Tuesday, February 9, 2010
Relationships and Exhaustion
I think one of the biggest killers of good relationships is Exhaustion. When we all have so much we Have To Do, how do we have any energy left for something extra? At the end of a long day of work or childcare, what is left for our life partner?
My husband and I both work full-time, with the addition of a 1-2 hour commute each direction for him, and two small children at home that I am homeschooling. We are tired. I have been guilty of turning to him and saying that I just think it would be easier to not be in relationship anymore - of all the things in my life that are not optional, our relationship is one of the only things I could "give up" to free up more time and energy.
It's also really hard for me to have him home on the weekend, and watch him go off to take a nap instead of either helping me around the house or spending time with me. But he's tired - he works too much. I'm tired too.
We are still far from solving this problem in our lives, but here is a kernel of wisdom that is helping me right now.
My minister gave a sermon on marriage this week, and he said he doesn't like it when people say you have to "work at your relationship". That in fact, in our work-obsessed and driven culture, that last thing we need is more work. Rather, it would be better to think of "paying attention" and "being mindful" of our relationships.
This idea is a great comfort to me. If we don't have the energy to "work" on our relationship every day, we should still have the energy to "pay attention" to each other. Even if all we do is wave wearily to each other as we pass like ships in the night, we are alright.
So pay attention and be mindful, but don't make more "work" for yourself.