Have the demands of your personal and professional life found you echoing, “I’m too busy to find time to rest”? Is your business becoming a badge of honor? Are your children’s needs overrunning your calendar? Are your community activities dominating your days? Is lack of time and rest causing distance between you and your spouse?
Time is one of the most important resources that we have; yet in this day and age, it’s becoming more monopolized by business and family than it is stewarded well with intention and care. Society today meets us with more pressure to succeed, and we are setting fewer boundaries for personal time than ever before. I fear the overarching result is a lack of intimate connection with God and our spouse.Even in the midst of all these demands, we can and should find rest. Have you made rest a priority for yourself and with your spouse? If your answer is no, I urge you to reconsider the true importance of observing a Sabbath.
We don’t have to look further than Genesis 2:3 to see God instructing us to rest. “So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all his work that he had done in creation.” In Exodus 20:8-10 it is commanded that we observe a Sabbath, “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the LORD your God.”
In these two verses, we are not only commanded to rest but called to enjoy it. In the book of Genesis, God rested after six days of creating, taking time to enjoy the fruits of his labor. What a gift! With God as our example, we have no excuse. We have so much to learn about finding a rhythm of rest. Here are five steps you can take toward finding rest together with your spouse.
1. Schedule it on your calendar
How you spend your time is proof of what is important to you. Our priorities shift as we face distractions, and if we don’t schedule time to rest, we are more likely to skip it. Talk to your spouse, sync your calendars, and keep your date. Good habits form over time.
2. Plan and prepare for it
They key to doing anything successfully isplanning and preparation. I’m not suggesting that you set aside a day of rest and then plan out hour by hour, but I am suggesting that there be intentional thought put into your time. As you approach the day you have set aside and have tasks looming over your head, get them done the day before. Catch up on email, clean the house, check off your to-dos. This will clear a healthy space in your mind to allow you to rest. If you spouse is overwhelmed, offer to help! You’re better together, and it’s never a bad idea to serve one another.
3. Try something new together
Sometimes a day of rest will literally look like a day of doing nothing at all. And let’s be honest, we all need that from time to time. But one way to enjoy the Sabbath together would be to try something new. It could be as simple as cooking a new meal together, or participating together in a reflective or creative project. Shared experiences create memories and can rejuvenate your relationship with your spouse at the same time. Part of the beauty of having a spouse is having that one person to enjoy life and create memories with.
4. Place importance on intimacy
Without intimacy, marriages suffer. And I’m not just talking about sex, though that is an obvious and important way to stay intimately connected to your spouse. An uninterrupted conversation is a great way to increase intimacy. It could look like praying together, taking a walk, or sharing a slow meal. Ultimately, your spouse should be a place to find rest. Taking time for each other, regardless of how it is spent, will build lasting intimacy in your marriage.
5. ENJOY IT!
Do you feel guilty when you are resting? Well, you shouldn’t! Remember, it is commanded that we find a day of rest. And not only that, but we should enjoy it, just as God did. After all, what good is all of your hard work if you never take the time to enjoy the fruits of your labor? Taking a Sabbath with your spouse should be restful, enjoyable, and ultimately something you look forward to.
So there you have it. If you haven’t been practicing a consistent day of rest for yourself and with your spouse, then what are you waiting for? Carve out some time in your schedule, talk to your spouse, plan and prepare and truly enjoy it. You will find yourself more connected to God and your spouse. It is a worthwhile investment that you won’t regret!