Have you ever put off a problem until it became a crisis?
Maybe the little leak became expensive repairs, or the living room that just needed to be straightened turned into a disaster area and you realized just as company was on their way.
It’s easy to do, right? For the most part, we live in a very fast-paced society with constant demands that leave us feeling emotionally and physically drained at the end of each day. At least, that’s how it seems to be for me. It seems like there are always appointments, deadlines, events, etc. that leave us scrambling from item to item on our to-do list. It’s easy to put off the things that don’t seem “as important” as others.
In reality though, how do we decide what things need to take priority? If we’re feeling worn down, it can be quite tempting to put off the things we dread addressing. In doing so, however, it often creates a bigger problem – perhaps even a crisis – that we are forced to conquer at a later time. Unfortunately, that often means that by the time we address it, it has morphed into a monster problem and is more draining than it initially would have been.
How does this apply to your marriage and family?
What about the little incident that happens between you and your spouse that leaves you simmering, with your feelings hurt? Some of those situation may genuinely be “no big deal,” but some situations may be bigger than we care to admit, just because the thought of addressing them may be difficult or overwhelming. What about the disrespectful attitude from your adolescent child (or younger!)? It may be easy to let it slide when the thought of enforcing a consequence is more exhausting than you’d like to undertake, but doing so will likely lead to more frequent displays of the same (or escalated) behaviors.
Even when you are exhausted, make sure you’re not choosing to ignore the situations that need to be addressed. There are many problems in this world that, no matter how much we wish it would, ignoring will not make them disappear.
1. Be assertive with your spouse: respectfully stand up for your rights (while respecting his/hers). For example, “I understand that you’re exhausted from work, but I feel very hurt when you speak to me in that tone. If you’d like to talk about it, I’m here to listen. Otherwise, please be aware of how you’re speaking to me.”
2. Be assertive with your children. “I’m sorry you’re having a difficult time with school, but you may not take it out on me. Either speak to me respectfully, or you will be losing your _____ privilege.”
3. If you need to let something go, make sure you’re holding on to the relationships first. The rest is just detail.
Keri Kitchen is a devoted wife and mother, blogger, author of Love Isn’t Selfish, licensed mental health counselor, and founder of The Carys Rainn Foundation. To read more about what God is doing in her life, visit her blog at www.aftertherainn.com