Life is hectic. We find ourselves constantly waiting for the next season of life when “things will slow down.” They don’t. Part of contentment is making peace with the reality that life holds lots of responsibilities, and part of it is asking God to help us realign our values with His—daily, weekly, yearly redefining priorities, reassessing what is important and what matters most by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Married life is hectic.
Two people say “I do,” and now you have two schedules to juggle. Enter children and you suddenly find yourself with a dry-erase, color-coded wall calendar just to keep your head on straight.
Fast-forward a few months, a couple of years, and it isn’t uncommon to find a household and a marriage that is frustrated, tired, and feeling the weight of disconnection.
We have a God who created us within the element of time. It is a gift to us. God, through time, gives us an awareness of our mortality—that this life doesn’t last forever, and we need Jesus Christ. Through His forgiveness, we have the gift of eternity. But we were also created for now, for twenty-four-hour days. Time gives parameters and boundaries. This life is short. Widows and widowers will be the first to tell you—“Enjoy each day. Spend a little more time together than you intended. It goes so very fast.”
And so, at our house, and when I work with couples clinically, we embrace the marriage sandwich.
This sandwich does not have turkey, lettuce, or mayo with a side of chips and a pickle. This sandwich holds the gift of time for each other.
The best days begin and end in the arms of the Savior. Our bodies, minds, and spirits are fed and filled when we begin and end with the Word of God, with prayer and confession, and in thanksgiving to Him for all we have received.
Marriages, like individuals, also need to be fed.
Marriages thrive on God’s Word, praying together, confessing our sins together, and looking around in thanksgiving for the blessings of each day.
The marriage sandwich looks like this: a tiny bit of time in the morning and a tiny bit of time before bed—to connect, to reflect, and to wonder on what God did in our lives that day.
The marriage sandwich might take ten minutes out of your day. A good goal is to work up to a solid hour together each day. Thirty minutes in the quiet of the morning, a cup of coffee, a walk or run in the neighborhood, or trading conversation while brushing your teeth together. Thirty minutes in the evening, after everyone is tucked in, meetings have concluded, work or chores have been put away—sit together, share something that happened, sneak in a scoop of ice cream that you didn’t share with the kids. It sounds like a lot of work, and it might be at first, but it’s worth powering through.
This is a marriage fed. It’s not perfect, but it is present.
There are side benefits to the marriage sandwich that I didn’t see coming originally—rest, schedules that don’t control you, better communication, fewer misunderstandings, and a fair dose of passion that comes from being paid attention to, made important enough to spare a few moments.
Psalm 92:1–2 reminds us:
It is good to give thanks to the LORD,
to sing praises to Your name, O Most High;
to declare Your steadfast love in the morning,
and your faithfulness by night.
In the midst of the hectic and the hurry, sometimes all it takes is a sandwich, time offered to our spouse—whom we rise with each morning and lay down beside each night—to be reminded of Christ’s steadfast, perfect, present love for us.
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