They were so absorbed in their “God projects” that they didn’t notice God right in front of them, like a huge rock in the middle of the road. And so they stumbled into him and went sprawling. –Romans 9:32 MSG paraphrase
One underlying problem of people who lack marital intimacy is being constantly stressed. Everyone has some stress in their life, but far too many couples are out-of-control busy and tell us that their lives are just too hectic and stressed out. Stress just may be the number-one intimacy breaker for couples.
Our advice is to ruthlessly seek to eliminate stress from your life. At the risk of sounding overly simplistic, you may need to practice what the Hebrews called the Sabbath. The word literally means “to rest.” Do you have regular times of rest? If you don’t, then you are in or rapidly moving toward burnout. Even God rested on the seventh day of Creation. The Bible says, “He rested and was refreshed.” In Hebrew, the word for refreshed was more like “he rested and exhaled.” We love that word picture. Sometimes when we are stressed we just need to relax and exhale. Couples who are wound up too tight don’t draw close to each other.
There is an old Greek adage that says, “You will break the bow if you keep it always bent.” How tight is your bow? How stressed are you?
Everybody has to figure out what restores them best, but here are a few ideas:
- Take some time off. Go on a do-nothing vacation.
- Spend time with friends who replenish you as individuals and as a couple.
- Don’t stay up late. A good night’s sleep reduces tension and pressure.
- Pray and meditate on God’s Word.
- Ditch a responsibility (that won’t leave anyone in the lurch) and take a picnic lunch to the park.
- Read a book.
- Bring him/her breakfast in bed.
- Have a hot bubble bath ready for her after a long day.
- Go fishing.
- Fly a kite.
- Do whatever it takes to relax, and then make it a regular part of your life.
Simple ideas? Maybe. The sad thing is that most people are too stressed out to try to do anything about it.