The beeps. The buzzes. The vibrations. The earbuds. The squinting eyes. The bluish glow. They all indicate that the world has invaded our homes in new ways through online portals, and it clamors for our attention. Relationships at home suffer when we are so distracted that we abandon the ones we love...or ought to love. That leads to sadness and loneliness. The unmitigated invasion of the online world into our homes ruins marriages. As husbands know, a happy wife means a happy life. Conversely, when mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy!
Part of the problem, especially for men, is that these online portals call us to legitimate responsibilities in the world beyond the home in addition to the illegitimate ways they clamor for our attention. The good news is that there is nothing new. Even in Moses’ day, God addressed the challenge of a man’s responsibility in the world and his calling to make his wife happy.
"When a man is newly married, he shall not go out with the army or be liable for any other public duty. He shall be free at home one year to be happy with his wife whom he has taken” (Deuteronomy 24:5).
Notice the key: dedicated time. Take time to be happy with your wife, or literally to make your wife happy. The particular law for that culture not only gave a man time to produce offspring before being called off to war, but it also forbade other public duties. The purpose was to lay a solid foundation for years of successful marriage. The prior verses in the chapter regulated divorce. This verse teaches us how never to get there.
It’s still a good thing for newly married couples to set aside responsibilities in the world to cultivate happiness together. But think about the principle being carried over beyond the first year. It also applies to other relationships under the same roof, whether they be with children, siblings, or roommates. Probably the best thing we can do to make a happy wife is to give dedicated time to one another at the beginning of a day, an evening, and/or a week.
Since the world streams into our homes electronically, it's pretty easy to see that setting the world's concerns aside means shutting the online door. This should be common sense. But recognize that this is God’s direction. He teaches us how to have a happy home. Dedicated time away from the world is his formula to equip us for strong relationships when the time is right for us to engage the world with vigor.
Figure out how to make it happen in your situation. Shut the world out of your home for specific times of the day. Put all the devices aside for set time. Then, take up those obligations with the world again. The warriors at work calling you to battle online can wait. Your online community will survive without your cultural commentary. Your friends in the world will make it without you in those times. But your wife won’t. Your kids won’t. Make them happy by being with them. Heed God’s call to be free at home for dedicated times. You’ll have a happy wife. You’ll have a happy life.