Joe and I have been doing a lot of thinking recently on simplifying our lives. We took some huge steps last year, and now we’re re-evaluating the “untouchables” from last year – internet service on our phones, multiple computers, satellite tv… We’ve both been convicted about the fact that many of these items take more from us than they give. Its so easy to buy into the idea that these things make your life better, but if they cause you to withdraw and go off on your own, is it really better?
Don’t get me wrong, we love our modern conveniences, but it just seems too easy to surf the internet for hours and then feel rushed into making dinner and cleaning, and then exhausted when I go to bed. Â I don’t feel that way if I use that extra time to do things more slowly and with more intention. Â
I was reading my Bible a few days ago and came across one of those little built-in devotionals. I’m really not a fan of them, but this one made me think. It talked about how Jesus needed time alone with the Lord to recharge, and yet it is so easy to forget to make that time. Our lives are so crowded with activity, whereas Jesus would’ve had quiet times when he walked to new places, waited for a fire to warm up, or did the millions of other small daily activities that we’ve automated or somehow sped up. Â Even with that, Jesus still had to make time for God. Â Again, I don’t think that automating of washing dishes is bad, but I think we need to realize that we’ve lost a lot of the down time in our days.
So I’ve had these thoughts in the back of my head, and then Joe and I keep finding all of these articles on the benefits of walking. First Joe told me about an article in one of our little local papers on the value of walking as a couple. Its kind of hokey, so consider yourself warned.
In the article, Amy Henry says
I find it interesting that husbands and wives find hours each week to run, lift weights, attend yoga classes, cultivate flower beds, paint works of art, play sports, watch television and chauffeur the kids to activities, but somehow expect our marriages to miraculously survive — no, thrive — on zero effort, zero time and zero energy.
Joe and I have talked about this a lot. Â It is easy to find time to watch Scrubs, so why is it sometimes hard to sit down and find time to hang out with your spouse?! Â It makes no sense. Â We love each other more than anything, and yet we pick to do stupid stuff. Â Joe and I have been working on reading books together, which is fun, and we’ve been talking a lot more at night. Â Its so silly that we have to be so intentional about it though!
The average couple spends two to 2Â½ hours together a day, but half of that time is spent in front of the television, 30 minutes are spent eating, and 24 minutes are spent on household chores. This means the average couple is spending between six and 21 minutes a day actually interacting with each other. How long would we stay employed if we spent only six minutes a day working at our job?
Yeah, that’s pretty sad.
What then is a couple to do? What does it take to tend our marital gardens so they do not end up choked to death with the weeds we neglected to pull? Most people do not have the money for babysitting and frequent dates, the chance for long tropical getaways or the luxury of grandparents willing and available to watch the kids. And, if money is the main obstacle to a great marriage, than why are rich people no happier in their relationships than the rest of us?
Walking together is a great — free — marriage building activity. The benefits are life changing. Not only does a daily hour-long walk eat up enough calories over the course of a year to burn off more than 30 pounds, but it also provides a regular, consistent forum for couples to talk in something other than the Morse code of parenthood. Consistent time together renews passion for those of us who swore we would never, ever call each other Mom and Dad, for those of us who insisted parenthood would never slow us down, and for those of us who bragged we would be romantically sauntering across Europe with Junior in the Snugglie by the time our milk came in.
So, again, while I’m not normally a fan of newspaper articles that are built upon an imaginary couple, she made some good points.
After Joe and I discussed that article, I came across this one about the Amish not getting fat. Â The long and the short of it is that the Amish have a lot of the “fat gene”, and yet they aren’t fat. Â Go figure! Â They’re too busy working from dawn to dusk, giving me beautiful cabinets! Â (Just kidding. Â I can’t afford them :P) Â The author of the article ended up suggesting that you go for a walk. Â Duh. Â OK.
And then, to complete my triforce of walking propaganda, I was re-reading Urban Homestead (go get it!). Â I have been riding my bike and walking to as many things as possible, and I was meditating on the fact that I really feel so much better when I choose to move a bit slower and more intentionally. Â I still use my car when the weather is bad, but I’ve found that walking or riding bikes is so much better. Â The kids love to walk or ride, and it easily soothes or puts to sleep my 10 month old. Â I burn some extra calories. Â I get to talk to my kids, and it seems like they always open up and talk about the deep stuff when we’re walking. Â Its just so nice, and I don’t know why I wasn’t doing it more. Â We picked this house because it was so close for walking, and yet I haven’t taken full advantage of it.
My friend, Cari, suggested that I make a walking challenge. Â That might be fun. Â Maybe a simplification challenge in general. Â I’m going to have to think about it. Â Any thoughts? Â Maybe an anti-car challenge? That would be fun Â 😀