When I Relax, I Feel Guilty

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 the message

One underlying problem of people who lack marital intimacy is stress. 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. 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 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?

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.

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Jim and Cathy Burns

Jim Burns is President of HomeWord. Jim speaks to thousands of people around the world each year. He has over 1.5 million resources in print in over 25 languages. Some of his recent books include: Finding Joy in the Empty Nest; Doing Life with Your Adult Children, and Have Serious Fun. Jim and his wife, Cathy, live in Southern California. Cathy Burns is the co-author of Closer: 52 Devotions to Draw Couples Together. Along with being a mom, wife and Bible study leader, she recently retired from her job as a teacher in a school for “kids who learn differently” in order to help care for her three grandchildren. Cathy and Jim met the first day in college and married one week after she graduated.

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