One of the biggest reasons we find ourselves running low on fuel as a husband, as a wife, as a mom, and as a dad…..is because of self-neglect.
When self-neglect becomes a habit everything feels like a challenge, we almost always run out of energy for our marriage too. We don’t have the energy to surprise our spouse anymore. We don’t pursue each other romantically like we used to. Relational intimacy is too much effort after a long day of work and parenting. We stop listening. Talking gets harder. The energy for each other is gone. Loving our spouse with kids in the house becomes an enormous task because our energy has been so depleted giving to our kids that we don’t have much left. There’s little, if anything, left to give to our spouse.
Sustained self-neglect eventually leads to sacrifice, and the sacrifice is usually our spouse.
Self-neglect is dangerous not only because it steals our energy but because it becomes a convenient distraction or excuse to ignore important relational needs and concerns. Under pressure, self-neglect forces our marriage to take a backseat. “I just want to focus on getting the kids through this year,” one wife told me. In the middle of a hectic time, a husband said, “I don’t have time to be thinking about what she wants too!”
We all have legitimate activities and circumstances that demand a lot of us. But we need to be careful that self-neglect and self-sacrifice for the sake of our kids does not become an excuse for spouse-neglect as well. We need to guard against allowing resentment to build up between us because of poor communication or conflicts that get ignored or minimized. All of these “gas guzzlers” can leave us depleted and distant in our most important human relationship.
Here are 10 signs that you may be suffering from self-neglect:
- Sustained feelings of being overwhelmed by normal tasks
- Loss of joy and excitement
- A diminished romantic life
- Being easily irritated, always feeling “on edge”
- Sensing a lack of peace, or being “unsettled” in your soul
- Feeling overly anxious
- Unresolved bitterness or resentment
- Frequent illness or chronic health issues
- Lacking enthusiasm for activities you once enjoyed
- Feeling drained, burned out, or unusually tired
A marriage that is healthy when kids are in the house is a marriage in which each spouse protects the other. On our own, we are easily overpowered. We run out of fuel. But when we are watchful of each other, when we have each other’s back, we can recognize when our spouse is dangerously low on fuel. If we are going to love one another with the new added dimension of having children, it takes stepping in to provide the much-needed love, respect, attention, and support our spouse needs!
This is just one of many challenges a couple faces when they move from married to married with children. For Better or For Kids offers a place to learn and grow together as a couple. It is our open book (literally) to our marriage and our life in hope that we can encourage you to grow together as a couple and not apart during this season.
In all honesty, it is a battle: keeping our spouse a priority with all the hustle and bustle of life with children. But we know it is possible and not only it is possible, it is the way God intended for it to be.
Today we are so thrilled that our book, For Better or For Kids is available wherever books are sold, but I don’t want just to tell you about it. I want you to join me as we invite other husbands, wives, moms, and dads to make a vow to love their spouse with kids in the house. I’m 99.9% sure that you know at least one couple (besides yourself) who could use this book…this message right now. Join us and tell him or her about it or better yet, if you have the means to do so, grab them a copy too. This sacred bond with intimate companionship and divine purpose is worth every ounce of energy required to hope for and work toward. Marriage will not always be what we expected or dreamed of, but marriage by God’s design is good—very good!
Grab Your Copy of For Better or For Kids here:
Because we are so thrilled to launch our book out into the world we are celebrating with a week of giveaways!! To begin our celebration of the release of For Better or For Kids this week we’re giving away a beautiful custom print from Gracelaced, as well as his and hers Bibles to two winners!
This beautiful watercolor print is made by a wonderful friend of mine, Ruth Simons from Gracelaced. Her shoppe is full of all kinds of beauty and I knew this print would be a wonderful addition to any home…a beautiful reminder of the bond between a husband and wife.
The NIV Thinline Bible is the perfect Bible to take with you anywhere. It is one of my very favorites! His and Hers!!
To enter to win this print above and his and hers Bibles:
STEP 1: Share this post on Facebook and tag 2 friends who you know with a spouse and kids in the house.
STEP 2: Comment below and tell us who you tagged :).
We will pick two winners from the comments below who will win his and hers Bible, as well as the beautiful print.
Patrick (and Ruth) Schwenk