Family time and togetherness is a priority, to the extent that we purposefully maintain an early bedtime for the children so we can have grown up time on the sofa each evening. This commitment to family togetherness on the weekend has become increasingly challenged by the fact that we are both driven by efficiency. We like to be productive and to work 'smarter not harder.' Divide and conquer becomes the name of the game.
This weekend, for example, we had to take one of our cars into the big city to be serviced, so we drove separately round trip (dividing the kids for a little one on one with Daddy.) Friday afternoon the kids went different directions at the pool so one of us staked out the shallow end while the other watched the deep water swimmers. Saturday we each had a long list around the house--again we divided and conquered. Sunday K had a 'girl party' to celebrate the birthday of a friend, so I took her while Daddy stayed behind with the boys.
As much as we love each other and enjoy one another's company, the tyranny of the urgent took over, efficiency was our goal and before we knew it the weekend had gone by with very little quality time (my love language!) Sunday evening I had an experience akin to looking down at my car's gas gauge and realizing I was suddenly below the red line. I didn't even recognize that my love tank was on the verge of empty until it was.
And then, like having that out of gas realization when miles from the next gas station, I realized we were on the eve of a very busy week. ARGH! Thankfully, we had a down night tonight so I was able to share all these thoughts with my husband and make reconnecting a priority. It didn't take a weekend away (although I advocate those!) I just needed 30-45 minutes of uninterrupted face time. I needed to hold his hand, hear about his day, tell him about mine--both of us free from any lists for just a little while.
Divide and conquer certainly has its place--but without some unite and conquer in there too, I start to feel like two trains on parallel tracks instead of a 'two-part invention' that is tracking together. Yes, we are to be help-mates--let's just not forget to be mates amidst all the helping.
My children refer to Satan as 'the sneaky snake' (a la Garden of Eden). It always makes me giggle, but there is such truth to that characterization. I think where the Enemy is most successful in wreaking havoc on relationships is by worming his way in so slyly you don't even recognize his presence. Dividing household lists and chores is a good thing, right? We were being responsible stewards of our time. And yet, not stopping to reconnect and refuel left me vulnerable to all kinds of crazy, hormonal thought patterns. (He's avoiding me. Is he angry with me? Maybe he just doesn't enjoy spending time with me. It's because he doesn't think I am pretty anymore.) Slow down, lady!!
In any sort of relationship, time together must be a priority--even over other good things.
It is the same with a quiet time, you know. It is fairly easy to know a lot about God, quote Scripture, read books, sit in the pew and never really feel connected to HIm in a meaningful way. Intimacy is about time together--either on the sofa (or equivalent) with your spouse or in the Word and prayer with your Maker.
Watch that gauge on your heart. Don't get caught on empty.