Spirit-Led Woman

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The SpiritLed Woman podcast is empowering women weekly to follow their purpose in Christ and boldly walk in faith. Listen at charismapodcastnetwork.com.

A man walked into a Burger King in Ypsilanti, Mich., at 7:50 a.m., flashed a gun and demanded cash. The clerk said he couldn't open the cash register without a food order. When the wannabe robber ordered onion rings, the clerk said they weren't available for breakfast. The frustrated man stormed out of the restaurant.

In Tennessee, a burglar realized he'd left his Nikes at the home he'd just robbed. So he returned and asked the lady of the house if she'd seen his shoes. She called the cops, and the guy was arrested.

The mistakes criminals make could fill a book. In fact, they have. Leland Gregory's The Stupid Crook Book reveals dozens of real-life stories about captured criminals who are so dumb you almost feel sorry for them.

But we want to show you how to catch the most common time bandits of your day. Beware. These crooks are far smarter than the inept criminals you just read about. You may not even be aware of how much time they are stealing from your marriage.

Of course, there are literally dozens of time bandits walking off with time you could have spent on each other, but the following four are the most common and the sneakiest.

Unfinished Business
One of the greatest time bandits prowling around your relationship is the past. When you are weighed down by regret, pain or guilt over things that happened two decades ago or two hours ago, you will no longer be able to live fully in the present.

Unfinished business consumes your time like few competitors. Why? Because the brain remembers incomplete tasks or failure longer than any success or completed activity.

Once a project is complete, the brain no longer gives it priority or active working status. But regrets have no closure. The brain continues trying to come up with ways to fix the mess and move it to inactive status. But it can't—not until you work to close it.

If you need to gain closure on anything from your past, the first place to begin is where it hurts. Healing your hurts is essential to feeding your time-starved marriage, not to mention your own emotional health. Why? Because healing the pain from your past protects you from repeating the pain in your present marriage.

This may sound strange, but if we never come to terms with our past pain, we use our marriage as a means to make it right. The trouble is, marriage was never designed to do that. You'll just continue to repeat relationship problems and replay your pain again and again.

Once you identify the loose ends of pain from your past, you'll need to work on resolving them. You may need to apologize to someone you've hurt or forgive someone who's hurt you.

You may need to return something that's not yours or regain something that rightfully belongs to you.

The goal is to deal with the unfinished business from your past. You'll be amazed by how much time you'll reclaim for your marriage by doing so.

Some guys are car freaks. Some are sports nuts. Me? I'm a gadget guy. I love the latest and greatest technology.

When I first heard of something called Wi-Fi, I was giddy. A wireless network in my own home! Now Leslie and I could work, pay bills or check our e-mail from any corner of the house: the kitchen, living room and patio, even the bedroom.

The wireless network was just what I needed to carve out more quality time for Leslie and me and our family. Or so I thought.

On the first day of my new wireless life, I checked the headlines of a half-dozen newspapers while sitting at the breakfast table. I scanned the television listings for my evening's viewing. And I checked the course enrollments for my upcoming college class; I was hooked.

That night, after tucking our boys in, we were in bed—just me, Leslie and my Sony laptop. I needed one more look at my e-mail. Leslie, on the other hand, needed to talk.

"When you're done with that, I want to tell you about my day tomorrow," she said.

"OK, go ahead," I said as I clicked away on my keyboard.

"Can we talk without that thing in our bed?" she said, pointing at my computer.

Uh-oh. This isn't good, I thought. Thankfully, I screened out my first impulsive response: Why don't you instant message me?

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