For as long as I can remember, my husband made time to do something for himself, something he enjoyed, every day. Whether it was playing video games, spending time at the fire house, watching a ball game, playing cards or sleeping in on weekends, he got that 'me' time every day. Honestly, there's no gracious way to say this...IT MADE ME CRAZY!!
Crazy jealous, crazy resentful, crazy annoyed, crazy ANGRY!! When I would look around the house, seeing all the things he COULD be doing, the resentment grew and my respect for him shrank. As I wondered why he wanted to go to a friend's house to watch a ballgame, I didn't understand WHY he wanted to be with his friends more than he wanted to be with me. It wasn't until I read chapter four of The Surrendered Wife that I fully understood what was going on and why I was feeling that way and why he was oblivious.
The airlines get it. And they share it every time you fly with them. In the preflight instructions,they tell you that in the event of an emergency you must put on your oxygen mask before assisting anyone else with theirs. What?!
As women, wives and mothers, we spend so much time and energy taking care of everyone else, don't we? We're so sacrificial, and somewhere along the way, that attitude of being sacrificial has permeated society so that we think if we're not sacrificing the things we enjoy, we're not being Christlike. I think we've missed it, and maybe that's why Paul wrote this:
Do not be interested only in your own life, but be interested in the lives of others. ~Philippians 2:4
It starts with the assumption that you're interested in your own life, doing the things that take care of yourself, then asking that you step beyond that into helping others. Chapter four of The Surrendered Wife is Take Care of Yourself First, and outlines how taking time to do three things a day that you enjoy or that make you feel good will change your perspective on your day.
"Surrendering takes patience and concentration, which are nearly impossible to conjure when you're fried and frazzled. Usually there's a direct connection between self-care and your level of tolerance for your husband." - The Surrendered Wife, page 69
There's a similar checklist we encourage addicts to consider when they are craving their own solution to make them feel better about themselves. When you find resentment rising, ask yourself, are you:
- sleep deprived?
And the author, Laura Doyle, is also suggesting you ask yourself if you have taken care of yourself today by doing three things that are either fun or make you feel better after you've done them. Are you coming up blank on what those things might be because you haven't done them in so long? Get out your pen and paper, and start making a list of ten of each. Here is my list, along with ideas from the book:
Things that I enjoy:
- lying in the sunshine
- floating in the pool
- a pedicure
- a manicure
- coffee date with a girlfriend
- taking a walk
- watching West Wing (or some other old series on Netflix...don't judge me)
- coffee on our deck
- lunch on our deck
- taking a bubble bath
- petting our dogs
- occasionally getting take out instead of cooking
- eating ice cream
Things that make me feel good (even if I don't necessarily enjoy doing them at the time):
- reading the bible/devotionals
- DIY manicure/pedicure
- cleaning out my closet to donate items to Goodwill
- cleaning just about any room of the house
- grocery shopping
- preparing lunches for the week (washing lettuce, black beans, dicing veggies, etc.)
So, you've made your lists. Time to make doing three things a day for yourself a priority...do what it takes to fit these things in. Get up a little earlier, go to bed a little later, do whatever it takes. If it involves going out, choose a day/time that doesn't conflict with your husband's schedule and let him have some quality time with the kids. Resist the temptation to plan their time together.
As I started to look after my own interests before looking after my husband's, son's and everyone else's, I found I was excited for Scott to have his time for his own interests, that he was often a better man for it. I found I had more energy, was less stressed, and didn't feel like I was trying to balance the whole world while pogo sticking. As I had more energy, was less stressed, and more approachable, the time my husband and I spent together was more rich, intimate, carefree and fun.
I'd strongly encourage you to make reading God's Word/doing a devotion/praying #1 on your list EVERYDAY. As you partner with God each morning, meditating on His Word for your life, submitting yourself and your day to Him, your perspective of your life, husband and children will change.
Check back next week to understand the power of KNOWING what you want and how to tell your husband!!
What's on your lists? Share with us here!
In case you've missed it, this post is part of a series following along with The Surrendered Wife. I'd strongly encourage you to pick up the book and read along! Catch up on the blog series now by reading:
PS, my husband and I did talk about the subtle, slippery slope of spending more time on self care than on anything else throughout your day. It's about priorities. Self care is a means to an end...not the end.
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