This is Part 2 of our series titled, Diapers, Toddlers & Romance, Oh My, where we are talking about how to keep the home fires burning in the midst of raising a family. Yesterday we began by talking about the element of exhaustion all parents face. But what happens when…
You’re Both Exhausted – What Then?
It’s easy to pick up the slack when your spouse is having a rough day or week. But when it happens to both of you at the same time this can be a real challenge. If you go into this season unaware or without any idea of how to handle it, most likely the romantic element of your relationship will suffer. Feelings will get hurt, misunderstanding will occur, and distance will be unavoidable. This is the worst thing that can happen when you’re both in need of drawing closer together. Here are some things you can do if you find yourself in this place:
- Spend time talking about what you’re currently dealing with. It’s easy to assume your spouse knows how you feel, but in reality they can’t read your mind. You have to tell them.
- Then, listen to your spouse tell you what they’re dealing with. Being on the same page requires you to take time to hear what they have to say. It’s surprising that communication is one of the first things to go when conflict arises. Our default is too often to give a cold shoulder. Avoid this tendency, for it only complicates the conflict.
- Think about your expectations. What is it you are hoping your spouse will do for you? Or what is it you wish would change? If it is possible, then talk together about how you might achieve it. If the change isn’t possible, then be willing to let go of the expectation.
- Remember the things you love most about your spouse. In times of exhaustion it’s easy to only see the bad and ignore the good. Philippians 4:8 says:
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.
(Philippians 4:8 ESV)
- Finally, and most importantly, pray together about your weakness. Paul instructs us:
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
(2 Corinthians 12:9 ESV)
Having a healthy marriage doesn’t mean you’ll be free from trouble…
…It only means you’ll most likely know how to handle the trouble you’ll certainly face. When the situation we’re in seems too much to handle, it’s a good indication we’re attempting to do things in our own strength. God opposes the proud, but give grace to the humble. We must recognize our inability to do what we’ve been called to do. Cry out to God with your spouse and watch the Lord do through you what you never thought was possible.
There is nothing like noticing yourself responding to a situation with grace and kindness when you know you would normally respond in frustration and anger. This is an evidence of God’s grace at work in your life. He uses this season most to mold us into Christ-likeness because our children and our exhaustion reveals who we really are. We can’t hide in the midst of such tension. The good news is that this is the first step in finding help and hope to change.
Romance in marriage isn’t the feel good, violins playing with candlelight flickering in the background kind of feeling. No, it’s choosing to treat your spouse in a kind and loving way when they’re acting in an unkind and unloving way. This is the model Christ has given us for how to treat others, and no other person is more important than the father or mother of your children.
Now, go take a nap–or let your spouse take one–you decide!
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Thanks for the encouraging words Debi – they are more relevant now than ever with our little guy!
You’re so welcome, Tor. We remember well how tiring this season was. We pray this series will be a timely encouragement to many.
Blessings to you and your family,
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Naps are key for sure. I can remember the days when Alisa and I would make sure that each of got them when our kids were younger. Sometimes we would get them together when the kids were sleeping. Other times we would each get a short one while the other was up with the kids.
One are I believe where most couples are missing the big picture is having to many things on their calendar. I hear it time and time again how there is no time because couples are scheduled to the hilt. To Make Time for a Sexy Marriage, http://www.oneextraordinarymarriage.com/145-make-time-for-a-sexy-marriage, you have to take things off your schedule.
This may mean saying no to something that you really want to do and yet does not add any value to your marriage. To do this you have to be honest with yourself and be willing to put something aside for a time to be able to tend to your marriage and family.