Why Slowing Down and Saying Yes to Your Spouse Matters
Hurrying—it might just be the most dangerous sin of all because it doesn’t really feel like one. But busyness, hurry, and distraction have the greatest potential to steal the most joy from our lives. And joy, as a friend recently reminded me, is actually where our strength comes from (Nehemiah 8:10). When we say yes to the people in our lives who matter most—when we choose to be completely present, with hearts fully alive and filled with gratitude for this gift of life, delighting in God and in our people—we are at our strongest. It’s almost as if joy builds a shield of protection all around us, guarding us against the destructive distractions and busyness of the world. We will never truly enjoy our lives, our relationships, and our moments if we’re just rushing from one activity to the next.
Love simply cannot grow when we’re in too much of a hurry to cultivate it. Love only grows when we slow down long enough to cherish the people right in front of us, open our eyes to see the beauty they carry, and simply receive the delight of being fully present with them. True connection—giving our full, undistracted attention—is one of the best gifts we can give to our spouse, our kids, and to all the relationships we value most.
Thriving couples say yes to the small moments together.
There are countless things that need to be done over the course of a day. But the way in which we accomplish them does not have to mean plowing over or completely ignoring those we love, therefore stripping all meaning and connection from our day.
There is magic in the meantime.
What it means to number our days.
“Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” Psalm 90:12
I love how the psalm says, “Teach us to number our days.” It doesn’t come naturally; we need to be taught. So we begin by praying for what we lack. “Teach us, Lord, to make our days count. To open our eyes to see what truly matters most and to communicate our love by slowing down long enough to build true connection.”
Numbering our days means remembering they are all a gift from God—and that before we know it, they will all be gone. When we live with this mindset, we can walk through life with great intention, slowing down and saying yes to what truly matters most.
No matter where this finds you and your emotional connection to your spouse, strong or weak, the great news is we can begin today. We can choose to say yes to our spouse’s invitations for connection. These opportunities can be anything from “Hey, did you read that article I sent?” to “Hey, do you want to make love?” Simply the act of truly engaging them, of stopping whatever we’re doing to show genuine interest in our spouse and what they are saying to us, builds the connection that will add up over time. Every time we slow down to truly connect with our spouse leads us, step by step, into a thriving marriage.
Take a hurry inventory. What moments during your week do you find yourself most in a hurry? What happens as you relate to your spouse in those moments? What are some ways you can intentionally eliminate hurry around those activities? When I did this inventory, I found that, like a lot of families, Chris and I were the most hurried in the mornings: getting the kids up and fed, locating shoes and homework, making lunches, and finally rushing out the door. This frantic tornado is not my favorite way to start the day. For some reason, hurry at this time of day seems to bring out the very worst in all of us. So, as Dallas Willard famously said, “to ruthlessly eliminate hurry,” we began preparing everything the night before: assemble lunches, lay out / agree upon outfits (did we mention we have a lot of girls?), make sure all homework papers are packed and ready to go. It’s amazing how a little preparation can transform the morning from utter chaos to peaceful and even enjoyable.
What are some areas in your life where you feel most hurried? Ask your spouse if there are specific times they feel you are most distracted or rushed. What are some intentional ways you can proactively say yes to your spouse in those moments? This requires paying attention. Maybe your spouse has already been asking for a date night for months. Maybe they’ve dropped a hint or two about going camping together. Maybe they’re exploring what’s next in their career and need your full attention to help talk them through it. Maybe it’s been a while since you’ve been the one to initiate intimacy. Our job is to take notice, make a plan, and slow down long enough to meet them there.
Slowing down can’t always be scheduled. We must also develop the habit of choosing to say yes to the people in front of us, even if it feels inconvenient or uncomfortable. This might mean putting down the phone and looking your spouse in the eye. Or turning off the TV to really listen to what they’re trying to say. It may mean leaving the laundry for later to join in the family story time. Now, I understand this isn’t always possible. There are of course things we simply must get done—but that’s less often the case than we tend to believe. The point is this: Don’t let anything steal the gift of knowing and loving your people well. This day, this moment in front of us, is a great gift. Often the joy we lack is hiding in the invitations all around us to slow down and enjoy the moment.
Time equals love. We cannot simultaneously view life as a gift and rush right through it. Savoring it, cherishing it, requires slowing.
|“Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” – Psalm 90:12
1. Keep a running list with you of times throughout your week when hurry is creeping in. What are some ways you can proactively eliminate hurry from those areas of your life?
2. Be on the lookout this week for opportunities to slow down and say yes to your spouse.
3. Make a mental note of when you say yes or no this week. Who and what are you saying yes to? How can you shift your schedule and priorities to give more yes to those you love most?
4. Put a date on the calendar this week to soak up a sunset together.
Let’s keep the conversation going.
@jennigraebe @chrisgraebe @navpressbooks
@jennigraebe @chrisgraebe @navpresspublishing
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