Day 25: 6 Ways To Preserve Your Marriage When You’re Too Busy Pouring Into Others
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You listen to a friend whose heart is breaking as her marriage is crumbling around her, you sit with a mom whose child is facing a serious illness, and you hold her hand tightly as you pray with her. You pray with another who has just lost a loved one, and you hold her as you cry with her. Then you go home, drained and exhausted.
How do you keep your marriage together when stresses are threatening to pull you apart? How can you fill your children’s emotional cups all day long, be there for a dear friend who is struggling, get dinner on the table, and manage to have anything left over for your husband?
What happens when you are so busy pouring into the lives of others that you feel like you have nothing left to pour into your marriage?
Is it o.k. to neglect our marriages in order to better serve the Lord? How do we “bear one another’s burdens” without having those burdens overwhelm us and strain our marriages?
We have to learn how to care for others without becoming overwhelmed by their needs or problems. We do this by setting boundaries and priorities and leaning heavily on the Lord:
1. Share their burden but don’t carry it FOR them. You can love them, encourage them, empathize and pray with them, but you must not carry that burden as if it were your own. Point them to the Lord. You want them to be leaning on Him, not on you.
Sometimes we may find ourselves stepping in and taking over in a situation. Soon we can find ourselves doing things for people that they really should be doing for themselves.
Help them as the Lord directs, but don’t take away their opportunity to help themselves. Remember that the burden is theirs to carry, not yours. Taking on the problems of others will only add to your own burdens.
2. Don’t bring it home. When you are home, be HOME! When we care about someone it can be so easy to let our minds get discouraged and overwhelmed by their needs.
If we aren’t careful our evenings will be filled with other people’s problems and concerns instead of being filled with the love and laughter of our own family. Take those burdens to the Lord and trust Him to take care of them and let it go. We won’t have time to do the things God has called us to do when we are too busy trying to do His job.
3. Set boundaries. There are some lines that must not be crossed. You don’t have to be available 24 hours a day. It’s o.k., and healthy even, to set boundaries that protect you and your family. Shut off the phone when you need to, let the answering machine answer it, don’t answer the doorbell. Know that it’s o.k.
“Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.” Mark 10:9 (NIV)
4. Guard your relationships. Make your loved ones a priority and view your time with them as something to be protected. You can’t do everything, and you can’t BE everything to everybody. Remember your priorities. You are a wife and mother FIRST. Be prayerful about anything or anyone who tries to monopolize your time or doesn’t respect your boundaries.
5. Know how and when to say no. It’s o.k. to say no, you can’t do everything. Is the request in line with your priorities? Do you have the time? Have you prayed about it? Does it cross your boundaries?
6. Go to the Lord daily for your strength. You have to continually go to the Well and fill up or you’ll be running on empty. Find someone to hold you accountable to time in the Word and prayer and to the boundaries and priorities you’ve established.
Your relationship with the Lord is a wall of protection around your marriage, and your marriage is a wall of protection around your family. Don’t let it crumble.
Such a great post!!!! I am a servant at heart and these are great things to remember. Sometimes we just want to take all the hurt and pain away and we can not necessarily do that so it then causes stress in our lives. We can not allow that. Thank you for these tips. Hubs and I are spending some time together this weekend bc we have been pouring into other a lot lately. We need some us time!
Oh, I hope you and your hubby have a lovely time! Sometimes we just need to get away together with our spouse and not talk “church talk” or “family” talk but just leave all the stress (be it good or bad) behind! Enjoy your WE time! 🙂
Thank you! I have had to do this recently, break off an unhealthy friendship and I’m very much at peace with it. I pray she finds God at the end of what she’s searching for, but I realized she didn’t respect the boundaries of my relationship and child.
Good for you for having the wisdom to know when you needed to set some boundaries. That’s hard to do but sometimes it’s necessary, isn’t it?
I had to do the same. Sometimes you can work a relationship out with people who will hold to your boundaries and are able to stay in your life, but some people won’t. But that is *their* choice.
I set a boundary that I would hang up the phone whenever my person crossed over into yelling and screaming and verbal abuse and demands. She was told the boundary but didn’t like it.
I felt at peace with my decision, knowing that I and my family were safe and healthy and not verbally abused nor burdened with unreasonable demands.
And sometimes people grow and mature and then the boundaries can be moved or prayerfully lifted even! 🙂 But sometimes they can’t and, as you said, we just continue to pray that they will find God’s peace and direction for their lives.
Thank you so much! This is something I really struggle with. Everyone needs help but my priorities should be set in such a way that my prime energies are reserved for my husband and kids. #3 and 5 are especially helpful reminders. Too often I feel guilty for having to say no due to my physical and emotional limitations.
It’s so stressful and difficult when you’re pulled in two different directions with the needs of others and trying to balance your own families needs. I’ve been there too!
I have felt guilty for saying “no” many times too, but many times I have felt even worse saying “yes!” There have been times when I will jump to say “yes” without even prayerfully considering it. Those are the times I usually regret, lol!
In the past, I had to set a boundary for myself to prayerfully consider a decision for 24 hours before I gave an answer for something that demanded a big commitment or a lot of my time, but sometimes I crossed my own boundary, lol!
The difference is the peace that I have when I say “yes” to the right thing and “no” to the wrong thing. It’s not the wrong thing for someone else, but the wrong thing for me! 😉
So keep saying “no” when your priorities demand it and don’t feel guilty. When you say “no” to one thing you’re saying “yes” to something else, and sometimes that “yes” has to be to yourself and your family’s needs!
Nan…what a fabulous post. I wrote about saying no a while back because I was struggling with that but after allowing myself the okay to say no sometimes, I could breathe and not put my marriage, family, or self last on the to-do list. Delegating was a new way of doing things and gave others the opportunity to serve more deeply without me having to step away completely. I could still serve and be a wife and mom which are my first heart tugs. Thank you friend for a great list of ways to preserve our roles as wife and mom while still serving.
Thank you for your sweet words, my friend! I know that there have been times where I have been torn between someone else’s needs and my family’s needs, and sometimes I needed to reevaluate my priorities. I realized that I didn’t have to be the one to step in and “save” the situation every time, and could allow others to be blessed by serving and meeting a need.
I LOVE delegating, lol! 🙂
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