I have nothing left to give.
I’m fed up with just getting to the end of each day, happy to have gotten through it. I’m tired of
That’s what I told my husband on New Year’s Day. And I meant it.
That was 6 days ago. I was at rock bottom. I have been off and on for several months. After I typed the above words, my kids came inside from the jumping on the trampoline. I put my happy mommy face back on and moved on, hoping I would get back to the computer and finish my blog post. Somehow, I managed to get the kids in bed on time that night. The next couple of days continued on crappily (yes, that’s a word, just in case you were wondering). The crap culminated when David and I had the worst argument that we’ve had in years, ending with him leaving to cool off, because we’re mature like that. After the door slammed, I turned around and looked into the faces of my kids. Each one of them quickly pasted on a smile, and we all acted like none of that had just happened.
In that moment, life came to a screeching halt. THIS was not where I had seen myself when I was in my forties: fighting with my husband more often than not, frustrated and overwhelmed with life. This was not the life I wanted to give my husband or my kids! Yet, here I was. Rock. Bottom.
Why am I sharing? Because it happens. If you don’t jealously protect your marriage and make it a priority, it changes before you know it. All that busyness in life causes marriage to erode in the same way as water flowing down a riverbed erodes away the rock it is flowing over. When your first peer into that beautiful crystal-clear river, the water seems to be innocently flowing down a beautiful, rock-lined path. But appearances can be deceiving, right? There are so many good things to do that it’s easy to have too much on your schedule, all of it pulling you away from your first calling in life: your marriage. That slowly flowing water is actually relentlessly chipping away at every rock in its path, slowly eating away at the rocks’ surfaces.
Life needs balance. Craves balance. Are you making sure your marriage is your top priority (with the exception of your relationship with God, of course)? Do you put your marriage first, even over the kids? Are you taking care of yourself, making sure that you aren’t so busy that you unload your exhaustion on your husband when he gets home from work? Are your children a blessing (I’m not asking this in the God’s gift sense. I’m asking in the are-they-enjoyable-to-be-around-sense.)? Are you making sure your children are well-mannered? What about your home? Is it a haven, a sanctuary, a place of peace? Do you set aside at least a few moments each day to collect your thoughts? Is your family over-committed to activities outside the home? You get the idea, right?
That day that my husband left to cool off, I wrote him a note saying I was sorry and made a list of what I was willing to do and not willing to do in marriage. I asked God to show me what I needed to confess to my husband, what I needed to work on. I wrote down things like, “I WILL stop explaining myself when you haven’t asked me to,” (for me, trying to explain why I do something he is frustrated with is a slippery slope. Before I know it, I kick into lecture mode), and “I WILL stop trying to fix you when you are having a bad day” (Ugh!). My WILL NOT list had things like, “I WILL NOT list every wrong thing you have done to me when we are arguing ,” and “I WILL NOT make excuses for you when you are in the wrong”. This list is so important. It helps me keep things in perspective. Writing it down makes it non-negotiable, unlike just trying to remember what I thought I needed to do, then reasoning it away when the time comes. Before I know it, I am carried away by my emotions and fall into that same old trap that eventually causes the argument.
My marriage will be fine. I used that time that David was gone to refocus. I remembered that marriage is my calling, my dream, my blessing. The look on my childrens’ faces after the door closed behind my husband reminded me that my marriage isn’t just about me, it’s about them, too. I lost sight of that for a while, caught up in the fussy baby, the kids, busyness. Today, I will regroup.