You’re married, you work hard, you have a family to support, and you are completely stressed out. I know exactly where you’re coming from. I’ve been there, done that. I’ve been doing it for nineteen years.
Yes, we’ve all heard about how our world is becoming increasingly a fast-paced society where we often skip meals, rush out the door with no “goodbyes”, and rush back in the same door with no time to say “hello.” It’s definitely true that American (and world) families are under stress like never before.
One way to keep a marriage on track is to remember that there are times when a couple “must get away” from the stress of this fast-paced routine we’ve become to accustom to. Couples need to seek out recreational time in order to fight stress, engage in some meaningless chatter (yes, you heard me), and experience the world around them.
My wife and I enjoy going to the movies and sporting events. Other couples I know enjoy bowling, golfing, or walking on the beach. These moments of escape from our jobs, our chores at home, and commuting from place to place often become our moments to truly investigate, evaluate, and rate the important aspects of our lives. When we are not focused so heavily on our work, we are free to examine who we are, or even who we think we are. Reflecting on such things along with your significant other can truly strengthen a relationship.
What? You need examples of strengthening relationships with my previous advice. Okay, I got ‘em. You and your spouse decide to play tennis one day as part of your “get away” time. Neither of you have played tennis in many years. As you start to volley the tennis ball back and forth, you discover that you seem to be equally matched at the sport. Also, at the end of a few hours of play, the two of you feel energized and more alert. You both agree that playing tennis once a week would be good for your health. An agreement is reached, and the two of you meet every Friday afternoon to improve you tennis game, get in shape, and discuss the week’s events on a more intimate level.
Doug and Sally (mythical characters I just created) decide to go see a movie about “World War II” for their “get away” time. During the movie, there is a scene that depicts the German Blitz against England, and Sally begins to tell Doug more about her grandfather, who died as a direct result of the war. The two make a pact to do some extra research about her grandfather’s life and pass the information on to their children. For the next few months, the couple discovers remarkable new information about Sally’s grandfather that they share with her entire side of the family; he took in more than 50 orphaned children to live with him in his modest home near St. Paul’s Cathedral in London during the war.
Doug and Sally decide to help others research the historical records of their loved one. Their work brings them closer together; all because their “get away” time allowed them to look at their lives from a different perspective. It also allowed them the time and energy to get their creative juices flowing. “Get away” time gives the mind time to examine thoughts and feelings we don’t often have time to process at work or at home.
God created us with a brain that has allowed us to defeat Smallpox and travel into outer space. To ignore the capacity and capability of our brains to learn new things and experience new places is not part of God’s plan for us. Proverbs 12:15 (NIV) says, “The way of a fool seems right to him, but a wise man listens to advice.”
Often, we can hear advice better when our minds are at rest. And if you want to get to know yourself and your spouse a little better, use your “get away” time to do just that.