When Marriage Meets Busy: A Game Plan

Do you ever struggle to stay connected with your spouse when life hits a busy season? I’m not talking a regular, consistent lifestyle of busyness — that’s an entirely different issue that may require an overhaul of schedules and priorities. I mean those months here and there where plates feel fuller than normal and, as a result, date nights seem scarce.

My husband Ted and I hit one such season last summer.

While we weren’t like two ships passing in the night, at times it definitely felt like we did an awful lot of passing and not so much pausing.

We passed each other in the hallway, in the kitchen, and even in our master bedroom bathroom. There were many “Good mornings” and “See you laters,” but not nearly enough “How are yous?” At least not ones paired with actual time to stop and intently listen then and there.

Between Ted’s growing responsibilities at work, me writing my first book, and us parenting four kids under the age of ten, finding time to sit down and delve deeply into each other’s daily experiences wasn’t happening. Our current schedules didn’t allow for a lot of quiet dinners of green curry and drunken noodles at our favorite Thai restaurant.

It seemed that any attempt at having a conversation of depth was interrupted by a work-related emergency or a needy child. This left one of us quickly promising, but not always following through with a “We’ll talk later, okay?” But when later finally came, sometimes we couldn’t even remember what it was we’d wanted to discuss in the first place.

This soon took a toll on our normally strong communication patterns. We hit a two-week period where misunderstandings and offenses left no room for clear communication and grace.

One evening, we finally hashed it out. I won’t pretend it was pretty. It wasn’t. It reeked of more misunderstanding. More offense. And even angry words. In the end, we both agreed to abandon our pride and hurt feelings in exchange for humility and forgiveness.

We also found ourselves determined not to let this seasonal busyness eat away at the unity of our marriage. Unity was too important. The problem was we knew it would be a couple months before our schedules would lighten. We needed a strategy in the meantime; a game plan to put into action while we waited for things to slow down.

[Read the rest of the article at For the Family.]

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Ashleigh Slater is the author of the books, Team Us: The Unifying Power of Grace, Commitment, and Cooperation in Marriage and Braving Sorrow Together: The Transformative Power of Faith and Community When Life is Hard. She loves to combine the power of a good story with practical application to encourage and inspire readers.