Marriage life can be busy. And in no time at all we can become so wrapped up in our own things we lose sight of the togetherness aspect of it and drift far from the person who was supposed to be our best friend. What if we regularly invested in island retreats…islands of clarity?
Belize is becoming more and more known for its beauty in the global tourist industry. One of the reasons is because of its islands. The islands of Belize offer beauty and wonder as well as a life a little disconnected from the mainland and a chance for travellers to disconnect from the regular busy-ness of life back home.
Perhaps you have been to one or more of the islands of Belize or perhaps you have experienced other islands of beauty. Last year, my wife and I travelled to the Ambergris Caye to spend four days in San Pedro. It was amazing. We toured this island by golf cart at our leisure, and enjoyed time together, just the two of us, to reflect, pray and rest. We returned home refreshed and re-connected having set aside time to be together.
This island retreat is a great picture of something we can do in our marriages: set aside time for ‘islands of clarity’. As an island represents a place set apart from the mainland, and clarity includes to be clear and understanding, so creating ‘islands of clarity’ would mean setting aside a time & place away from the regular routine of busy married life to invest in a clearer understanding of each other and the trajectory of your married life.
Here are 3 examples of ‘Islands of Clarity’ you could incorporate into your marriage.
- Daily Island of Clarity
Each day set aside at least 15 minutes that you intentionally spend with each other. You don’t have to talk the whole time; you can just sit together and enjoy each other’s company. But do talk some of the time. Share with each other what might be going on in your day or what has already transpired in your day. Be interested in what is going on in the heart, mind, and life of your spouse. It never hurts to have a Bible handy to spend a few moments in God’s Word and praying to God about your daily life together. As you listen to each other, listen through the filter of ‘eyes opened’ by God’s Word and Spirit, and grow in understanding your spouse more clearly.
- Weekly Island of Clarity
Each week set aside time to meet together. Remember the dates you used to go on before you were married? These were times set aside to get to know each other. Marriages need this in an on-going way…to stay connected with each other as we grow and change with the daily routines of life that might have us in different places much of the time. So whether you pop out to a favourite restaurant for a soda, or you find a quiet place in your home to have coffee or breakfast, or you meet up for lunch, it doesn’t matter. Just do it. Keep it simple and be creative. Use this weekly time to align on things in your marriage and family, and to gain clarity on who you are becoming. Assess each other’s needs, the children’s needs, major decisions, and things of the like. Review how you are doing in your relationship by asking things like: How am I doing as husband? How am I doing as wife? What can we do to improve our marriage? Enjoy these times of gaining a better understanding of each other…of gaining clarity. And end with a word of prayer.
- Biannual Island of Clarity (once every 6 months)
These biannual islands of clarity might take a little saving up for, but if you can, once every six months or so, get away from your home or kids for at least one overnight stay. A two- or three-day weekend away is even better. You could stay right in your hometown or you could travel many miles away. But these ‘marriage retreats’ can be great times to rest, reconnect, refocus, and re-align in your marriage – much like my wife and I did at the Ambergris Caye in Belize. Conversation might flow out of your weekly ‘islands of clarity’ or might revolve around major marriage and family decisions like where you live, where you work, and where and how you worship. Or you might simply discuss how you could strengthen the bond of ‘togetherness’ in your marriage and clarify what that looks like moving forward. Enjoy time spent together ‘disconnected from the mainland’ (the busy-ness back home), and time re-connecting and being refreshed to return to it. It’s always good to acknowledge gratitude towards God and each other for the gift of each other in holy marriage.
Marriage life can be busy. Forego becoming so wrapped up in your own things and invest in the togetherness of marriage and move closer to the person who is your very best friend.
Marriage takes work, but it is worth it. It takes investing time and yourself for the good of the other and for the good of the oneness that you represent.
Maybe something like these Islands of Clarity will help communicate what it looks like to live out each day, each week, and each year together for good with your best friend and lover… your marriage partner. How about start with 15 minutes for your spouse today?
Next time: our weekly island of clarity format.