I am always looking for more energy! Maybe you are worn out from the kids, frustrated about work or in-laws or just exhausted from a really busy season. You know you’ve experienced other seasons or days where the same trials wouldn’t have drained you like they are doing now. Where did the energy go? Here’s my weird tip:
Tend to your marriage
I think we vastly underestimate how much the state of our marriage affects our motivation and energy in all areas of life.
When Tyler and I are out of sync or off, my energy is zapped almost immediately. We can have a disagreement on the phone and the patient mom I was 5 minutes ago is instantly crabby, easily irritated and much-less patient. The idea of going through the girl’s bedtime routine seems like the biggest hurdle to climb (when normally it’s a sweet time!) and I sort of just want to wallow in my frustration and reexamine the conversation a million times from under the covers. I just hate when we fight. Does any of this sound familiar?
Our fights don’t last long mainly because I’m a talker and we talk things out until they are better. I know that’s not everyone though. And really it has it’s drawbacks too, but I can imagine if you are a stuffer and let arguments fester for days or even weeks, you will feel extra drained.
Friends, life is tough. Even if we aren’t going at a brake-neck pace, even a simple, margin-filled life requires your energy. It can be easy to put more time and what little energy you have into solving all sorts of surface problems, but I really think tending to our most important earthly relationship (if you are married!) is CRUCIAL.
After an incredibly tough year, Tyler and I are super grateful that instead of dividing us, 2017 brought us together and made us stronger. I don’t think we could have managed this year divided. It was physically and mentally draining, but we made it through and as best we could, I believe because we stay solid as a team.
If you are feeling exhausted today, here’s my challenge to you:
1. If you’re in a fight, solve it and solve it succinctly.
Maybe for today, you talk about it, but you don’t over talk it to death. Sometimes guys can come with their defenses up and sometimes solving the problem can be pretty exhausting in itself. Don’t add to it. If they know you cry every time and get angry (ahem…like me…) you may want to preface the conversation by saying, “I want to clear up what we fought about. I’m not looking to drag this out longer than it needs to be and would actually prefer to be done with it in 5 minutes so we can get back to having fun together. Also I want you to know, I’m going to do my darnedest to talk rationally without tears.” Obviously, life isn’t always this simple, but sometimes it is and we just choose to overcomplicate it.
2. Connect with your spouse.
Maybe it’s not a fight, but you’re just off a little. Reconnect. This could be through prayer (if they are open to that!) or just a genuinely fun conversation. It might require effort but here is where you need to focus that energy. Not on the laundry. The laundry will be 10X easier if you are able to chat with your husband or giggle about what the kids said that day instead of use all your energy (because it totally takes energy) freezing them out and rehashing in your mind your defense for whatever he might say next.
3. Be the one to take the first step.
This is HARD, but so worth it. Recognize that y’all are stronger when y’all are in sync do not wait for your spouse to break the ice. Jeremiah 7:24 says “But they did not obey or incline their ear, but walked in their own counsels and the stubbornness of their evil hearts, and went backward and not forward.” When we remain stubborn, we go backward, not forward. If you struggle to take the first step, just remember that there is fruit in choosing humility.
4. Look out for what normally drives the wedge.
You have an enemy who hates to see you unified. Just think of all the time we could spend distracted by our problems than on the Lord’s plan for our life. Satan loves dividing us. Can we remember that? Can we remind ourself that our spouse is not our enemy but the devil is? He might have a go-to argument that always works. Figure out his strategy and be prepared for next time. The more we know our common pitfalls, the better we can get at protecting our unity in advance and even identify issues before they get bigger and harder to deal with.
As you think of past disagreements or even just feeling out of sync with your spouse, have you experienced this drain of energy? How does that differ from how you feel when y’all are performing more as a team?