My husband's eyes darted back and forth, apparently keeping time to his frantic flow of thoughts. I'd just asked for his input on a decision we needed to make, and I could tell he was flustered and stressed. He frowned, glancing down at his watch.
"Let's talk later," he said. He leaned over and kissed me on the forehead. Then, keys jingling in his hand, he called to our daughter and the two of them hurried out the door.
I was left alone, with issues still unresolved in the wake of our hectic schedule. Normally I would have gotten frustrated. His work schedule and our full family calendar prevented him from giving our concerns a fair focus. But this time a thought popped into my head: he was feeling the stress of a hectic lifestyle because he hadn't spent any alone time lately with God.
A Silent Retreat
As college students, my husband and I had practiced retreats of silence. We'd withdraw from daily life for a few hours to spend time focused on being with God through reading Scripture, praying, and meditating—all in silence. We appreciated the unique time of reflection and recharging that came through this abbreviated retreat. Early on we decided to make that a part of our married life.
For us, silent retreats come in three-to-four hour chunks once every year or two. Sometimes we feel stretched, but we've made the commitment to carve out those few hours to become still and listen to God without being so long as to throw off our schedules or leave us scrambling to catch up. And periodic silent retreats come with benefits for us and for our marriage that outweigh any inconvenience.1