You may be more aware of time now that our lives have slowed to a crawl. With schools closing, theme parks gone dark, workers being sent home, and sickness threatening our loved ones, time is loudly and slowly ticking by. Time used to fly. Now it seems to have landed and is screaming for our attention.
Can you relate?
What are we to do with all this time? There are only so many movies you can watch and too much screen time isn’t healthy for our kids or for us.
It may seem obvious to some, but in our normal fast-paced culture have we forgotten a basic of life? How to communicate face to face with those we love?
Our kids are used to being entertained, escorted from one activity to another, or steeped in team-related sports from the moment they awake until their heads hit the pillow at night. When they aren’t doing this, they are playing video games, texting or playing with friends or watching TV.
And us? We stay just as busy; packing lunches, doing laundry, cleaning house, yard work, helping with school homework. Not to mention our own work load outside of the home with our careers and church ministry. But what do we do now that we have all this time together?
If you are an empty-nester, your home may already seem eerily quiet. This social distancing has made the quiet even louder. You want to connect, but aren’t sure how to begin.
If your marriage is not in a great place, you may realize it now even more since there are no diversions to keep you distracted. You want to get the conversation started, but it seems awkward and is it really worth stirring it all up again?
If your kids avoid spending time with you, this has made the tension even more uncomfortable. You long for your family to enjoy being together during this time, but it all seems too far gone to redeem.
I have good news! God is in the relationship business. He knows how to restore what has been broken. Don’t lose heart. This may be the very time God has chosen to help you and your family grow and change. As long as you are breathing, there is hope!
For the Empty Nester:
- Do something unexpected to surprise your spouse.
- Be the one to initiate sex.
- Go for a walk at sunset holding hands.
- Spend time talking using our Date Night Questions (see top menu bar).
- Have another couple over to play cards or a board game.
- Put together a puzzle.
For the Struggling Couple:
- Purpose to be an encourager. Look for the good in your spouse and celebrate it.
- Reflect back on what attracted you to your spouse in the first place. Tell them!
- Do what you did at first, if you’ve lost your first love.
- Pray for your spouse and ask God to help you make the most of this time together.
- Read Cherish, by Gary Thomas. If your spouse will read it with you, that’s even better.
- Plan an in-home date night using our DRAB Dates as a springboard of ideas. (NOTE: DRAB stands for “Does Not Require Babysitter), because they’re all at home dates.
For the Family:
- Get outside together as much as possible
- Play hide and go seek or play Hide the Timer. (Take a kitchen timer, the kind the ticks loudly, and set it for 5 minutes. They have to find the timer before it goes off. The fun part of this game is they have to be quiet to listen for the timer.)
- Play a group video game like Just Dance
- Play 20 Questions. You start by thinking of something. They ask yes or no questions and try to figure out what you’re thinking.
- Have a No Screen Time policy during meals together. Ask your kids questions about topics that interest them.
The clock is tick-tocking away. May we seize this opportunity to connect with those who mean the most to us.
“Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.” Ephesians 5:15-16 ESV