Sleep is a marriage issue.
I’ve said that before, and I’ll say it again: often the biggest impediment to a good marriage isn’t sex, or finances, or other disagreements. It’s simply feeling exhausted, overwhelmed, and oh, so very tired.
Two weeks ago Keith and I spoke at a FamilyLife Weekend Getaway in Banff, and one thing that I stressed in the women’s talk is that we need to prioritize our marriages. But for many women, when you even say that they get tired.
Really? One more thing I have to add to my to-do list? It’s not enough that I have to keep the house in order and care for the kids and likely work (at least part-time?) I have to care for him, too? Isn’t he an adult? Shouldn’t he be able to look after himself?
I understand. I really do. But here’s the thing:
The best gift you can give your kids is to love their dad.
When they know that you are stable, then they feel so much more secure!
So I believe that making time for the marriage, even if it’s just to go to bed at a decent time, together, every night, is crucial. Having energy left at the end of the day for your husband is also absolutely crucial.
And this doesn’t have to be a big project. Often we can make very small changes everyday to help us feel more organized, more invigorated, and more able to devote our attention to our marriage. Even little things, like greeting him when he comes in the door (or when you do!), can change the whole tone of the marriage.
I’ve already written on this at length, and here are just a few posts that can help you:
Today, though, I’d like to share some resources from the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle Sale that will help you save time and energy, and help you be able to prioritize your marriage without feeling exhausted, like it’s one more thing on your to-do list.
With the Bundle Sale you get 84 ebooks and printables and downloads, plus $200 in bonuses. And these are all NEW books–only 3 or 4 have EVER been in a bundle before. So you can have such fun going through them and finding ways to use them to make real changes in your life.
Today let’s look at how to get more energy. I’m going to start with helping you streamline your day and get more energy, because it’s hard to think about the big picture issues when you’re just exhausted.
Step 1: Streamline the Things You Do Everyday
Laundry takes up so much time–and so much energy! For me, it’s not putting the laundry in the machine that’s the problem. It’s the folding and the putting away.
In Taming the Laundry Monster, Angi Schneider shares about how to figure out a laundry routine that works for you.
She doesn’t just tell you to adopt HER laundry routine. She takes you through all the steps to figure out what will actually work for you and your family.
And she totally encourages you to get the kids involved, too!
Ask yourself: If I could get my laundry more organized, would it relieve some stress? If so, then this is a marriage book!
Taming the Laundry Monster is part of the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle Sale!
Try Freezer Cooking
One of the biggest stresses is standing in front of the fridge at 5:00 and not knowing what to make.
What would happen instead if you devoted one day every month or so to getting meals ready–and then freezing them? You could defrost a meal at night, stick it in the crockpot in the morning, and you’d be all set to go! It’s easy peasy. And it reduces so much stress. No more knots in your stomach driving home from work as you dread walking in the door and being faced with the fact that everybody needs to eat, and you just want to curl up on the couch and relax!
And if you stay at home with your kids, you can play with them until the afternoon, and then just put the finishing touches on dinner, instead of having to start from scratch.
The Ultimate Homemaking Bundle has a variety of books on meal planning, once a month cooking, and more! There’s even a meal planning e-course. I find cooking so much fun and so relaxing, but it’s likely because I have teenagers and not toddlers. If you’re feeling stressed about meals, then getting more organized and planning can help get rid of that dread you have when evening comes, and help you enjoy your family–and your husband–more!
And then there’s an awesome one-month membership to Once a Month Cooking–a website that helps plan your menu, your shopping list, and even your cooking routine so that you cook once, and eat all month. It’s awesome! And it’s a free bonus with the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle.
Ask yourself: If I weren’t as stressed at dinner time, would it make a difference in how I treated my family?
Figure out a Homemaking Schedule
I truly believe that making small changes that make us feel more organized is often all it takes to turn a marriage around. When you’re less stressed, then your husband isn’t one more thing on your to-do list. He’s someone whom you love, whom you want to spend time with, who can actually resolve your stress rather than adding to it.
So get organized!
Blogger Amy Roberts, who homeschools a large family, wrote this great book on figuring out your routine–or your schedule. And she’s quite adamant that they are two different things. Some people love a schedule, where every minute is planned. Other people prefer a routine, when you tend to do this, and then this. Know your organization type, and then work towards it. She gives you the tools to create a schedule (or a routine) that works for you, and lets you feel like you run your day, your day doesn’t run you.
If you do that, you’ll end the day feeling like you accomplished something, not feeling like everything got away from you and you’re one big failure. I love the way she outlined the book (and there’s a section for homeschooling parents, too!)
Step 2: Learn How to Prioritize Your Marriage
Figure out laundry, meals, and homemaking, and you’ll likely feel a whole lot less stressed already. Now it’s time to figure out the big picture of our marriage and our lives, and look at how we can nurture our marriage!
To Love, Honor and Vacuum
The Ultimate Homemaking Bundle has something from me–an audio file of one of my most popular talks, about how to figure out your priorities as a wife and a mother.
I’m talking here about how to put first things first. How to get your kids to help more around the house, how to foster a feeling of respect so that you’re not always feeling put upon, and how to stop feeling so exhausted.
If you’ve ever wanted to hear what I sound like “in real life”, here’s your chance!
Plan Your Goals
I always find that if I take time to sit down, pray, and take stock about what I REALLY want to be doing with my life–and listen to hear what God is telling me He wants me to do–that I start to feel much more optimistic and excited about life. I find that there are lots of things I can begin to say “no” to because they don’t fit into my core values or my core goals, so that I can begin to say “yes” to the things that matter–including my marriage.
Leigh Ann Dutton has written a great book to help you plan, dream, and identify your goals. Take a week and work through it, and you’ll find that it’s much easier to prioritize your marriage, too.
And I think that this is such a key thing to do every few years, because you’ll find that your goals and your priorities change. When we don’t think these things through, we tend to operate on auto-pilot. And that’s when we start to feel like we aren’t being purposeful and we aren’t making a difference.
Step 3: Think about Your Husband
You’ve got your day-to-day life running more smoothly so you’re not as panicked. You’ve thought through your goals and what your priorities are in life. And now you’re likely feeling more peaceful and more purposeful, and so you can start to think through the specifics of how to make your marriage thrive!
Crystal has written a great 31-day devotional called Intentional Marriage: The Art of Loving Your Husband. Here’s what I like about it: It’s supremely, supremely practical. It’s not like each day is learning a big spiritual lesson, like how to forgive. It’s more like each day is teaching you to do something small which, when added up, becomes something big. It actually reminds me a lot of my book 31 Days to Great Sex! For instance, one day is simply “greet your husband at the door.” Seriously, this one little thing can turn around the whole feel of your evening together! Another day is “send your husband a verse”. And then there are some heavier days later in the month, but you get the flavor of what I mean. Little, practical things that build on each other that you can actually do!
So there you go–a look at how you can make major changes in your life, a little bit at a time, using resources from the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle Sale. Yesterday I shared about how to get your finances in order, and today I’ve concentrated on marriage. But this bundle has so many awesome resources that you could pretty much choose any goal–helping your kids read better, deciding to make healthier meals, getting your housework under control–and you could create a two-month plan to make major changes in your life that STICK.