How to Use the Sabbath to Strengthen Your Marriage

Learning and practicing observing the Sabbath can not only give your mind and body the rest they need, but it can also strengthen your marriage and instill the value of downtime in your children.

We live in a fast-paced, technology-driven, high-energy, no-rest-for-the-weary culture. Society bombards us at every turn with messages that to be successful, every minute of every day must be spent working toward an unattainable measure. That’s why God created the Sabbath.

Rest is vital to our mental and physical health. It’s also important to consider it in our relationships. Here are a few ways you can use the Sabbath to strengthen your marriage.

Realize You Both Need Rest

I sometimes struggle with feeling like the work is never done. Do you ever feel that way?

In our family, I now stay home with the children, homeschool and keep the house while my husband works. I realized recently that we don’t stop around here. We have yet to set aside a day that we rest.

The truth is, a mother’s workday doesn’t end. It’s a twenty-four-hour gig. In our home, we even have a kiddo who has a delayed sleep phase. So, often, the children and I are on the opposite schedule from my husband.

What this means is he comes home ready to relax, and I don’t. This has led to more than one unnecessary argument.

The truth is, he deserves to rest. But so do I. It’s not his fault that I can’t unsee the sink full of dishes and laundry. For new moms, please hear me—there will always be dishes in your sink. We have three kids, and for my life, I can’t figure out how they use twelve cups in a day. But I digress.

This is when it occurred to me: God Himself created the universe in six days and rested on the seventh. He designed us in His image, so there is no shame in taking a day to rest. Our Maker hardwired us to need the Sabbath.

The Bible Says to Rest

Exodus 20:8-11 instructs humanity to “Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days, you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God. On it, you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns. For in six days, the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore, the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.”

Not only is the observance of the Sabbath ingrained within our DNA, but it is sinful not to take the day to rest, as adherence to resting and recognizing the Sabbath is the fourth commandment.

This instruction isn’t just for quiet times. We are to rest on that seventh day even in our busy seasons, as Exodus 34:21 explains, “Six days you shall labor, but on the seventh day you shall rest; even during the plowing season and harvest, you must rest.”

Redefine Work and Rest

Something I have just recently begun trying is treating the week as if it were a work-out-of-the-house week (like if I were employed).

I do my best to achieve the household to-do list during my husband’s work hours. On Saturday, we plan to do whatever household projects need to be accomplished together so that on Sunday, we can have a day to rest as a couple.

This allows my husband to relax outside of his work week while I give myself permission to “be off work” to join him without feeling the pressure of tasks that should be done or the frustration of feeling like I must work when he doesn’t.

It is important to note that worship and church are important parts of honoring the Sabbath. Additionally, our boys enjoy taking turns each weekend choosing a game to play together and a movie to watch together.

We have also come to enjoy tech-free time each week, during which we all enjoy reading and other quiet activities. Our little ones enjoy looking at books, doing puzzles, and drawing during this time as well!

Some people enjoy being outside, going on a hike or riding bicycles, while others enjoy naps, reading and playing board games. The key is to find your joy and then prioritize that!

Unplugging is Good for the Soul

Psalm 23:2-3 (NIV) says, “He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake.”

The first line of this scripture depicts a place suitable for resting, and I can’t help but notice that the phrasing is “He makes me,” which signifies that it is not a suggestion but a command. The Lord tells us to lie down.

By golly, that might even imply the Lord our God thinks we should take a nap!

The next phrase discusses how our shepherd leads us to quiet waters. Why still water? In my mind, this denotes a shepherd leading his sheep. He wouldn’t lead this vulnerable animal toward heavy currents because there would be a risk to them.

It is in the stillness that our soul finds refreshment.

The final sentence reinforces that our Father in heaven means to guide us on the right path; we need only follow Him and rest as He commands us to do.

I have noticed that as hard as it is to take a day to appreciate the Sabbath, when I do and truly rest, unplug from my phone, computer and especially social media and spend quality time in worship and with my family, I am in a far better headspace to handle the challenges of the week.


Taking the time to enjoy the Sabbath through worship, prayer, reconnecting with God, resting and spending time together as a couple and a family will feed your faith and strengthen your marriage.

Ecclesiastes 4:12 notes that, “Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.” Remember that we are best equipped to defend ourselves when we have rested. What power could overpower two people who are united in love AND equally rested?

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