Let No Hobby Separate

You don’t have to be reminded to prioritize what you treasure.

We make space for what we love the most. No one has to convince us to take time for the things we love to do. We will even forsake rest and relaxation for the simple opportunity to continue with a hobby we adore. Jesus taught that “where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” (Luke 12:34). What we talk about most and what we spend the most time on often reveals what we treasure the greatest. 

Regardless of how organized or unorganized you might claim to be, every person struggles with specific tasks and gravitates toward others. Unfortunately, we must often be reminded of the importance of maintaining spiritual disciplines to grow closer to the Lord. We all have those laborious tasks at work that we must be strongly encouraged to complete. Many of us fail to prioritize our marriages until we are coaxed, urged, or guilted. And yet, many of us have at least one activity that requires no reminders.  

We each have that particular thing that relentlessly captures our attention and affection. Our hobbies can easily become our obsessions when we spend more thoughts, time, effort, and money on them than anything else. You know what it is, and so does everyone else around you.  

Hobbies Can Be Beneficial

Having a hobby is not necessarily an evil thing. If remaining in its proper place, a hobby can be a beneficial investment for you. Many of us need to engage in some regular activities that help us change up our daily schedule and marvel at God’s gifts. If used correctly, an enjoyable hobby can cause us to glorify God and enjoy all of his good gifts (James 1:17).  

Beware that there is always an outlying danger, even for the most unsuspecting ideas or activities. Some hobbies are evil simply due to the nature of the activity. For the disciple of Jesus, some hobbies should be avoided due to their propensity to encourage sinful behaviors and to associate with depraved thinking (Eph. 4:17). Other hobbies can become evil due to the nature of our obsession with the activity. Not sinful in of itself, an enjoyable hobby can still cause a well-meaning person to neglect essential priorities for the believer.  

A good thing can become a bad thing when it becomes the one thing to the neglect of the essential things.     

Finding Balance

It’s all about balance. If you fail to achieve parity with nurturing family life and enjoying a healthy hobby, then a good thing becomes a bad thing. When driven to excess, a hobby that should help establish a healthier you do the exact opposite. Even if a hobby is a good thing, your family will learn to resent it if it takes time and affection away from them.  

Your spouse will despise “the better you” if he or she isn’t able to be around “the better you” as often. Once we invest time or resources into something, we can’t use them on another. There’s only so much to go around.  

Working out can move from glorifying God by keeping our bodily temples healthy to glorifying ourselves by obsessing about our physical progress. Your spouse will probably desire the five-pound heavier you in the house than the five-pound lighter you in the gym. Any activity that always takes Saturdays away from your spouse limits your emotional intimacy since your day off from work turns into another day apart from each other.  

Vehemently protecting time in a particular leisure activity while neglecting time to date your spouse rapidly dilutes a marriage. I have counseled many couples who are near divorce due to one spouse’s downright obsession with a hobby. Your spouse can begin to despise the hobby which he or she initially encouraged as a healthy outlet for you. The other spouse felt jealous of the hobby and untrusting of the friends associated with the hobby.

The Danger of Your Children’s Hobbies

Your or your spouse’s hobby can hurt your marriage, but so can your child’s. Many parents turn into a chauffeur service shuttling their children to and fro from every hobby imaginable. Oftentimes, these hobbies will take the individuals away from opportunities to be the church, the family away from pivotal and limited time together, and the spouses away from time to connect.  

Is the hobby that has your family running ragged going to pay the dividends back of what it costs you now? If they don’t get the scholarship, make the team, or turn the hobby into a profession, was it worth these temporal commitments to disconnect from forever relationships? It might not be worth the significant investment.  

Love Your Spouse and Like Your Hobbies

In your marriage, you need a balance regarding your hobbies. Love your spouse and like your hobbies. If you begin to love these temporal hobbies more than your God-honoring commitments, you might run the risk of idolatry.

For all that is in the world – the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life – is not from the Father but is from the world.  

1 John 2:16

Your fleshly desires will rob you of spiritual pursuits. If your hobby has no eternal weight to it, don’t waste the majority of your hours of this temporal life upon it. Learn to seek contentment with the good things on earth (1 Tim. 6:6) while prioritizing seeking the godly things above (Col. 3:2; Matt. 6:33). Don’t conform to this culture (Rom. 12:2) by obsessing over your hobbies in an unhealthy manner.  

As a couple, seek agreement on what is healthy and appropriate for one’s personal enjoyment as well as for the marriage’s overall well-being. Be ready to explain your passions fully without exaggerating, and be willing to listen to your spouse’s desires without responding in a belittling or begrudging way. The quickest way to infuriate your spouse is to discredit something for which he or she genuinely loves. Agree upon reasonable and wise actions in order to prioritize that which deserves prioritizing.    

What God has joined together, let no hobby separate.

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