We’re living in a world where everything is instant, households require two working parents, and stress/anxiety are a quickly growing psychological struggle for the masses. It’s so easy to get caught up in the trials of daily life without realizing the lasting impact it may have on your health and relationships.
I’ve admittedly been a busy bee for the past couple of months. My nose has been in the laptop or a phone for far too long and I haven’t been enjoying the small things. In the grips of working 70 hours a week in my day job, running a blog part time, serving at church, and domestic duties, I have been stressed and consumed with everything I need to do. So much so, that it affects my physical health and my attitude in relationships.
My husband on the other hand is really good at rest. He can shut off the stress of to-do lists and immediately switch to having fun playing a video game or relaxing on the couch with me. All the while, I’m left there sitting on the couch with him, staring at a dust bunny under the side table across from us. Sometimes it drives me crazy!!! How does he not see that?
But I can learn from him. In the biblical story of Martha and Mary, I’m the Martha and he’s the Mary.
If you haven’t heard of this story, it’s about two sisters who throw a party at their house for Jesus. Martha, wanted everything to be perfect. She cleaned the house by herself. She slaved in the kitchen by herself. She worked her booty off! All the while Mary sat in the living room, chilling with Jesus. Martha gets so irritated that Mary is slacking off, that Martha goes to Jesus and says “Hey! I’m working my butt off here. Make her help me!” Then Jesus says something we all don’t expect. He says, “Martha! Martha! Chill! You’re so worried about the details. Few things are needed in life. Those details don’t even matter! What matters is that you come spend time with me. Don’t take that away from your sister.”
So what can you learn from Martha and Mary about your marriage?
Enjoy time with your spouse. Slow down. Rest. It’s time to triage what’s not important and put into focus what is. Here’s how:
1. Have a date night
The best way to stop and reduce stress is to schedule a date night and make them a consistent part of your relationship. Don’t cook. Don’t clean. Get out of the house and get away from anything that would cause you to think about work.
2. Sit and listen to your spouse
As hard as it may be, stop! Put the phone down. Stop thinking and start listening.
3. Stop talking about work
Venting feels good. But there comes a time and place where it’s no longer considered venting and falls under the category of obsessing. In your personal time, leave work at work and find something else to talk about.
4. Stop stressing about the little things
Stressing about the little things that will affect your marriage. Was it worth it to slave over the laundry last night? Not everything has to be perfect for the sake of your sanity. What can you do when you start going down the rabbit hole? Stop and take a walk around the block with your spouse – the conversation, exercise, and fresh air will give you a fresh perspective.
5. Stop getting stressed about the big things
I know. It’s easier said than done but learning to let go will be the best thing you’ve done for yourself. Talk to your spouse and see how they can support you. Let go of a few responsibilities and let them help you.
6. Stop nagging
Jesus stops Martha from nagging about her sister. We should do the same with our spouses; it’s just going to stress the both of you out and bring no resolution to the stress at hand.
7. Take a time out for yourself
Book a spa appointment. Grab a book and head to your local park or the beach. Go to a coffee shop by yourself and people watch. Lock yourself in the bathroom and give yourself a facial, do your nails, and take care of your eyebrows. Whatever it is you need to do, take an hour to yourself to decompress (without your cell phone!).
8. Sign off of social media for a while
Let’s be real: social media is a time suck and can be mentally draining (hello 2016 elections). While it’s healthy to stay in contact with friends, we can all agree the amount of social media we partake in as a society is unhealthy. Take a social media vacation for a bit.
9. Remember what’s important
Dishes or your sanity? Overtime at work or a healthy relationship with your spouse? Jesus said it best: “Few things are needed in life.” Make a list of everything you need to do and find ways simplify your lifestyle. Whether it’s getting rid of the large amount of clothes you have in your closet or getting rid of unnecessary furniture (less to clean, right?), start cutting out the fat and decide what is really important to you. For example, I got rid of plants around the house that take more work and have cactus instead. We’ve reduced the amount of clothes we have by donating them and now take our laundry to a fluff and fold to gain back some time during the weekend.
Do you struggle with stress and over-busyness? Let us know so we can encourage you! Or do you have any ways that have helped you refocus your time? Please share with our readers below!