I am definitely the cheesy one in my relationship with my RP. Definitely. Today’s topic is just one example of this fact.
I may be alone here, but I really love new year’s resolutions. The name carries, however, a lot of baggage. We come in to a new year expecting in some ways to fail. No one comes out necessarily and says that but I think there is a little self doubt in all of us. So a couple of years ago I started drafting my yearly bucket list instead.
No, I didn’t see the Bucket List movie a couple years ago (although I do love that one John Mayer song that went with the movie), mainly because I know how it ends and get way too emotionally involved in movies in the first place, but I do like the concept of a bucket list–both for life and for the year! (I know that conceptually the title doesn’t make complete sense, but stick with me here).
In year’s past my bucket lists have included things like baking a pie (I didn’t get to this one, sadly), wearing more colors (I love black–but was relatively successful with this one), reading 12 books (success, however almost 50% of my total was read on vacation), and eating vegetables everyday (do tater-tots count?).
The bucket list item I want to share about for today’s post for RPW’s is setting aside dedicated time away with my RP.
The last couple of years we have set goals on our bucket list that have proven to be super helpful and life-giving in stressful seasons of ministry. It sort of evolved into what it is now, but I am thankful that it did.
For two years, we lived in a residence hall with 200+ freshmen women. During the academic year, I was only allowed to be gone one weekend a month, which we soon learned became a must in order to protect my sanity. But with a spouse in ministry where Sundays are the big day of the week, weekends and time away from work proved to be difficult. So we had to be creative and intentional about setting time away for rest and to reconnect.
Some of our weekends in the first semesters were spent with family, while others were just the two of us camping or taking a day trip somewhere (I’m partial to outlet malls, and Josh is partial to reading in the car while I shop at outlet malls).
But last year we decided to put a number on it for weekends away just the two of us. 4. Once a quarter (this sometimes included a Sunday off, but not always.). And we accomplished it. We planned ahead and were able to have meaningful, restful time away that we looked forward to throughout the year.
Let’s get this straight: I work in higher ed and am married to a pastor, so it’s not like we have an endless supply of cash for extravagant weekends away in fancy hotels eating nothing but filets and gold-leafed desserts (I prefer McFlurries). That’s where the creativity came into play. Here are a couple ideas:
- Priceline. William Shatner isn’t kidding around.
- Camping. (If you hate camping, please move to the next bullet.) There’s nothing like sleeping in a tent or sitting around a fire for us. It’s great time to connect with each other and with the Lord. And cheap! Especially if you really rough it!
- Pair it with professional development. Are you traveling for a conference? Make it into a couple trip if you can. Learning together can be a really great way to connect.
- Tell others what your goal is. My RA staff knew how important it was for us to get away and they helped us make that happen with a gift certificate to a cottage for a night. Clearly I’m not saying that you should put on your facebook, “Who wants to send us to B & B?” But I do think you can communicate with those you’re close with for holidays or birthdays about what your goal is and others who love and care about you can help you make it happen.
- Who can you visit? My best friend and her husband live in Chicago. Some of my favorite weekends away have been staying with them. They are safe people for us that get life in ministry and have been walking alongside us in our journey since the beginning. Who are safe people for you that you can visit?
I know that none of this is rocket science, so I’m not trying to make it sound like this is the best idea since the Bella Band (I love my Bella Band, ladies). But I just think it’s so important that it has to be a priority for us.
As we even are venturing into parenting, I am sure this will look different in years to come–but the focus is still the same: what kind of specific time investment will you make in 2012 for your marriage?
I’m sure I’m missing some and that many readers have found ways to make weekends away work. What thoughts do you have about investing in your marriage? What works for you?
Thanks for reading!