Every fall, it’s hurricane season down here in Southeast Florida – which serves as an annual reminder that disaster could be headed my way. I’ve had to deal with four major hurricanes while I’ve lived down here, and it has not been fun. Typically, what happens is that the news channels let us know a new one is moving in our direction, and everyone monitors the updates to see where it’s going to land. The thing is, though, these scary storms are always shifting and changing their path, and so it’s easy to wait too long to prepare. And then when you find out it’s going to definitely affect you and your home, the store shelves are empty, the gas stations are out of fuel, home depot is out of generators, and people have left town (or the state). If you don’t have your shutters up at this point, you’re likely screwed.

When you find out it’s going to definitely affect you and your home, the store shelves are empty, the gas stations are out of fuel, home depot is out of generators, and people have left town (or the state). If you don’t have your shutters up at this point, you’re likely screwed.

So, what do we do? We prepare well in advance. We have a plan for when the power goes out (our neighbors let us plug into their whole house backup generator). We make sure we have full tanks of gas in our cars, and we are ready to hit the road if need be. We have plenty of nonperishables in our cupboard, a ton of candles and flashlights, and enough bottled water to last us for a while. And we get our shutters up (which is a beast of a task on a two-story home, carrying those heavy sheets of metal and a power-drill up a 20-foot ladder).

And then we can ride out the storm. We can ride out the unexpected event of a hurricane making landfall where we live and destroying what we’ve built together.

Preparation is key in so many areas of life. And many of us are downright obsessive about it. If we own securities, we might check our app multiple times a day to see how they are doing. We might constantly buy more stocks with our earnings, or invest in gold or cryptocurrency or real estate or anything else – just to set ourselves up for the future. We might rebalance our portfolios and diversify just so we aren’t overexposed in one asset and can thereby reduce our vulnerability to volatility. We set up 401ks and IRAs to cover our expenses in retirement. And we set up college savings plans so that we can cover our kids’ tuition down the road.  Through these efforts, we are able to better handle any curveballs life throws our way.

Preparation is also so important when it comes to health, fitness, and longevity. Here as well, many of us are downright obsessive about it. Counting calories, checking food labels, trying various diets, running, sports, spin classes, boot camp, massages, chiropractic care, acupuncture, cryotherapy, yoga, meditation and mindfulness, annual checkups, colonoscopies (oh geez) – we invest in ourselves in these ways so that life is better for us in the future. So that life is easier because our preparation staved off certain health problems. And so that we are not overwhelmed and incapable of dealing with the unavoidable issues of old age.

Preparation requires sacrifice – the sacrifice of time, money, convenience, and comfort. Sacrifice is not fun, but it’s essential. This is clear when you think about your financial future as well as the future of your emotional and physical well-being. You sacrifice and put in the effort to do certain things now so that you are better off for it later. And pretty much every time, you’re so thankful that you prepared and sacrificed. It pays off.

I’m going to be honest right now and say that in this season of our lives, I really don’t want to go on a date night with Rachel. This doesn’t mean that I don’t love her to pieces, or that I don’t love spending time with her. I do. I’m just worn out (and so is she).

Well, I’ve been thinking about how this principle is also true when applied to marriage. I’m going to be honest right now and say that in this season of our lives, I really don’t want to go on a date night with Rachel. This doesn’t mean that I don’t love her to pieces, or that I don’t love spending time with her. I do. I’m just worn out (and so is she). But date nights mean everything to her, as she gets a break from the kids and has my undivided attention and we can just talk and relax and laugh and be with one another outside of the home.

And so, we go.

And even though date nights feel like a sacrifice to me right now (I know I sound like such a jerk for characterizing one-on-one time with a gorgeous, intelligent, and godly woman as a sacrifice), it is preparation for the future.

How?

Well, because it keeps our relationship healthy for the months and years to come.

If my relationship with Rachel gets rocky and starts to head towards divorce, that’s going to take a toll. A major toll, given the amount of money relationship problems cost and the amount of stress and misery they cause. In all actuality, it will ravage our finances, as well as our emotional and physical health. And so all of the sacrifices I’ve made for our savings and investing and retirement, and all of the sacrifices I’ve made for our health and fitness will be undermined, and maybe even squandered completely.

If my relationship with Rachel gets rocky and starts to head towards divorce, that’s going to take a toll. A major toll, given the amount of money relationship problems cost and the amount of stress and misery they cause. In all actuality, it will ravage our finances, as well as our emotional and physical health.

I don’t want to overspiritualize the point, but this approach is completely biblical. Proverbs 27:12 (NLT) says that “A prudent person foresees danger and takes precautions. The simpleton goes blindly on and suffers the consequences.” It makes sense, doesn’t it? It’s obvious in its truth. It’s just that it’s relatively easy and intuitive to do when it come to our finances and our health, but much harder when it involves other people. This is especially true with our spouses, who we sometimes (often?) take for granted.

Apart from God, nothing is more important than the partner He’s given us. Nothing. And I believe He will help you take care of your finances and your health if you prepare for the future by investing in that relationship, even as it involves a lot of sacrifice. But if you do things the other way around, and neglect the one He has gifted you, you’re going to jack everything up: your relationship, your finances, and health.

I believe with my whole heart that if I honor Rachel and our relationship, I am preparing for our future in the best way possible. By doing so, I am honoring God. And when I honor God, He honors me, and will bless all of the other sacrifices I’ve made.

Image source: https://bit.ly/3rdNKh4 – National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

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