“A newly married man must not be drafted into the army or be given any other official responsibilities. He must be free to spend one year at home, bringing happiness to the wife he has married.” 24:5
How ideal! My husband and I joined a church plant the day we got back from our honeymoon. We trudged through the taxing experience of the first year of marriage, a new living arrangement and the truckload of circumstances that a growing ministry brings. In hindsight, I wish we had declined the opportunity, enjoyed our apartment by the beach, invested in the beautiful relationships we had with our neighbors and spent that energy on our new marriage instead. Our season of rest came later, and was greatly enjoyed and needed.
A lot of my friends jumped into intense experiences right after they got married. The Air Force, overseas ministries, moving across the country, taking on foster care, and so on. I don’t think this is wrong, I just don’t think it’s ideal. I love the tone that this verse is setting: we should prioritize and protect our relationships.
If you’re not married: there is still something to take from this. Our relational commitments, in whatever capacity, are to be tended to and enjoyed. I noticed that this verse doesn’t just read: “he must be free to spend one year at home and really establish which side of the bed is his”, but to bring happiness to his wife.
This morning, I’m thinking about the relationships I’m in, whether it’s with my neighbors, family members or friends. Do I prioritize them over work or other commitments?
Like planting new seeds in fresh soil, new relationships need attention, sacrifice and to be fed. And to be enjoyed along the way!