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It’s been said that busyness is today’s mark of success, but it’s not necessarily a perk regarding your marriage. Despite the multitude of reasons you might need to slow down, your spouse most likely needs you to be less busy, too, to take care of yourself, take care of what matters, and be available to your family and marriage.

Whether it’s your spouse or you who needs to be less busy, everyone could use ways to improve their marriage, spiritual life, and family, which inevitably happens when we become less stressed. Here are some signs that your marriage needs you to be less busy.

You feel overwhelmed.

It’s easy to get to a place where you feel like there’s too much on your plate. Still, you don’t just need a getaway with friends for a weekend or more sleep at night; if you feel stressed, overwhelmed, or constantly tired, it’s going to ruin your relationship with your spouse. If you’re not physically, mentally, spiritually, and emotionally healthy, it’s challenging for the marriage to be healthy. It’s okay to let some things go. If you’re out four to five nights a week, choose to keep one or two of your responsibilities or activities that bring you the most joy. Then, without feeling shame or guilt, let everything else fall by the curb so your marriage doesn’t.

You’re more forgetful.

Did you know that failed memory can indicate too many things going on in your brain? That typically means there are too many things going on in your schedule and life. Failing memory can indicate other issues like the onset of dementia or aging; it’s often simply a matter of having too much on your mind that you can’t focus on what’s at hand or give your all to the people and projects that mean the most. Did you forget something your spouse asked you to do, a lunch appointment, or something your kid just told you not too long ago?

Too many compartments in your brain are filled with too many things to do, so cut the busyness and internal noise by focusing on the few people and things that matter in your life. Sometimes, that’s a challenging choice at first, but it often becomes the most effective and wisest choice you make.

You’re easily more aggravated and less patient.

In When You’re Running on Empty, author Cindi McMenamin included several symptoms of burnout from a doctor who regularly diagnosed burnout cases. In addition to symptoms like difficulty sleeping, chronic fatigue, and decreased concentration, that list also includes signs like increased anger at those making demands, irritability, negativity, cynicism, negativity, a sense of being overwhelmed and exploding easily at seemingly insignificant things. Upon reading those symptoms, you may realize that you’re in full-fledged burnout and realize that you need to take a sabbatical. That’s how severe burnout can be to one’s spiritual life, personal health, and marriage.

After some time at another kind of work, you might be ready to return to the emotional, mental, and spiritual challenges of your job. You may also be able to be once again the kind, patient, and loving person you are. Ephesians 4:2 reminds us to be gentle, humble, and patient, bearing with each other in love. If you’re not lovingly bearing with your spouse in everything, you may be too busy and might be experiencing burnout.

You neglect responsibilities.

Is your home always a mess? Has your yard attracted the attention of the HOA in a nasty letter? Are there projects waiting to be completed, broken items that need fixing, and clutter waiting to be cleared up in every corner of your house? Our homes should be a sanctuary, a place where you and your spouse feel safe, relaxed, and at peace. You should never feel stress, tension, or a sense of dread when you look around and see the neglect and mess you’re living in. If that’s the case, one or both of you are too busy, and whatever is taking you out of your house to do other things should be brought back into balance.

Have a conversation with your spouse and discuss priorities regarding living with a sense of order. Studies show that when your desk is clear, you’re more productive, and when your house is clean, you’re less stressed. When your bedroom is clutter-free, you can be more at ease and creative. If things around you seem to be spinning out of control or broken down altogether, one or both of you are way too busy. Slow down and take the time to put things back in order.

Your conversations are less frequent.

When was the last time you had a healing or meaningful conversation with your spouse? Chances are, when you’re busy, you’re more likely to drop it than take the time to discuss marital issues and work them out. Like a car that hasn’t had regular maintenance or an oil change in a while, your marriage can suddenly stop running from neglect. Healthy communication, or sharing your heart and listening to your spouse do the same thing, is one way to see into your spouse’s heart and let them see into your heart. Intimacy has been defined as, into me see, and if you’re not emotionally or verbally intimate, the physical intimacy can be nonexistent or not meaningful. Take the time to talk and listen.

There’s no laughter in your marriage.

Ecclesiastes 3:4 reminds us that there’s a time to weep and a time to laugh. Chances are there’s time to laugh in your marriage, especially if you’ve gotten too busy, but your marriage might need some laughter, and if it does, you’re obviously too busy. Sometimes, you have to conceal the funny things you share, but that also creates a bond. Keeping laughter in your marriage eases the stress and keeps you talking and being intentional in your marriage so you don’t let busyness or the day’s burdens overtake your marriage.

What are you willing to sacrifice for your marriage’s sake? What are you willing to provide so the two of you can have a closer bond? Work, friends, in-laws, and expectations others have on you can wait, but maybe your marriage can’t. You didn’t commit ‘til death do you part’ to your employer or your family. Invest in what matters most, or make it a matter of prayer. God honors your wish to invest time in your marriage. Bring God into the picture, surrender to Him and see Him come through for you by giving the rest you need.

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