I am going to share a vulnerable and embarrassing experience that happened a long time ago between my husband and me. The experience was a silly disagreement – but what happened was very real. The reason that I’m sharing this with you is because I hope that what I learned from this experience will benefit you! Like they say, “live and learn” in marriage!
This story dates back to over fifteen years ago. We were experiencing the challenges of a blended family while raising four children; our income was low; I was in school working on my undergraduate degree and working full-time; and my husband had a high-stress job that allowed for little sleep. Oh, yes, and we had two cars that were running on hope and a wish! As you can probably guess, stress levels were often high.
Our van was in for repair, and we got that dreadful call telling us it was going to cost almost two thousand dollars. Of course, we did not have that kind of money sitting around just waiting to pay a car repair bill. Somehow we figured it out, a loan perhaps, I don’t even remember.
But here is the important part of our story. We picked up the van, and while we were driving home, we recognized that we were hungry. We thought that it was probably easier to pick up something inexpensive to eat as neither of us was in any mood to cook. I asked my husband “Where would you like to eat?” He said, “I don’t care, where would you like to eat?” I said, “I don’t care, I’ll eat anything.” Well, this same dialogue went back and forth a few times until we finally got so upset with one another that neither one of us made a decision about where to eat. So we didn’t go out to eat, and we went home hungry and annoyed with one another.
I look back at this now, and I chuckle. So what happened? Why couldn’t one of us just pick a place to eat????
It was clear that we were feeling extreme stress, fear about our financial situation, and overwhelmed with life in general. But what we didn’t recognize at the time was that our stress had left us completely and totally emotionally DEPLETED! Both of us needed to be taken care of, but neither one of us had the energy to take care of ourselves, never mind one another. Even making one little decision was too much.
Snapping at each other is a good way to recognize when you’re feeling depleted. Or maybe you feel drained and tired all the time. You don’t have any energy to make decisions and giving anything is exhausting. You feel irritable, and patience is very low and what is worse, you feel badly for feeling this way.
If you can recognize that both of you are depleted from the challenges of life, you can ask yourselves “what is it that we need to replenish and reconnect?” For some it’s cuddling or going for a walk or a bike ride together, something (anything) that will reconnect the two of you and replenish your relationship. This will help heal the drain that day-to-day stress can put on both of you and your relationship.
One never knows what life is going to throw our way and as a couple we rarely anticipate this at the beginning of planning our life together. We have hopes and dreams of a shared life. Rarely do we discuss how we will stay connected when dealing with life stress. Nurturing your relationship is equally as important as self-care, so decide together what it is that will replenish and reconnect the two of you, you’ve earned it and you deserve it!
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photo credit: Karen Roe at Flicker.comShare