The year 2020 brought sweeping changes to all of us in all parts of society. Many of us found ourselves with so much more free time than we experienced ever before. Meetings were cancelled. Travel was banned. Vacations were put on indefinite hold. We spent almost all our time at home and busyness took a back seat.
While this lack of constant activity was a challenge for some, others found the extra space and time a welcome relief to lifestyles overwhelmed with the hustle and bustle of life. The global pandemic created MARGIN which provided an opportunity to catch up or do things long neglected. People slept longer, spent time with their family members, had time for conversations, cooked for themselves, and tended to their flowers. For some, it offered a time of refreshment they don’t want to forget.
As we move into 2021, let’s challenge ourselves to bring that margin and space forward into the new year. Some have added it to their New Year’s Resolutions and others have written it down in their new weekly/monthly planners. Why not use Valentine’s Day as a way to create margin with the ones you love? Spend the holiday intentionally slowing down and spending time together.
Here are some ways we can create margin that will deepen our relationships and create exclusive time together with those we love:
- Prioritize: Time together will not happen magically; it will not happen without intention. This Valentine’s Day, carve out time together with your loved ones. Schedule it. Once it’s on the schedule, guard it. Make it a priority. Treat the time like any other important appointment. Don’t let anything take its place. It is an important part of your life and nothing should get in its way. Prepare for the time together — you can dress up or do things that help you anticipate it with excitement. Make this time together something you will remember fondly and want to repeat.
- Create a Space: Whether you choose to stay at home or go away for this Valentine’s Day, choose a special place for this time of margin that will be conducive to rest, relaxation, and rejuvenation for both you and your loved one. If you’re at home, make sure the house is clean and uncluttered. Choose one room in the house to sit together and talk, watch a movie, eat a great meal, or sleep. If you’re going outside the home, choose somewhere meaningful and that will give you the space and time to connect. Whether it’s a restaurant, movie theater, retreat center, or sports activity, make it somewhere that will allow both of you to be comfortable and unwind.
- Be Intentional: Once you’ve been intentional in carving out margin in time and space for your Valentine’s Day, be intentional with the time — don’t waste it. Plan what you want to do. If you’re going to participate in an activity, make sure to plan for the activity and contingencies (in case something unexpected happens). If you’re staying home for some quiet time together, be sure to plan for that too. Plan for conversations. Plan for a movie. Plan a meal. Don’t squander the time or sit around wondering what to do. Be sure to make the time intentional and meaningful so that you can look back with positive memories. Affirm one another throughout the day and make it a time that you crave to repeat.
- Discuss Expectations: Leading up to Valentine’s Day, begin discussing your expectations with each other. Is it going to be a time packed with activity? If so, talk about how much you want to do. Will it be fun and exhilarating — or will it wear you out? Is it going to be a time of quiet spent together? Will that be relaxing or awkward? Will it be easy to be quiet together? Or will it take great energy to keep the conversation going? Talking about your expectations ahead of time will help the time be meaningful and will mitigate any unforeseen obstacles before they arise.
Bringing forward the lessons we learned in 2020 will be paramount to having a good and effective 2021. The creation and use of margin in our lives is one of those lessons. Let’s use Valentine’s Day to practice implementing margin in our relationships and intentionally build space and time for each other in our lives.