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?