Alarms, meals, laundry, dishes, carpool, sport’s schedules… exercise. Some of my days feel full to the point of bursting. I can’t seem to keep up with it all and usually something gets dropped, not a big crime unless it’s a somebody Along the way, I occasionally will obsess over some small task in the midst of a terribly hectic day only to have the word” control freak” come to mind. It’s as if this one task of sweeping the garage or vacuuming the house will fix all the other stray ends. Silly I know.
Am I really a control-freak however, or just overwhelmed? No matter how you slice it, if you run a family of any size there are things that just have to get done. Basic needs… then there are other expectations too. Among other things, I DO NOT keep a spotless house, nor do I have wonderfully crafted meals spread on the table for my family every evening by 6:00pm. Oh, how I wish I did. I lived for years feeling so “less-than” because I just couldn’t seem to get it all together. Why are some tasks so insurmountable? Every article, every blog I’d read, commercial I’d watch, Christian message I’d hear would seem to tell me “You not up to par.” It didn’t matter if it was really stated… that’s what I heard.
Nearly 25 years married and I told my husband about this last night. He just looked at me and asked how I could’ve ever felt that way? “…Because… I’m not like so-and-so and I don’t do such-and-such the way they do, and it just isn’t ever going to change.” Ok, so this conversation was partly hormone-induced, but my sweet husband quickly let me know, just as God has let me know, that he loves me the way I am, and he didn’t really have a list of “to-dos” for me. Wondering exactly what he did care most about, and prompted by a speaker we’d just listened to, we decided to make a list of the top 3 ways we could bless each other. Meaning, if nothing else gets done in a day (at home), we decided which priorities were most important to us -or our “enough” for each other to feel good, content, loved. Only 3. I can do 3!
Now I can’t throw out all my other to-do lists regarding food, shelter and clothing for this family of ours. Even additional jobs (and children’s feelings) have their place, but to be the support that my husband really needs me to be I now have 3 main focuses to help him. A most amazing discovery was that the priorities he chose were things I can actually do! A simple hug and words of encouragement every evening mean more to him than a hot meal by 6pm (Let it go woman!). I can, without guilt choose one of these over some of my other self-imposed stresses.
Every couple is different, of course and their priorities will be different too, but I encourage you to ask about your mate’s top 3 picks. Maybe there’s hope for success in the demanding life you lead. Maybe you can go to bed tonight with a real sense of accomplishment. I pray this is the stress reliever for you as it has been for me! Many Blessings- Anna
-This topic was inspired by Art and Lysa TerKeurst interviewed on Focus On The Family Radio 5/8/13 “Managing Your Emotions In Your Marriage”- available on FOTF website under podcasts.