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Loss

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

Holidays & Grief

holiday grief peanuts


I can’t believe it’s been one year already.

Last November our family lost two loved ones. My uncle died unexpectedly on November 13 after a brief illness and my Grammy passed away on November 27, Thanksgiving Day 2014.

For our family the holiday season starts with remembering the pain of loss.

Not exactly holiday cheer.

We feel the loss renewed at the anniversary of their passing providing dramatic contrast against the backdrop of the holiday season when we are expected to be merry, lighthearted, and happy.

This holiday season we will miss family members who have been a part of the celebrations all my life. The warm feelings of comfort, joy, and peace of the holidays pair with reminders of profound loss and longing.

Our family is not the only one experiencing loss this season. I often think of a counseling client who lost his wife this year. He’s struggling to consider how he and his children will face Thanksgiving and Christmas for the first time without their wife and mother. We are certainly not alone in our grief and neither are you.

Words are inadequate to completely heal grief but I pray the following words direct you and I to better journey this season of celebration and grief.

1. Remember.

Memory is a powerful tool intimately intertwined with emotion. In grief memory contains pain and sorrow but our memories also help provide healing. Now I’ll always remember Thanksgiving Day as the day we lost Grammy. It colors the day differently than before. As hard as it was to lose her on a holiday, seems appropriate to think of her that day because I’ll always be thankful for her influence on my life. Ignoring your grief may seem easier but it’s not a healthy option.

2. Cry.

Allow yourself to feel whatever emotion you’re experiencing today. In grief emotion seems to come in waves. Each of our emotions play an important part in life and in grief. Acknowledge grief and the accompanying emotion rather than trying to hide or stuff your real emotion.

3. Celebrate.

It’s ok to celebrate the holidays even as you grieve. Your traditions will never feel the same but finding your way to celebrate will help heal the raw pain of loss. In his classic book on grief, A Decembered Grief, Harold Ivan Smith writes: “Be guided by the reality that there is no right or wrong way to celebrate the holidays after a loved one has died.”

4. Gather.

As impossible as it may sound, do not give in to isolation in your grief. Surround yourself with others. You are designed for community. At Christmas we celebrate the reality that we are not alone. God is with us. Jesus also experienced grief following the death of his friend and met with others in his grief.

What has helped you the most in the past when you’ve faced grief during the holidays?


Other posts on grief and loss from Make Some Wonderful:

What your spouse really needs in times of loss

4 Steps to Overcome Loaded Loss

Minor Loss Matters in Marriage

Related– The Secret to Delighting Your Spouse This Christmas: A Life Lesson From My Grammy


Making Time for Now

beach bird

Unfortunately, the last couple of months have been a season of loss. We lost three family members in two months. Loss has a way of pushing the pause button and reordering priorities as memories and emotions flood.

Ecclesiastes chapter three is a popular scripture at funerals. I guess we use it as permission to grieve loss although it’s about much more.

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens:
a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and an time to heal,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 NIV

What is it time for in your life today?

You have permission.

We need to hear it’s ok to experience this moment. Paradoxically, we are often told “don’t be sad” when we experience loss and “don’t show off” when we have a celebration.

Allow yourself to experience all the rawness of today including negative emotions, positive emotions, or lack of any emotion. You won’t fall apart, become lazy, or a narcissist, as you may fear. You will be real. Authenticity is being real in this moment.

Positive thinking has it’s place when people become stuck in a negative rut. But authenticity is revolutionary. When you are honest about what you are feeling right now, you will thrive in ways you never imagined. Intimacy thrives on being real. When you are authentic with your spouse connection increases.

Wisdom is knowing what it’s time for.

Lean into today. Sadness or joy, stillness or action, hurt or healing.

You have permission. Stay there a bit. Spend time right where you are now, it will make all the difference.

What is it time for in your life today?

Related posts:
What your spouse really needs in times of loss
That Kind of Exhausted
4 Steps to Overcome Loaded Loss
Minor Loss Matters in Marriage