Last week I wrote a post on letting God bring “the breath of life” into your marriage (you can read that post HERE). While receiving that breath of life from one’s mate can greatly enhance a marriage, the healthiest relationships are when each spouse is also healthy within themselves. So part of restoring the breath of life into your relationship with your mate is giving yourself room to breathe as well.
Because we live in such a frenetic world in which a person’s worth is judged by his/her busyness, even the most basic self-care can be routinely compromised. What would it mean for your spouse if you made sure you were operating at your best so that you could better engage with him/her? Remember, you can only pour so much out of a cup before you have to refill it.
I know it sounds simplistic, but if you and your spouse attend to the following five things, so many of the other stresses in life that can impact your covenant marriage relationship will be significantly diminished.
- Sleep. God created our bodies to need daily rest. The average adult needs 6 to 8 hours of quality, restful sleep per night. Just think about how many of your emotions, actions, and reactions are compromised when you are tired. Consistent sleep allows our bodies to detox and renew, regenerate, and rebuild.
- Diet. Eating regularly and eating healthy are necessary for a balanced life. Are you getting protein, fruits and vegetables, and other necessary nutrients every day? A healthy diet is the fuel that makes our bodies go, and neglecting it empties your tank.
- Exercise. As strange as it seems, energy begets energy. When we exercise, it recharges us. Not everyone is going to run a marathon, or work for a bodybuilder’s physique, or be super competitive, but even a brisk walk several times a week can make a significant difference in how you feel.
- Spiritual health. This is not just about going to church (although it is important to be connected to a good faith community). It is about finding shalom in your life. Shalom is the Hebrew word that we normally translate “peace,” but it’s more than a temporary absence of conflict. It is an abiding contentment that anchors your soul in Christ even when life is swirling around us.
- Time for self. What do you have a passion for? What makes you feel alive inside? How do you stretch your creative and/or intellectual muscles? For some, time for self seems… well… selfish. But we all need time to disengage from everything else and engage in the activities that refill our cups and give us a boost.
All of the five things mentioned above are desperately needed and must be prioritized to breathe life into us individually. But, like everything else in life, they are needed in balance. Out of balance, any of these can become a distraction, an obsession, or an addiction and take away from a healthy, Christ-centered marriage. In balance, they allow you to breathe so that you can be the breath of life to your mate.