My husband and I have some exciting news. We just moved into our new apartment! We are so incredibly blessed and we are so thankful for all the help that we received from our friends and family with the move. We ultimately thank God for providing this place for us after we looked for weeks to find the right living situation.
Before we moved, we had a lot of packing to do. The packing involved decluttering, mustering up some boxes, organizing our stuff in designated boxes, filling up the U-Haul with all our stuff, taking the stuff out of the car and bringing it into our new apartment, and eating pizza with our friends after we (edit: they) finished all the heavy lifting. We still have to unpack and clean a bit, but are taking it one box at a time.
After working really hard the past few weeks, move-in day was an absolute breeze. All the hard work that we had put into the packing process helped us to have a better handle on what is normally a crazy day. It was like we were on auto-pilot. I realize when I am stressed, I sort of turn off my emotions and just go. It makes it easier to focus on what I’m doing instead of how I’m feeling at the moment. Then, after we get through everything, no matter if I’m happy, sad, angry, or whatever, I start hysterically crying (be prepared for a blog post when that day comes!).
I feel like marriage can be like that sometimes. I know I’ve talked about how you have to make time to connect with your spouse and there are times when you have to remember why you fell in love. But after moving, I have been thinking about how some moments just require you to move without thinking, to just get the work done. You just need to get the boxes inside your new home. You just need to get to your destination when you’re on vacation. You just need to get your kids to school in the morning. You want to be intentional in those moments, but with the nature of how quickly things need to get done, you are sort of in go-mode.
We should not be like this most of the time. While there are families that move often, most people are not moving out of their house every day. While people are busy and schedules are packed, our spouse should not come second to these experiences. These experiences where we are on auto-pilot should be the exception, not the routine.
During our routine, we should be pouring into our marriage, so that when we are on auto-pilot, our love and respect for each other should be ingrained into everything we do. Create healthy habits every day so that when the stress comes and you find yourself slipping away from your emotions, you can still fall back on those habits. These habits include praying daily for your spouse, controlling your anger, speaking clearly, being thankful for one another, and being quick to forgive. During those stressful times, these habits will be like a breath of fresh air to your situation.
When we are stressed, the last thing we want to do is be nice to anyone. As the most impatient person I know, I can be very short-tempered when I have multiple items on my to-do list. Unfortunately, I don’t practice those habits that I shared when I’m feeling stressed, except praying a quick “God, I need you.” That’s why I try to keep my stress to a minimum. The people I love do not deserve to be disrespected, misunderstood, and taken for granted. I need to practice love, patience, and self-control in every situation, and I can cultivate those fruits in both the calm times and the storms of life.
While we want to constantly have lovey-dovey feelings for our spouses, the reality is that life gets in the way sometimes. Instead of acting like storms and busyness will never happen, we need to prepare ourselves for when they do. Make time to connect and relax most of the time, and when you anticipate life is about to get stressful, create a plan that will help to minimize stress. Ultimately, trust God to prepare you for what is to come.