A few weeks ago, I was talking to a friend about my experience at a week-long silent retreat. My friend was envious of my time away from day-to-day tasks, which completely consume his and his wife’s time. They both work from home and have a one-year-old son. The nighttime routine of getting him fed, bathed, story time and asleep is especially difficult when they are also tired from the day.
My friend said it felt like his day was filled with endless chores and busywork. Every moment seemed to be scheduled. I asked him why he did all of those things, and he responded that he wanted his son to have a routine, boundaries, and some discipline. I remarked that he must love his son to do all of those things every day and he said, “Yes, of course I do!” “You are doing it out of love then,” I said, “not because it is busywork.” That helped him see what he is doing in a new light.
Still, even when we love our family members, everyday life can be overwhelming. My wife and I have found that setting aside some time together at least once a month allows us to enjoy one another’s company without chores or distractions. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy or expensive, but it does have to be on the calendar. Here is a link to a site sponsored by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops with some ideas. (I’ll also offer one of ours: We’ve been known to drive up Hinckley just to get some cinnamon rolls from Tobies!)
Praying together is also very important as it strengthens the bonds of marriage and builds intimacy. If you are not in the habit, we strongly encourage you to start. Again, it doesn’t have to be long or complicated. Pray about what is on your heart and bless one another when you are finished.
My friend liked the idea of praying as a family, but couldn’t see how they could possibly fit it in. I suggested converting part of storytime into prayer time, and he is giving it a try. If you are ready to go deeper in prayer, consider subscribing to one of the following publications that offer prayers for morning and evening, the traditional times of daily prayer for the church:
Give Us This Day