4 Ways to Make Rest Realistic with the People You Love

by | Feb 14, 2017 | Sabbath

“How can I get my spouse on board with Sabbath?” asks a man from the audience where I’m speaking. He’s being discreet, almost sheepish but I can see despair misting up in his eyes.

It’s a common question I hear often, especially from ministry wives whose husbands lack boundaries. We know we need more rest but we assume conforming is required before taking any action steps.

The way to turn someone’s head is not through manipulation but by living as a loving example. In marriage, the same is true when it comes to incorporating rhythms of rest as a couple. Overflow from a Sabbath-heart is alluring and ultimately unifying.

Focus on developing your own unique rhythm of rest and find the outcomes contagious.  When we function from a place of rest over the chaos of hurry and hustle, peace becomes the foundation for building relationships.

As we celebrate a day set apart for love in Valentine’s Day, use this acronym as a beginning place for cultivating rhythms of rest with the people you love.

L is for Listen.

Elementary? Maybe. But the longer we are in relationship with the people under our roof, the less we make eye contact, the easier it is to allow distractions to interrupt conversations.

Sit down somewhere comfortable, make eye contact and then ask each other this question: How do you enjoy rest? What you hear might surprise you.

O is for Own.

Own the unique way God created you to rest. Jesus says, My yoke is easy and my burden is light. What is an easy restful activity that makes you feel light? The way in which you rest and refuel may be different from how your spouse seeks to replenish.

How can you honor the differences in the way God created the people you love to experience rest? Love sacrifices for the sake of others without sacrificing true self.

V is for Value.

Our value systems are as unique to each of us as our wardrobes, kitchen pantries, and the books on our shelves. Assign high and low values in terms of rest and make Sabbath not only realistic, but also pleasurable.

For example, beauty is a high value for me. Color, design, and intricate architecture allow my soul to breathe into deeper intimacy with God. For my introverted husband, being with people he knows well means rest comes with an ease of togetherness. Define your highs and lows and then compare lists. Identifying differences and similarities prepares the way toward successful rest.

E is for Enjoy.

Once you have listened, owned the way each of you experience rest and defined your value systems, you are ready to make a plan. How will you enjoy God through rest? Pull up your calendars, choose a window of time and decide how Sabbath will look for each of you.

Will you rest together? Or will you Sabbath at different times during the week? No legalism or rules required. Express your expectations about how you enjoy rest and then love each other by extending permission.

The most generous gift we can give to each other is permission to waste time for the sake of true Love.

I’m honored to be a contributing writer for The Heart of Marriage, a new book that releases today, just in time for Valentine’s Day!  Pick up a copy for yourself and a few friends. Reading the stories together might just be a fun Sabbath activity.


Subscribe for Shelly’s stories and free resources here: https://shellymillerwriter.com/free-resources/


  1. Lynn D. Morrissey

    Thanks for these wonderful Sabbath suggestions (not rules), Shelly! I think we sometimes forget that Sabbath is not just for being with God, but with those we love–those He’s given us. This speaks to me about honoring each other’s preferences and finding common ground. I love the relaxed way in which Michael and I Sabbath (now that our Downton Abbey Dress-up Dinners are over . . . sigh)! After church, we love to walk and talk, and maybe watch some British documentary or series in the evening. Currently, we’re enjoying Victoria. We each have things we love doing separately too. I love sitting down at the piano and singing, and he putters in the yard or at his workbench in the basement. But we know the other is not far away. Sabbath gives us time to breathe together, but also separately. Congrats on having your story with H in Dawn’s lovely new collection. My story about Michael is tucked into it too. Guess what he got for Valentine’s Day?! 🙂

    Love you, and Happy Sabbathing,

  2. Janet from FL

    I think too that Sabbath includes some things we do alone, and some things we do together. Sometimes it’s spontaneous, like “Hey do you want to go for a drive to the park by the lake?” “Sure!” And sometimes it’s planned. “So honey, today I really want to take time to do the next chapter in the Bible study I’m working on. Do you have something you can do?” “Yeah, I think I will do some yard work. To relax.” “Sounds good.”
    One of the ways I got my husband to understand why I wanted to practice Sabbath, was to tell him that we all need rest, and God gives us time to rest. Also, we can do some things together. I won’t ignore him all day! He doesn’t practice the way I do, but each of our Sabbath’s is between us and God. Alone time with God. Couple time with each other and God. Family time with God. If it’s about love, it’s about God.
    Thanks, Shelley for your so helpful Sabbath posts!

  3. Nancy Ruegg

    Thank you, Shelly, for YOUR gift of these wise insights about solo rest and couple rest. I especially appreciated that last line: “The most generous gift we can give to each other is permission to waste time for the sake of true Love.” Spouses often gravitate to different pursuits for relaxation and rejuvenation. Permission to do so contributes peace (no friction over choices) and expanded joy (no guilt over choices) — which in turn positively impacts the relationship when the two come together again.

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