Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. – Matthew 11:28
We’re busy. Crazy busy. At least that’s what we’ve been telling ourselves – for a long time. We’ve got deadlines to meet, classes to teach, meetings to attend, emails to exchange, articles to write, seminars to give … oh, and then there’s kids to raise, a house to keep up, friendships to maintain, and, well, our marriage.
It’s become our default response when asked how we’re doing: “Busy!”
And we’re not the only ones. Almost every couple we talk to is quick to say how busy they are. We recently tried to get three other couples together for some fun and after several rounds of emailing schedules back and forth we all eventually gave up. Too busy.
Being busy gives us license to arrive late, slip out early or be absent altogether. And in a relationship like marriage, busyness can keep us from connecting at an intimate and vulnerable level.
The final “horseman” is stonewalling which occurs when couples reach rock bottom. Feeling overwhelmed by emotions, stonewallers withdraw by presenting a “stone wall” response. They try to keep their faces immobile, avoid eye-contact, hold their necks rigid, and avoid nodding their heads or making the small sounds that would indicate they are listening. When stonewalling enters a conflict, so does icy distance, and disapproval.
Busyness can keep us from having a conversation that’s overdue. It can prevent us from confronting an issue like mounting financial debt or the lack of passion you feel in the bedroom. Busyness can keep us from dreaming and planning together.
“When we get too caught up in the busyness of the world, we lose connection with one another – and ourselves.”
So what can couples do to wrestle busyness to the ground? Here’s what we’re doing: We’re no longer using “busy” as a boast disguised as a complaint. Ever done that? Here’s how it works:
“How have you been?”
“That’s a good problem to have.”
Boom! We get complimented for having a life that’s jam-packed because of a to-do list that’s off the rails. But being busy is not a “good problem to have.” So we’re no longer seeking this kind of congratulations. Instead, we’re shoring up obligations that keep us in a frenetic hustle.
Most of all, we’re choosing to remember that the best investment of our limited time on earth is spending it with each other and the people we love – in addition to following the path God calls us to travel. So we’re taking our foot off the gas a bit more, remembering that life is too short to be busy.
Feel like joining us? If so, why not pray this simple prayer today – and several times throughout the day: Lord, Slow me down, keep me present. Help me connect more deeply to you and my family today. Amen.