Join us in welcoming one of our newest contributors, Nicole Behnke, to For The Family. Nicole is helping you plan and prepare time away with your spouse. ~Pat and Ruth
I have been on an airplane fourteen times in my life. Ten of those times have been since I have become a parent and it has been without my kids. Actually, I have gone on more vacations and weekends away with just my husband over the past two in a half years than ever before and it has been wonderful and absolutely needed.
Before kids, we went on trips and spent time away together and although it was fun, I wouldn’t call many of those adventures a necessity. They were more like a bonus. Currently, with three kids running wild, that is not the case. An occasional break from the long string of endless “Mommy/Daddy I need you!” has become a necessity. Without it, we turn on our crazy-parent mode and nobody wants that; especially our kids.
Crazy-parent mode puts us in a state of tunnel vision. We put our heads down and push forward eventually finding that we are simply driving through life. We become stressed out, exhausted, frazzled, and unhappy. That’s when it begins to overflow into our parenting, marriage, self-value, and relationships.
We have learned with occasional and planned out time away from our kids we can avoid crazy-parent mode. It also turns out that time away from our kids actually makes us better parents.
In theory, time away sounds great, but any parent out there knows logistically it can be overwhelming. Who do you use for childcare? How will the schedules be managed without your marked-up color-coded calendar? Where in your budget can you find the extra money needed to make time away with your spouse a reality?
As complex as these questions can feel at first, we have found that the answer to them is fairly basic.
You have to be incredibly intentional and strategic.
You have to plan time away months ahead, start tucking money away in small amounts and pray for God to bless your effort. Being able to spend well-appointed time away with your spouse likely won’t happen on a whim.
Planning and preparation need to be an accepted part of the process.
For my husband and I, we often sit down once or twice a year with our calendar, our budget, and a strong cup of coffee. We really talk about options. Sometimes we are able to go away for a week while other seasons we have had to arrange a staycation in our own home. We pencil in a few date options, make a to-do list, and start asking friends and family if they might be available to watch our children.
I guarantee that at some point in the planning and preparation the thought will likely cross your mind that it may have been easier to just stay home. When these feelings come, push them way because well-appointed time away with your spouse is worthwhile and healthy.
When God created the heavens and the earth in Genesis, He modeled working hard for six days and taking time to rest on the seventh. So often we read that and think that anyone would need a break after creating the world so of course, God rested. when in reality God doesn’t need to rest. He modeled this for us with purpose. We weren’t created to be “on” all the time. We were created to regularly take time to rest and rejuvenate. This concept extends to our marriages and families as well.
Sometimes we just need a break to be encouraged and to rest in Him.
I know it sounds backward but it is true. When we are refreshed and in our right minds we are not only better parents but a better spouse as well. We are more loving, joyful, peaceful, kind, good, faithful, gentle, and self-controlled (Galatians 5:22). As these fruits of the Spirit sharpen in our lives, we will begin to know and become more like Jesus and that is the key to loving our families well.