14 years ago when I got married, I knew, on some level, that marriage would be hard.
Perhaps one of the more surprising giants has been busyness. As we try to balance life with 3 young children, two incomes, and a healthy lifestyle, time seems to slip through our fingers. Over the years, we have found five things that help us stay connected when life is busy:
1. Turn off the Screens.
There is something to say for putting our phones down and turning off the TV. With countless amounts of data now pointing to the epidemic of distracted smartphone users, it is no wonder that distraction finds its way into the home and into our relationships. Conversely, we can build connection by putting down the devices and looking each other in the eyes, talking more, and capitalize on those passing moments we have together.
2. Share the Load
When life is busy, the responsibilities can pile up. The grass gets too long, the pantry too bare, and the kids need bathed. My husband and I have found that assigning each other chores doesn’t work for us, but sharing the burden of the load does. If I insist that taking out the trash is his job or if he waits for me to do the dishes, they may not get done. What we can do is take care of the things we notice. If the grass is tickling my knees and making me grumpy, then I tackle it. If he runs out of clean underwear, guess what he does? If the kids need to eat and a book report is due…we divide and conquer. Sharing the load not only relieves the burdens but it also creates more time together.
3. Pray Together
Praying for each other is probably the single most important thing we do. Praying together reveals concerns and helps us become unified. It invites God to carry our burdens so that we can care for each other better. Prayer moves mountains, heals wounds, and softens our hearts. Prayer allows us to care for each other in ways we can’t always articulate.
4. End The “Day” Together
We’ve had periods when we’ve lived separate sleep/work schedules. But, when possible, we end the day together. By this I mean, to take time to sit together, go to bed together, and be in a restful state together. We can get so caught up in the doing that we forget how to be still, but undistracted space leaves time for the things that need time.
5. Don’t Forget to Touch
I don’t mean physical intimacy, although that could apply. What I mean is that when we are busy, we can get so caught up in the chaos that kisses, hugs, and simply holding hands can fade into the distance. Touch is essential! Those of us who need less touch can forget how essential it is. Just don’t hug me when I’m mad unless you want kicked in the shin.
Staying connected when we are busy is hard. But, when we make it a priority, it isn’t impossible. And, the more connected we are, the healthier our relationship is, and that’s something worth fighting for.