouse is too important to the security of your marriage to neglect. It's more important than the time you spend at work or even the time you spend with your kids. Something you need to remember is this - the time you set aside to spend with your spouse isn't time you don't have; it's time you'll use for something less important if you don't use it for each other.

We all need to get away alone and continue to talk, laugh and have fun together. It's in those times that true connection takes place. We need to learn more about each other, our past and our dreams of the future. We need to feel at ease with each other as we face new challenges together.

If you and your spouse are both working full-time or going to school full-time it can be incredibly tough just to find the time to spend together. If you have the option, don't have regrets over your family. You get only one chance with them. Perhaps putting off school for a season or cutting back on outside work hours will give you the time and energy you need for each other and for your family. But sometimes having one of you quit work or cut back on hours isn't possible because that second income is needed or that degree is one semester away. In those cases, cutting back may end up causing more stress instead of less.