Sitting down with a glass of wine and reflecting on life is exactly what every couple loves to do after the kids are in bed. I’m kidding, of course. Most couples flop down on the couch after an exhausting day of working and guiding illogical toddlers with a brain too fuzzy to think properly. Every day we get into bed while mentally prepping for the next day’s tasks. Life happens and we don’t really think about our life. We might reflect around New Year’s Day or after a major life event, but it doesn’t happen often.
Daniel and I set goals at the beginning of every year, but we didn’t start thinking about an intentional way of life until we were done birthing and nursing three babies. We began to set big hairy goals about paying off debt, slow traveling as a family, and thinking about Daniel’s online work. We discovered that we had a blueprint to living an intentional life when every decision we made affected our goals.
What is intentional living?
Intentional living means that you have carved a way of life that you absolutely love. Where you don’t feel forced into a life that you never wanted. Of course, life isn’t always perfect, but it doesn’t mean that you can’t work towards a life that you and your family love.
I recently finished reading Tsh Oxenreider’s “Notes from a Blue Bike: The Art of Living Intentionally in a Chaotic World.” It’s a well written book that will spur you on to make changes and accept a slower paced life. In her book she says,
No matter who you are or where you live: living with intention requires a blueprint (page 101).
Getting on the Same Page
Creating a blueprint for a life you love can not happen if your spouse is not on board just like you can’t pay off debt if your spouse continues to use credit cards. You can’t decide to switch jobs without the support of your spouse. Making major life decisions without the agreement and the buy-in from your spouse is a recipe for disaster.
Getting on the same page and creating a blueprint with your spouse begins by reflecting on the past, evaluating your present, and dreaming about the future. Go out to dinner, go for a long drive, or drink some coffee after bedtime, or plan a getaway weekend to take a break and reflect. Inspired by Tsh’s 20 Questions For a New Year’s Reflection, here are a few questions to spark a conversation with your spouse.
10 Reflection Questions to Spark Intentional Living
1. What jobs and hats do we wear right now? List out every job, volunteer work, ministry groups, hobbies, and anything where participation is required.
2. Do we feel like we can handle everything that is currently on our plates right now? If not, what can be dropped? How can I make some of these commitments easier?
3. Is this where we want to be in 3 years? Why or why not? (If you are completely happy with your schedule and state of life, then you may stop here. Congratulations, you love your life!)
4. Do we like where we live? Can we change it if we don’t like it?
5. Do each of us get enough time with our kids? Do each of us get enough time alone?
6. What brings each of us joy? What doesn’t bring each of us joy?
7. Are each of us following what we feel God has called us to do?
8. What is “enough” for our family? (Everyone’s definition of enough is different, so don’t feel like you need to be one specific version of enough.)
9. How do each of us recharge our souls? Are we getting enough time to recharge ourselves or do we feel spent and worn out?
10. How are we doing individually and as a family in each of these seven categories?
These questions aren’t meant to add to your To Do List. They are created to simply help you evaluate your way of life that is specific to your family. Just like the tagline of Notes from a Blue Bike states, this is the art of living intentionally in a chaotic world. Our American culture is busy and production driven, but we have the ability to create, paint, and mold a life that we love. Ironically, it’s the same American freedom that finds soul crushing productivity acceptable, that also allows us the freedom to create our intentional lives.
This post is part of the Blue Bike Blog Tour, which I’m thrilled to be part of. To learn more and join us, head here.
Notes From a Blue Bike is written by Tsh Oxenreider, founder and main voice of The Art of Simple. It doesn’t always feel like it, but we DO have the freedom to creatively change the everyday little things in our lives so that our path better aligns with our values and passions. Grab your copy here.