• The Bible is clear that we are to put others before ourselves. Philippians 2:3, 4 is very specific: we are to consider others better than ourselves, and to look out for their interests, and not just our own. How does that look in your marriage? Do you think you are successful in putting your spouse’s needs before your own?

• What are ways you and your spouse can compromise when it comes to deciding how you will spend the time you have? What tradeoffs could you each make that would help your spouse feel you are putting his/her interests before your own?

Ecclesiastes famous verses testify that there is a time for everything. In marriage, the conflict sometimes arises when the time to weep and time to laugh, time to keep and time to throw away, time to be silent and time to speak, come at a different point for the husband and wife. How can you honor your spouse’s “time to laugh” if it happens to come during your “time to weep?”

• Consider sitting down with your spouse and your calendars and talking about your individual expectations for the coming weeks and months. Discussing your different desires and making a list of goals can help you come up with a game plan that allows time for each of you to do some of the things on your wish lists.

• Why do you think it is wise to continue to find things you enjoy doing together? How can you avoid each going your separate ways more often than you spend time together?

• If you have children, how do you think your time management as a couple affects them?

• How can you honor God by the way you spend time together?

• Pray that God will give each of you the courage to lovingly make your needs and desires known, and the heart to put your spouse’s needs above your own.

Deborah Raney is at work on her nineteenth novel. Her first novel, A Vow to Cherish, inspired the World Wide Pictures film of the same title. Her books have won the National Readers' Choice Award, Silver Angel for Excellence in Media, and have twice been Christy Award finalists. Her newest series, the Hanover Falls Novels, will release from Howard/Simon & Schuster. She and her husband, Ken Raney, have been married for 35 years. They have four children, two little grandsons, and enjoy small- town life in Kansas. Visit Deborah's website at http://www.deborahraney.com.


Tobi Layton is a fifth grade teacher and freelance writer in southeast Missouri. Tobi has been married for eight years to Ryan Layton, a high school biology teacher. Tobi and Ryan are involved with the high school and junior high youth groups at their church in Cape Girardeau, Missouri. The Laytons have two sons.

Tobi Layton is the daughter of Ken and Deborah Raney. The Raneys and the Laytons share an August 11 wedding anniversary.