Good morning, busy mom!
We are now in Ludington, MI. When we rolled into Indianapolis the day before, it was midnight. And we were crabby! It wasn’t pretty — but this is the “busy season” for our family, and God seems to give us just enough grace for each other every day. Just enough. Unless we push too hard, or go too long without rest. Then, things can get ugly.
It reminded me a season of life we were in several years ago, where the Lord spoke to me about the importance of keeping my heart in tune to the heartbeat of our marriage. See if you can relate:
It had been a busy day.
It had been a busy month. Meetings, schoolwork, deadlines, family needs, doctor appointments–unplanned emergencies–unwanted drama, un-invited stress.
If the world could spin any faster, I’m sure I would have been flung right off.
My Type A, scheduling self was not enjoying this. I was repeating the phrase “bend, don’t break” as I went from the car to the kitchen to the laundry room. I spied a bag of clothing that I had forgotten to take to Goodwill. “Shoot! That’s the third time I’ve left the house for something and forgotten that bag!”
I muttered to myself as I walked into the office to sort paperwork. “Stop the ride! I want to get off!” My husband looked up at me from his desk. I saw the same weariness in his eyes that I felt. It was as if his eyes were reflecting mine.
Tired. Worn-out. Weary.
It had been several weeks since we had really enjoyed any quality time together. According to the calendar, there were no quiet evenings coming up in our future, either. Worse yet, we could not even manage a quiet evening in! The toddlers were up early, the teens were up late… and somewhere between toddlers and teenagers, our marriage was taking a hit.
It was clear that things were ot as they should be, and our relationship was beginning to show signs of the strain we were under. We were short with each other. Our conversations lacked grace. The end of the day found us falling into bed exhausted. (Insert tired expression here that says “I love you … but not tonight.”)
Trouble was, there was no “white space” in our lives. We had made our regular commitments, and life had filled in the rest of the “white space” on my calendar-without asking permission!
If you’ve heard me speak before, you know how I feel about having at least two days of nothing on my calendar each week. I call it “white space”, and I try to protect those free days because no white space on our calendar = no margin in our lives.
And no margin = trouble.
Does this sound familiar? It’s easy to let it happen. Sometimes, we can prevent it, and sometimes, we can’t. When life gets a little nutty, we take it for granted that eventually things will slow down. But the older my kids get, the more I’m realizing that if I am not intentional about taking time out of my busy life to nurture my marriage, my husband and I run the risk of living parallel lives.
You see, the fact that we have a good marriage now doesn’t protect us from ending up with a bad marriage down the road. I know — because I’ve seen it happen, over and over again.
Most marriages end because of neglect. We just take it for granted that our spouse will always be there, that we’ll have time “next week.” But more dangerous than unintentional neglect is the kind we do on purpose: we say things like “after the kids are grown” we’ll have time to invest in our marriage.
It’s one of the biggest traps we can fall into, this “for granted” trap. We take it for granted that
- Our marriage will always be strong
- Pornography will never be a problem
- Our husbands always “understand” how tired we are (so we don’t have the conversation)
- Adultery will not be part of our lives
- “Next week” things will get easier or slow down
Marriage matters. It’s important. And we can’t just put this precious relationship on auto-pilot for extended periods of time and expect things to be okay.
But we do. We forget that our marriages, like tender plants, need tending.
Yes, there are seasons where we need extra amounts of patience and grace. (I’m in one right now, as we travel in our van from convention to convention with our kids.)
Yes, life is always changing–and we need to flex and change with it.
But let’s not take our marriages for granted. Let’s keep them strong and healthy – on purpose! Here are three ways we can keep your marriage strong through the seasons of quiet and busy that inevitably come:
- Be intentional about carving out time for each other – make time on purpose.
- Keep your finger on the pulse of your marriage (If the pulse is weak, pay attention!)
- Learn to speak each other’s love language. (My husband responds best to me when I speak love in the language he understands best, and love it when he speaks to me in my love language!)
Marriage is a precious relationship – and we’re in it, for better or worse.
But never, never for granted.
Blessings on your marriage, busy mom!