A Manual on Marriage and Multitasking

Deuteronomy 24:5a, "When a man hath taken a new wife, he shall not go out to war, ..."

The Bible is full of different styles of verbal communication such as promises, prophecies, commands, probabilities, parables, principles, allegories, etc. It is not my desire, nor do I have time, to define all these different styles in this article. Sufficient to say that this verse contains a principle that would fit in any culture, at any time, and would be wise to heed now in our day.

May I give you a "keenism" - sometimes known as a KEEN JAMES VERSION loose paraphrase? "Men should not attempt to enter into two major lifestyle changes simultaneously." Wife and War serve as examples of two major lifestyle changes. The Bible does not say it's sinful, or makes you a bad Christian if you do both at the same time, but suggests very strongly that it is not a wise thing to do.

The reasoning behind this verse is that it takes a lot of time and adjustment to become a good husband and it takes a lot of time and work be a good soldier - especially when you are new in these roles. This is no time to be double minded (James 1:8). If we spread ourselves too thin, we will not be good at being either a husband or a soldier.

I think our verse also creates for us a priority. Being a good husband is more important than being a good soldier - she should get first place. "... but he shall be free at home one year, and shall cheer up his wife which he hath taken." (Deuteronomy 24:5b). In the matter of time it takes being a soldier, it is a good thing; but not the first thing. It can wait, and should wait, while this new couple gets to know each other.

Another place I think you should not multitask early in your marriage is trying to learn to be a good mate while simultaneously trying to learn to be a good parent. Being a husband requires a major lifestyle adjustment and being a new dad is no less of an adjustment. God is encouraging you to spend some time getting to know each other before you invite some little ill-mannered intruder into your life who will force you to reorder your days and shorten your nights.

Another area in marriage that we should not rush into is debt. Young couples are bombarded with advertisement and credit card applications. The young husband wants to "keep up with the Jones" and getting married doubles your family income. If you're not careful, you end up with a lot of debt, maxing out the credit cards. It all sounds good until she gets pregnant, must quit her job, and you're back with a single salary situation. I think the solution is to live on his income and save hers, until they can buy most of the items they want with cash.

It is believed by many marriage counselors that one of the major causes of divorce is debt. There was a time we promised to live together until death - now we live together until debt. A good rule of thumb would be to let your budget determine your spending limits and not your available credit.

The secret to dealing with multitasking in marriage (but could be applied to any other relationship) is not in non-multitasking, for all of us must wear many "hats" and keep many "plates spinning" simultaneously. Dr. Bob Jones, Sr. said, "Duties do not conflict." I have not always found that to be true. What I have found to be true is that duties of equal value do not conflict.


Written by Dr. Charles F. Keen
October 2, 2019