Last week I told the story of how God began to fill my empty bucket so that I could “love well.” This week is about the biggest obstacle I’ve found to loving my husband well, and that is TIME. Unscheduled, unhurried, time.
My days are filled with many good things. I’m grateful that I’m home full-time. I can invest my time in my kids, my home, my church, and my community. If I’m not aware, though, a type of drift takes place, which draws me away from my first priority after God: my husband.
For me, the drift happens when my days are built around too much activity. When I say “yes” to an activity, I end up spending the time on it that’s mine to give to my husband. In my home, this happens when I say“yes” to select sports for my kids, volunteering at school, and even some “religious” things like Bible study and prayer groups. Your list may look different. The consequence of all this activity is that I’m not home very much, because I’m rushing from thing to thing. There’s not a lot of margin in my days and this gets exhausting.
At the heart of all of this is the pull of performance and perfectionism. The world whispers that our kids must be the best. The world whispers that I must be productive. It whispers about all the things that I should do and have. I sure don’t hear many whispers from the world about loving my husband well. As a Christ-follower, Jesus calls me to obey just one commandment. John 15:12 says, My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. I’ve realized that I must make some radical changes, because all the messages from the culture scream something different. This is counter cultural, old-fashioned stuff. It’s not very popular.
The time it takes to love our husbands well consists of time when we’re with them and time when we’re not. I’m learning to pay attention to my physical energy and emotional reserves when I’m not with my husband during the day, so that I can offer him my best at the end of the day. I’m learning to say “no” to ten things before I say “yes” to one. I’m learning that I need chunks of alone time at home during the day so I can be quiet, pray, journal. I sometimes nap. I read. I take a walk. The result is that I’m rested when my husband comes home. I have some emotional reserves left for him. I keep my weekends and evenings open for him, so that unplanned conversation and connection can happen.
I’m learning which activities are life giving for me (Bible study, time with my girlfriends, exercise) and which suck the life from me (volunteering at school, shopping, errands). In other words, I’m learning to count the cost. How about you? These verses have helped me with count the cost: