When we moved into our home eight years ago, I was excited to have a walk-in shower with floor to ceiling tile. Though John and I had been married for seven years and I was a mother of three young kids, picking out the tile for my own home served as further confirmation in my mind that I am, in fact, a real grown up now. After all, I picked out my own tile.
The day the tile was installed, I was giddy. It was lovely and clean, and I enjoyed it instantly. But weeks later I started to see a problem with it. The pattern on the tile camouflaged dirt and grime, which meant that by the time it finally looked dirty, it was well past the point of a simple rinse-and-wipe and needed a full-fledged scrubbing.
In many ways this shower situation illustrates a deeper truth about my soul. I’m going through life at what seems to me to be a reasonable clip—a meeting here, a deadline there, and another trip to the grocery store. While I’m doing the regular things that construct a life on the outside, I begin to feel exhausted on the inside. By the time I realize this, I’ve already traveled far past the point of healthy margins.
As it turns out, my soul and my schedule don’t follow the same rules. When my soul feels held hostage by hustle, every area of my life is affected. The relationship dearest to me is often the last one to get attention: my marriage. I’m discovering one of the best ways for me to cultivate a healthy marriage is to create space for my own soul to breathe.1