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5 Strategies for a Wonderful Marriage Even When You’re Tired

Copyright: ximagination / 123RF Stock Photo


I don’t know about you but I get tired. I’ve felt weary, dreary, dog-tired, bone-tired, wiped out, and tuckered out. Perhaps you’ve felt the “I could use a nap” kind of tired or the “don’t talk to me, I’m totally drained” kind of exhausted. Different activities produce different kinds of tired. You’ve probably felt tired after mowing the lawn, attending a funeral, or arguing with your spouse.

No matter why you’re tired or what type of tired you feel, I guarantee it impacts your marriage dramatically. When you’re tired you misinterpret your spouse’s intentions, react harshly or withdraw completely. It’s no coincidence you argue with your spouse most at night. You’re both so tired you can’t think straight. But don’t worry, you don’t have to be fully energized to be a reasonable spouse. You can experience a wonderful marriage even when you’re tired.   

Admit you’re tired

Stop pretending you’re fine. You’re not fine, you’re exhausted. No matter what kind of tired you’re experiencing it affects you and how you relate to your spouse. Feeling tired makes you grumpy, impulsive, short-tempered, and defensive. Your communication sucks when you’re tired.

Action Point: Admit you’re tired. Tell your spouse what kind of tired you feel today. The more words you can use to describe it the better.

Give yourself permission to rest

Complaining about being tired won’t help you feel rested. The best thing to do when you’re tired is rest. Grouchy communication is always a bad idea. Give yourself permission to rest, sleep, and decompress.

Action Point: Tell yourself “It’s ok for me to rest” or tell your spouse out loud “go ahead and take a personal time out.” Then do it. Actually rest.

Bonus Point: Give your spouse permission to rest. It doesn’t take a neurosurgeon to know when your spouse is tired. Give your spouse the gift of needed rest. Nothing will say “I love you” more than “I see you’re tired, go take a nap while I corral the kids for a while.” A well rested spouse is a well loved spouse.

Communicate beyond logistics

Logistics are simply talking to each other about what, when, and where. It’s reporting the observable facts of the day. Couples discuss logistics when they coordinate child care, decide what to cook for dinner, and identify how much money is in the checking account. The part of communication that goes unnoticed is the emotional content. Talking about why you feel a certain way tends to access more emotional content. Communicating on an emotional level with your spouse is the only path to intimacy.  

Action Point: Get the logistics taken care of in conversation with yours spouse but don’t stop there. Go deeper, connect on an emotional level. To level up your connection identify and validate your spouse’s emotions. If this seems impossible click here to get a wonderful resource I compiled for you; 19 questions to ask your spouse for deeper connection.

Adjust your schedule

Your schedule may be the reason you’re tired. The sheer pace of your life contributes to your weariness. Just because you’re tired doesn’t mean you get a free pass on your responsibilities but you can always make adjustments. If you find yourself chronically exhausted you need to adjust your schedule.

Action Point: Take a look at your calendar. Identify the time you’ll have together in the next week. Adjust your schedule by skipping some planned activities or work to add more quality time to your week. If you’re extra tired schedule a “mental health day” to rest.

Stay engaged with your spouse

You can’t solve complete exhaustion with a 30 minute nap. The fog of grief can drain energy for weeks and weeks. Parents of newborns experience chronic sleeplessness for many months. Luckily chronic exhaustion doesn’t have to be a death sentence for your marriage. No matter how tired you get you can stay emotionally engaged with your spouse.

Action Point: Thankfully you don’t have to wait until you feel energized and energetic to connect with your spouse. Sit close to each other even when you’re dog-tired. Tell each other “I understand why we’re tired, it’s pretty reasonable given what we’ve been through lately.” Connect well when you’re tired and it will come even easier when you both feel rested again.   

What makes you tired today? How does it impact your marriage?


 

Tired bear

3 Ways to Thrive When Marriage Becomes a Chore

26349911 - closeup of grassmower mowing the grass


I’m the kind of guy who actually likes to mow my lawn. It’s a great outdoor activity combining physical exercise and memories of warm summer days with my dad. The smell of fresh cut grass invigorates my soul and I love seeing the lawn looking good. I usually mow my lawn on Saturdays but one weekend we traveled out of town and I skipped mowing the lawn. By the time I got around to mowing again the grass was out of control. Mowing long, thick, moist, grass isn’t nearly as fun. Although I generally like mowing it quickly became a chore.

Do you ever feel like your marriage is out of control? Like marriage is a chore?

My dad taught me a few critical adjustments when mowing the lawn gets tough. The same lessons provide practical ways to thrive when marriage becomes a chore.

Get to it

No matter how long and scraggly the grass gets, now is the best time to get to it. Putting it off for another day or another week only allows it to grow more, look worse and become a bigger task.

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed when your marriage is tense, when everyday feels like another conflict. You have a lot of work to do but don’t panic. Panic either leads to frantic anxiety or paralysis. Avoiding your spouse or giving them “the silent treatment” makes the problem worse. Stop ignoring the problems in your marriage and get communicating with each other now. Interact beyond the logistics of everyday tasks to make your limited time together quality time. Share your heart with each other today and don’t delay.

Slow down

Slowing down helps the mower cut through the tall grass. Keeping a fast pace while mowing long grass makes lawnmowers get clogged.

The temptation with unpleasant chores is to get them done too quickly. If your marriage has become a chore you’ll be tempted to rush a solution and end up making a bigger mess. Marriage is not a rip-off-the-bandaid kind of event. Slow down. It takes time to rebuild healthy relationships. Be patient. Slow down and invest the time it takes to reconcile with your spouse.

Take small bites

Aim the mower so it cuts less of the long grass on each pass. It’s another way to allow the mower to cut the tall grass effectively without getting bogged down.

In marriage it’s important to only address one thing at at time. In marriage counseling I meet couples who try to discuss money, sex, parenting, in-laws, and work schedules all at the same time. It never works. You’ll get bogged down and wonder why it’s so hard to communicate. Take small bites. Focus on one thing at a time when you’re talking to your spouse. Stay on topic and don’t give into the habit of bringing old wounds into the discussion.  

Have you ever felt marriage was a chore? What did you do?

8 Signs You’re a Lazy Communicator (and 8 Ways to Redeem Yourself)

Lazy couch potato


You’ve got to communicate great to be a good mate. Just because you’re talking doesn’t mean you’re communicating well. Some communication stinks like last month’s meatloaf or sour milk lost under the car seat. Couch potato communicators think they communicate fine but they miss the magic of great communication. What about you? Are you a lazy communicator?

You’re a lazy communicator if:

You communicate via technology only.

Texting is a brilliant way to miscommunicate. Texting makes the other person guess the tone and emotion of your message. If communication with your spouse consists primarily of texts and emojis you’re in trouble.

Stop hiding behind your phone and talk with your spouse face to face. Stop using technology as a crutch and seek real in person connection.

You communicate about logistics only.

“When is my dentist appointment?” “did you feed the dog?” “don’t forget to buy a birthday card.” Logistics are the basic tasks of daily life. Talking about logistics is important but shallow. Only lazy communicators stay stuck in surface level talk in marriage.

Ask more meaningful questions to boost your communication and connection. Check out the FREE resource I created for you. >>> 19 Questions to Ask Your Spouse for Deeper Connection.

You’re careless with tone.

Words matter but the tone you use to say them communicates over 90% of their meaning. For example lazy communicators say things like “Sure those smelly sweatpants look great on you, I love that poor hygiene look.” Sarcasm when arguing with your spouse is a super lazy way to communicate.

It’s fine to be silly and sarcastic with your spouse but don’t be lazy with your tone. If you’re always sarcastic and then you tell your wife “I love you” she’s not going to take you seriously and that’s a problem for your marriage. The same goes for an angry tone. If you spouse asks you “are you mad at me?” fairly often, you probably have an angry tone habit. Adjust your tone to communicate love.

You talk over others.

Talking without listening is just noise. Your ears can’t work while your mouth is moving. It’s obvious you’re too lazy to listen when you interrupt and talk over others.

Quiet down, slow down and really listen to your spouse for once.

You criticize.

No one likes internet trolls who boldly criticize anything simply for the sick pleasure of it. Criticism is cowardly way to communicate. Only the laziest take a hammer to dirty dishes to avoid the work of washing them.

You may need to ask your spouse to clarify if you’re unknowingly critical of them. Exchange criticism in your communication for affirmation. Check out these posts for practical ways to affirm your love for your spouse: The 5 Affirmations Every Wife Should Hear from Their Husband Every Day and 6 Affirmations Every Guy Wants to Hear from Their Wife.

You lie.

Lying for any reason is deadly for relationships. Some people justify lying by saying they’re reducing conflict. Skipping a shower for a month will reduce water usage but your spouse will lose respect for you. Avoiding conflict by lying never works in the long run. See my post 6 Exciting Reasons to Lie to Your Spouse.

The solution to lying sounds simple, always be honest. But we all know couples who are brutally honest with each other and it’s just brutal. You must pair honesty with love for relationships to thrive. 

You call people names.

Name calling shows contempt. It may work for presidential campaigns but it never works in marriage. We’re not talking about cute pet names couples use for each other. Calling your wife “babe” or “sweetheart” is not usually a problem if they like it. Calling your spouse curse words or even “stupid” or “ugly crier” is lazy and hurtful. 

Your words are powerful and names contain elements of identity. Rather than identifying your spouse with a derogatory term use empowering words to speak to their identity. Tell your husband “you are an amazing husband” often and he’ll believe it’s true about him. Behavior is a reflection of identity.

You yell to make your point.

When I traveled overseas I attempted to communicate with people who didn’t fully understand English. I found myself talking louder and louder. It didn’t help. I didn’t need to communicate louder; I needed to communicate in a way they could understand. Increasing your volume never makes you sound smarter.

Notice your volume when you talk to your spouse. Rate your volume on a scale of 1-10. One being a whisper, and ten being yelling at a Seahawks game loud. If all of your communication is above a 6 you’re a lazy communicator. Take down the volume and you’ll find your spouse (and children) respond much better to you.

What’s your lazy communication habit? How will you change it this week to connect better with your spouse?

Don’t forget you can get 19 Questions to Ask Your Spouse for Deeper Connection right now.

10 Things Only the Happiest Couples Know

18939654 - middle-aged couple wearing eyeglasses


Happy couples aren’t unicorns. Not that unicorns couldn’t make a happy couple it’s just that well, they don’t exist. The way some people talk you’d think happily married couples aren’t real either. Yes, the divorce rate is awful and many couples who manage to stay married are miserable, but happy couples are real. It’s like the M&M’s commercial where an animated M&M bumps into Santa Claus and in surprise they both mutter “He does exist.” Happy couples do exist and they’re actually not that rare. Happy couples are everywhere, a bunch of them probably even live in your neighborhood. Perhaps you and your spouse have even cracked the code and consider yourselves happily married. Two types of couples exist. Those who are already happy and those who used to be happy and want a happy marriage again. You have what it takes to live happily ever after with your spouse, you just need to know the secrets of the happiest couples.

Marriage doesn’t have to be hard work.

Walking on the beach in Hawaii is fun. Sure it takes more work than lying on the couch but walking in the surf and watching the sunset is so awesome it hardly feels like work.

Fighting is not required.

Fighting is so normal in marriage some people think it’s a sign of a good relationship. The happiest couples negotiate their disagreements without fighting.

You won’t be happy all the time.

Even at Disneyland, the happiest place on earth, you get tired and grumpy. Emotions are important but temporary. The happiest couples know happiness is temporary but so is sadness, discouragement, and loneliness.  

Good communication is a skill.

The happiest couples don’t give up when they miscommunicate. They keep getting back on the bicycle after every crash. They know the thrill of deep connection comes by developing communication skill over time.

Thanksgiving is not just a day in November.

The happiest couples are thankful for their spouse. This perspective of thankfulness protects against selfishness.

Circumstances don’t determine your happiness.

Life is not all rainbows and sunshine. But it doesn’t matter what storms come your way when your marriage is a safe place. Even rainy days can bring a smile when you’re close to your spouse.

Touch is touching.

Affectionate touching link hearts. The happiest couples are comfortable touching each other. Physical touch sparks their romantic connection.

Contentment and striving for better are two sides of the same coin.

The happiest couples are perfectly content with their relationship the way it is AND they constantly strive to improve their connection.

Technology is simply a tool.

Tools are only helpful if used skillfully. A hammer can either build or destroy a house. The happiest couples use technology to connect with each other and are careful not to let technology distract them from face to face interaction.

Intimacy has many forms. 

Marital intimacy includes sex and much more. Emotional intimacy, sexual intimacy, physical intimacy, spiritual intimacy, and intellectual intimacy all support each other. The happiest couples invest heavily in all forms of intimacy.

What would you add? What is the secret to happiness in your marriage?

Feel in Love With Your Spouse Again in Only 5 Minutes

cartoon couple in love


It may come as a shock to you but you’re allowed to feel in love even when you’re married. Yes, of course, love is more than a feeling. You’ve got to be committed for a marriage to last through hard times. But never feeling in love is plain miserable. You CAN feel in love OFTEN in your marriage; it’s not too much to expect!

The grind of everyday life messes with loving feelings. You may feel bored, stressed, tired, angry, disinterested, or irritable. No matter why you’re no longer feeling the love you can rocket your connection in only 5 minutes. It’ll be the best 5 minutes of your day guaranteed.

Give your spouse your full attention by putting your phone down and making eye contact.

Don’t stare, that’s weird. Just look at them so they know you’re paying attention.

Give your spouse a genuine heart felt compliment.

Don’t flake out and awkwardly say “um, I like your hair today.” Make it good.

Give your spouse a smile.

Not a creepy or cheesy smile, a real smile. If you have trouble finding a real smile, it’s been too long. Get to it.

If you’ve fought recently, Give your spouse a sincere apology.

Say “I’m sorry” and then shut up. The more you say the more likely you’ll ruin your apology with blaming or making excuses.

Give your spouse a kiss and say “I love you.”

This is not make out time, you’re trying to impress her with your ability to emotionally connect, not your ability to swap chapstick.  

Give your spouse a warm, 30 second hug.

Don’t try any funny stuff during the hug, simply enjoy being close.

In case you didn’t notice, feeling in love again is all about giving. And it doesn’t take long. Giving is how you built love in the first place and it’s the ticket to rocket your love today. 

Go give and get close!

What helps you feel in love with your spouse?

love on a stick