Holy cow! The saying really is true…”If mom ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy”!! I found this out recently when I was having a super stressful, overwhelmingly busy day. My husband was away from the house and he called to see if I had time to take care of a low priority task. I responded by saying “I really don’t have time for that. I am so busy I can hardly breathe.” Well, as soon as he heard me say that, and as soon as he grasped my stress level, I could tell his own anxiety and stress level shot through the roof. He got increasingly agitated on the phone. It was then that I realized that a wife’s stress is contagious! I was spreading the stress virus.
Now, I’m not saying that you or I should try to hide our stress from our husbands or pretend it doesn’t exist, but I did get to thinking that my husband’s anxiety and stress is directly tied to mine. So, I believe what I need to do is re-examine my schedule and my priorities. Perhaps I need to cut some things out of my schedule so that my stress level drops. God wants us to live a peaceful life where we actually have time to spend refreshing moments with him. This reminds me of the story of Mary and Martha in Luke 10. Jesus comes to the home of these two sisters and Martha is stressed out trying to take care of the hospitality details, while Mary sits quietly at the feet of Jesus. Martha complains to Jesus about her sister, but Jesus says this in verses 41 and 42: “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better…”
Maybe it’s time for us to re-examine our busy schedules. Maybe it’s time to cut back on our activities or the kid’s activities. Maybe we need to spend less time scrolling through social media and checking the latest news, so that we are not so squeezed for time to do the tasks in front of us. Maybe we need to start each day by meditating on God’s Word and bringing all our concerns to Him in prayer. For me….it will not only be good for my health, but also for my husband’s health. How about you? Are you stressed out a lot? Do you need to take a hard look at your schedule? Would your anxiety and stress level drop if you spent more time with the Lord?
Who would have thunk it? (Yes, I know thunk is not a word). Anyway, I discovered something absolutely fascinating several years ago, and it was confirmed by a young wife at Squadron of Sisters during a subsequent meeting. Husbands can become very stressed, anxious and uneasy when their home is a mess! I had read surveys about this before, but it was really underscored by what a wife shared with our group.
She said her husband started to have pretty severe anxiety problems. She didn’t understand why. He had a good job. She had a good job. Their relationship was going well. So what could be the problem? Well, she attended an SOS meeting where we shared that men really desire a tidy household. So, she went home and created a chore chart with stickers (yes, like parents use with their kids!). She didn’t do all the chores herself. She simply took charge of creating a plan to make sure the house could become tidy and clean.
The result? Within a very short time, her husband’s anxiety completely disappeared! Wow! I guess that Proverbs 31 wife really has it figured out. In verse 27, the Bible describes her as a woman who “looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness.” Coming up with a plan to keep your house tidy and clean can really boost your man’s sanity! P.S. You might find that your anxiety drops a notch or two as well!
In a recent prayer time, God gently confronted me. He asked me this simple question. Are you going to be a slave to your to-do-list today, or are you going to focus on bringing me glory? Another way of putting this is: Are you working tirelessly to bring yourself glory as the “perfect wife’, “perfect mother”, perfect Christian, etc, or are you releasing your day to God and asking him to show you what to do and what NOT to do in order to bring HIM glory?
Oh man! Busted. To be honest, I tend to drive myself to always do more and do it better, because I want to look good in other people’s eyes. I become exhausted and stressed in the process. The good news is that God didn’t design us to be people-pleasers. Yes, we are to love people, but our focus shouldn’t be on doing whatever they want. Our focus also shouldn’t be trying to look good in people’s eyes. The Bible reminds us in Galatians 1:10 “For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God?”
I am confident that if you and I were both to release our days to God and ask Him to guide us, we would find much more peace! We would be free of performance-exhaustion. Instead, we would be free to follow God’s promptings, which will lead to greater joy and peace than we’ve ever known. In fact, if you listen for God’s voice, he might even tell you to take a nap or relax while listening to praise music! God’s Word promises that those who seek to follow Him (instead of following their own agenda) will enter peace! (Isaiah 57:2 says, “For the righteous man is taken away from calamity; he enters into peace.” And Isaiah 26:3 reminds us, “You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.”
If you’re like most women, you’re busy…REALLY busy. Most of us are multi-taskers to the max. We are trying to balance housekeeping, with nurturing children, with investing in our marriage, with maybe even working full-time outside the home. Oh, and you might be trying to help out at the local food bank or your church too! More than likely, you’re exhausted, stressed, and maybe even a bit cranky. Did I hit that nail on the head?
How about if we all intentionally slow down? What if you and I were to ask God in prayer for His direction on where we can cut something out of our busy lives? Is there a better way to divide responsibilities in our home? Should you cut out one of the kid’s activities?
Do you simply need to take 15 minutes twice a day to be still with God? Psalm 46:10 says, “Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!”. Maybe it’s time for us to carve out some time to be still. I have a feeling that we will find our stress drain away as we enter a time of stillness, and as we become less stressed, everyone around us will benefit! In fact, your husband may become the biggest fan of your “be still” time with God! You’ll probably be less cranky.
So many couples, especially young couples, argue over money. They disagree over how much to spend, how much to save, the financial priorities, whether to help loved ones in need, whether to give to the church, and on and on.
You might not be aware, but the Bible actually gives a ton of guidance on how to handle money and possessions! I have found 3 particular Bible principles to be especially helpful for couples who have been suffering from financial tension and strain in their marriages. Allow me to summarize those principles for you. (You can look up the verses for yourself and ask the Lord to counsel you directly).
Bible Principle 1: Live intentionally below your means! (Hebrews 13:5) So many couples are under heavy financial strain because there is no real cushion in their budget. They’ve bought the biggest house they could possibly afford or the most expensive car they could afford, and then when something unexpected comes up, they become super stressed-out and start ugly arguments!
Bible Principle 2: Don’t wear yourself out or stress yourself out by working too much to accumulate possessions and wealth because those things will mean nothing at the end of your life. The only thing that will matter is your love for the Lord and the people he placed in your life. (Proverbs 23:4)
Bible Principle 3: Take a step of faith and cheerfully give some of your money back to the work of the Lord because He promises to reward those who trust Him by doing so! (Malachi 3:10). I’ve done this faithfully for several decades whether I felt like I had the money to give or not. The Lord has always provided for me, sometimes in strange and unusual ways!
Is there a lot of tension in your home? Are you or your husband stressed much of the time? There’s likely an imbalance in one or both of your lives! I know that’s been the case for my husband and me. In our case, we got so bent on running ministries, counseling others, and helping take care of grandchildren that there was little to no time at all for us to simply relax and enjoy some recreation. God didn’t intend for us to be so “driven” that we can’t enjoy life at all.
On the other hand, Satan wants you to be so busy that you become stressed, pay no attention to nurturing your marriage or yourself, and then both you and your marriage slowly wither and die. But Jesus says He wants us to enjoy life to the full! Meditate on what Jesus says in John 10:10 “The thief comes only to steal, kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life and have it to the full”.
All work and no play is a formula for disaster. We all need to intentionally carve out time for recreation and rest and fun. My husband and I just got away for a weekend. We relaxed, and it was rejuvenating! Our stress level decreased. My goodness, even Jesus needed to get away from the stress of his work to spend quiet time alone. Luke 5:16 says Jesus “often withdrew to desolate places and prayed” Is there an adjustment you need to make in your schedule or a weekend get-away that you need to plan for you and your husband?