We Time {guest post}

Amy's Great Grandparents

Amy's Great Grandparents

Dear Readers – I asked Anna from Learning Littlebits to guest post after I read a lovely comment she left on my post Caring For Yourself – The Me Time Myth Revisited.  I loved what she had to say and wanted her to share her heart here.  She told me she had intended to write a fun little post about what We Time looks like in her family, but as she prayed over the post, it took a very different turn.  I love it when God works like that and I pray you will be immensely blessed by what Anna has to share.

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The beginning of 2011 brought my family some difficult challenges.  We found ourselves in a place we did not want to be.  This caused me to ask, €œhow did we end up here?€

God€™s word tells me that €œI do not have, because I do not ask.€ (James 4:2)  So, I asked God to show me why my family was so disconnected, why were we hurting so badly, and why were we falling apart?

God is faithful and He answered, with this:

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth.  Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

  •  Was I patient and kind with my husband and my children?
  • Was I arrogant and rude?
  • Was I irritable and resentful?
  • Did I delight in seeing my husband or my children do wrong?
  • Was I bearing all things, believing and hoping for the best for my husband and children?
  • Was I enduring all things for my family?

God showed me the problem; the problem was me!

I was shocked because I love my family!  I take care of them everyday.  I cook, clean, educate.  I kiss boo-boo€™s, change dirty diapers, wipe runny noses. How could I not be loving my family?

As I continually meditated and prayed over 1 Corinthians 13:4-7, it was clear I was not loving my family.  I was going through the motions.  I was taking care of my family out of duty and obligation; not out of love.  I woke up every morning not looking forward to the day ahead.

I was impatient and rude to my husband and children. I was rude if my husband was late home from work. I would snap if I had to keep addressing the same behaviors over and over in my children.

I was irritable and resentful.  I resented the fact that my husband would get to leave everyday and go to work (okay, in my mind it was more like a vacation at the office), while I slaved all day at home.  I basically made my family feel guilty for being alive.

I did delight in seeing my husband and children do wrong, because I could use it as a weapon against them, to make them feel more guilty.

I spent my days trying to find ways to escape and when I didn€™t get time to myself I would become bitter.  I felt my husband should do more, my kids should appreciate me more.  I became all about me.  I thought only of myself, not God, not my family, just me.  My focus was not on serving others, but on how others could serve me.

I was not enduring for my family.

ENDURING Lasting; continuing without perishing; bearing; sustaining; supporting with patience, or without opposition or yielding. (Webster 1828 dictionary)

Every wise woman builds her house, but a foolish one tears it down with her own hands. Prov. 14:1

The notes for this verse in my ESV Study Bible state, €œSinful people sometimes become highly irrational and foolishly destroy the fruit of many years of work.€

That was me.  I was the foolish woman tearing down my own house.

I had forgotten to love;  I forgot that I rise each morning to care for my family because of love.  Not because I expect something in return.

Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves.  Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.

You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had. Philippians 2:3-5

I must have the same attitude as Christ Jesus…..Jesus died on the cross for my sin because He loved me.  Sacrificial love…keeping no record of wrongs….no resentment…just love.

Amazing!

It€™s been a year since God taught me this lesson and our lives are changing for the better.   We are a family being transformed by love.  I rise every morning with the same goal in mind… to love my family well.  To love cooking for them, cleaning up after them and educating them.  To love kissing boo-boo€™s, changing diapers, wiping noses.  Just to love, no score keeping, no resentment just smiles and love.  By God€™s grace it is getting easier everyday to break the old patterns.

The desire to love led me to €œWe Time€.  This is time to connect with my husband and children.  A time they have my attention to share what is on their hearts.  It is the desire to spend time with others instead of myself.

So what does €œWe Time€ look like at our house?  It€™s very simple really.

Marriage €œWe Time€

  •  Go out for lunch or dinner.
  •  Take a walk in the park.
  •  Talking over morning coffee before the kids wake up.
  •  Pick an interest and enjoy it together like fishing, target shooting, hiking, cooking etc.
  •  Crawl in bed early so you have time to snuggle, pray together and dream together.
  •  Keep a journal in the nightstand filled with questions to get to know each other better and fill in the answers.
  •  Ask your husband how can your pray for him, or what can you do to make his day better?
  •  Couch Time, spend 15-30 minutes together on the couch together.  The kids can play quietly, but they are not allowed to interrupt this time between mommy and daddy.
  •  Send love notes.  I like to send little emails to my husband throughout the week to let him know how much I appreciate him.

{I would not recommend watching movies or TV often this is to be a time for conversation and bonding.}

€œWe Time€ with Children

  • Take a child or two shopping, treat them to lunch or ice cream and talk.
  • Take a walk or bike ride as a family or play kickball together this is cheaper than joining the gym *smile*.
  • Learn a craft or skill together.
  • Have a child help you prepare supper, this is a great time to talk with older kids as sometimes they open up better when busy doing something.
  • Keep a journal for you and the kids too.  They can share their favorite bible verses with your and their prayer requests.  You can share special stories with them from your childhood or any special memories you have of them when they were little.
  • Look through family scrapbooks together.
  • Study the bible together.  Share with the kids what your learning.
  • Saturday morning donut breakfast, my kids personal favorite.  We get donuts from a local donut shop and sit around the kitchen table talking.

{This of course is not an exhaustive list.}

€œWe time€ will look different for each family, it€™s just about relationships and spending time together.  It€™s about creating marital oneness, family bonds and being an example to my children on how to put others first.

Because of we time my family enjoys being together again.  Our house is filled with laughter and my teenagers don€™t hide in their rooms anymore, they like to hang out with mom and dad.

Here is the great paradox, when I became purposeful about €œwe time€ I became a better €œme€ and became less interested in escaping my family.  But, my family now wanted to give me some time for myself.  Now, my husband brings me a cup of coffee and says, €œgo spend some time setting your goals for the month, I€™ve got the kids.€  Or my kids will clean up after supper so I can relax in a bubble bath.  This is the best kind of me time because it is given to me in love as a gift.

Ann from Learning LittlebitsAnna is happily married to Brian, her middle school sweetheart and spends her days laughing and learning with their 7 kids.  She loves a good cup of coffee with a piece of french silk pie and is obsessed with cloth diapers, books and office supplies.    She shares her thoughts at Learning Littlebits.

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14 thoughts on “We Time {guest post}

  1. Absolutely LOVE this article!! Every woman has had moments where we feel under valued and under appreciated. No child ever says, “Hey mom, thanks for cleaning the toilet today!” It’s amazing what we can get through when we have the right spirit and attitude about the tasks we must face each day. The bonus is, our relationships improve too!!

  2. I have been so encouraged by the posts on The Me Time Myth, but to be honest I have hesitated to share them with too many becuase Me Time has so permeated even our Christian culture. Thank you for your bravery and honesty. They are inspiring.

  3. This was AWESOME! Thank you Anna for sharing your heart so openly and descriptively. I’m the type of person that needs exact lists like you provided to show me exactly how this plays out in real life. And thank you Amy for following the Lord when He placed it on your heart to pursuit Anna’s wisdom. I feel so blessed to have read this! Now I just need to PRAY, PRAY, PRAY because I’ve fallen into a “me time” rut that I am realizing is just not good.

  4. Thank you. This speaks to something I have been struggling with. I can get so critical and rude, all the while expecting perfection of my children. I reprimand them for their attitudes and actions, when I really need to look in the mirror. I fail to see them as the blessings that they are.

    Our family is currently enduring very trying circumstances, and God has been teaching me so much about my heart in the waiting. I need to seize joy in the midst of each and every day, no matter how hopeless and tiresome the external circumstances may be. I need to be obedient especially now, when things are hard. My children are watching.

    I love the concept of “we” time. I will be more purposeful in strengthening the bonds of our family in our leisure, rather than just considering leisure time to be alone time. Convicting.