Sometimes you just need to quit working on your marriage in order to save it. I know this may sound counterproductive or like really bad marriage advice, especially from a Christian counselor, but there’s a reason for it.
Imagine for a minute that you got up tomorrow morning, went to work and then kept going and going without a break and without any days off. If you happen to be a stay-at-home mom with little kiddos you might understand this well. As a parent in general, there is no time off, you’re always on call, and your schedule is barely your own anymore. Spending just one week with a schedule like this and you will be zapped and running on empty in no time.
As marriage counselors, we see a lot of couples whose marriages need a lot of work. They’re disconnected, they’re empty, and they’re tired of the same fights, the same sexless nights, and quite honestly, they’re tired of all the work it’s taking to keep their marriage from crumbling.
Now, let’s go back to thinking about being at work 24/7. As time goes on, working all the time with no breaks, no breathers, no down time, how productive do you think you’d become at your job? Would you be producing your best work, or perhaps would the quality of your work be going downhill? If you’re like most people, the answer would be the latter.
Let’s talk about why that is—plain and simple; exhaustion, constant work, and mentally being on all day is depleting. You are not made to function without rest and renewal. And this is no different if you’re a married couple working on your marriage. Your marriage is not made to be all work. No one in their right mind wants to sign up for that!
If you want a good day at work or at home with the kids, you must have breaks to clear your mind, to eat a meal, and most importantly, you must be able to clock out. For a marriage to heal and thrive, it will need the same. In fact, one of the best tools to equip you to handle problems, stress, or even work better, is having more joy and more fun!
Perhaps you’ve been working on your marriage for a while and all the work is just getting stressful and seems to be highlighting your problems and increasing disconnection even more. It might be time to balance some of your work efforts with some refocusing and time off. The struggle with working so hard, albeit commendable, is that it fixes your gaze on problems. And what you focus on, you magnify.
Maybe the only work you need to be doing right now is rekindling your friendship and learning how to relax and laugh again. Problems or not, at one point in your life, that person you’re married to was once your best friend. You used to find joy in just holding hands, going out for ice cream, or talking about silly stuff at a coffee shop. Maybe instead of all the work, you just need to take some steps back and find some joy again.
If you want a practical, informative, and yet FUN way to have some conversations, check out our Restoring Connection Course