Overcome Resentment Toward Your Husband

Ever since I read, “The Surrendered Wife“, I’ve been very in tune to what I see around me. And you know what I see? So many of us women resent our husbands, and ACCEPT that that’s the way things are (especially after children). And you know what? I get it! Because I am human too. But I also have hope that it isn’t the way things have to be.


Disclaimer: This post is intended for women in relationships that have the everyday kind of frustrations. It is NOT intended for women in relationships with someone who is abusive, struggling with an active addiction, mental illness, or some other severe problem. Obviously, learning some new relationship skills would not be enough to improve the relationship and outside help would be necessary.

But first, a story and a video

Picture this, my husband gets from work, I’m busy making dinner. We get dinner on the table and I see the kids need to wash their hands, so I take it upon myself to get them to do it even though I am DONE. But, I think of my husband and how tired he must be so I do it. And I keep going.

And going.

And going.

After dinner the kids need a bath, and they need to brush their teeth, and read a story…and meanwhile my husband is relaxing, looking at his phone and I feel angry towards him even though I am trying to be a “good wife”.

Sound familiar?

I think many of us women worry so much about what other people are feeling and thinking, when we should first and foremost be tuned in to our own feelings. It is not selfish, it is practical so we can keep on loving at our best. We can only run on empty for so long before we blow up. It’s wonderful if your husband just knows to take over with the kids automatically, but if he doesn’t don’t let that be your excuse to keep things the way they are. You can’t hold your husband accountable for your emotional state. You are the master of your own happiness. When you do everything, you send the message to your husband that you don’t need his help, and he listens.

“You can’t hold your husband accountable for your emotional state. You are the master of your own happiness.”

The ways she behaves in this video I can so relate to. When she tells her kids to clean up their toys, then to go play with them, and then to clean them up again. And oh man, when her husband asked her for a glass of iced tea. Ha! It’s a long video, but even if you just listen to it while you are working on something else, it is worth it.

After surrendering

Imagine this scenario, your husband gets home from work and you had a long hard day. You warmly greet him and tell him that you are going to take a break in the bedroom. You come out refreshed, you have dinner, and when your kids ask things at the dinner table you defer them to your husband, so you can just STOP TALKING. I know it’s hard, because it means you will have to trust your husband’s leadership. There is a time and place to disagree, but if it’s over how many bites of broccoli and chicken Timmy has to eat before he leaves the table, I think you can let your husband take this one and it won’t jeopardize all the “enlightened parenting” you have done.

After dinner, you go take a shower and wash your face. You come out to find the dishes are done. You decide you are not up to giving the kids a bath, so you say “I can’t”, and retreat to your bedroom. Your husband does the whole bedtime routine, without you nagging him, and only calls on you to come kiss them goodnight. You are delighted and you receive his help graciously. Your husband strengthens his bond with the children, feels respected, and gets to have the honor of pleasing you.

“You are delighted and you receive his help graciously. “

So, are you a resentful wife or a surrendered wife?

Have you ever found yourself:

  • Irritated towards your husband and you don’t know why
  • Less attracted to your husband
  • Annoyed about all the little things, like forgetting to put his socks in the hamper
  • Frustrated at his lack of ambition
  • Lonely because he’d rather watch T.V. or stare at his phone than be with you
  • Angry with his lack of support with the kids
  • Wishing he’d help out more around the house
  • Feeling like you have to keep going and going like the energizer bunny because your husband won’t do it.
  • You don’t extend any grace when he is sick or tired. It’s as if you think he “has no right”

Practical ways to transition from resentment to intimacy

Here are some practical ideas for you to regain intimacy with your husband. I turn to them again and again

  • Acceptance. Accept reality. Accept that your husband may never put his underwear in the hamper consistently, even though he knows it bothers you. We are all human, and have bad habits and we can all be careless at times. I know I can be!
  • When you flip out about something small your husband is doing that normally wouldn’t bother you, this is usually a red herring that you need some self care. Go take a nap, a shower, call a friend. If whatever it is is still bothering you after that, then address it when you are in the right state of mind.
  • I don’t know exactly who this quote is from, I think it is Saint Paul, but let  “Seek to outdo one another in generosity” be your mantra. If you have this mindset you won’t be so worried about what your husband is or is not doing, anyway. Also, check this out.
  • Keep your eyes on your page. No peaking at his page! Reflect on your own shortcomings and try to improve. Reflect on your husbands strengths more than you ruminate on his weaknesses. Accentuate the positive.
  • Practice gratitude. Keep a gratitude journal. Thank your husband for all the little things he does.
  • Say “I can’t”when you are too tired or overwhelmed to do something. Practice vulnerability.
  • Practice personal responsibility – he’s not responsible for your happiness, you are.

For more ideas, I highly recommend reading either The Surrendered Wife, or the Empowered Wife. Both are written by the same author. I prefer the Surrendered Wife because it has more specific scenarios. The Empowered Wife is like the updated version.

Even though you may nag your husband at times, become resentful, or disrespectful, you CAN make progress toward being the kind of wife you want to be. Even though your husband may be more distant than he used to be, you CAN restore the intimacy you once shared. Thank God, there’s hope!

Self-Care: Mind, Body, and Soul – in the Midst of Serving Others

self-care

I learned some new lessons in self-care last week and I was reminded of how much I need it. Last week was a whirlwind of my birthday, Halloween, everyone catching colds and a mouse in the house. The latter resulted in about 5 additional loads of laundry and sanitizing every imaginable surface. Needless to say, I am emotionally drained. (Reality check: I have limits and I need breaks.) So, Saturday night I told my husband that I was going out for the morning. My Sunday plans were:

  • Go to mass
  • Spend time in adoration
  • Send some thank you messages and call my Grandma
  • Work on my blog
  • Enjoy a cup of coffee while it’s still hot
  • Check out Starbucks’ Holiday setup (really? That’s it guys? )

All of these things are 10,000 times harder to do when I have kids and a dog in tow. Because:

You should practice self-care because it is essential to serve long term and maintain healthy relationships. As a wife and mom of two young children and a puppy, I am one busy lady. If I am not intentional with my time, I will go days and weeks without a single moment to myself. And it’s not healthy. I become very ornery and overwhelmed when I don’t take time for a breather. And this message isn’t just for moms. It’s for caregivers of any sort. I think all Christians need to get really good at self-care because if you are a truly committed Christian, you’re never really going to be done serving. (Even if your children have grown up and moved out.)

My Definition of Self-Care

Things you do, uninterrupted, that nurture your mind, body, and soul. Sometimes they are spiritual like spending time in prayer or adoration, sometimes they take discipline like exercise, sometimes they are social like visiting a close friend, and other times they are pure pleasure like taking a nice hot bath, getting a pedicure, smelling flowers or savoring dark chocolate. It’s doing things that remind you, you are are a diverse human being who is more than just a mom, caregiver, grandparent, etc. You may also be a sister, daughter, artist, seamstress, avid reader, etc. All parts of you need nurturing and attention.

Times When Self-Care May Not Be Possible

You just had a newborn. Someone is sick. You are going through a very difficult season where someone needs care around the clock. This is okay and normal. But please, constantly evaluate whether or not it is time to thrive again and if there is help available. Assess and reassess your life to try to find pockets of time for rest.

Signs You Need to Practice Self-Care

The simplest way to know if you need self-care is ask yourself, do you feel happy? If not, it’s time. Here are some other signs:

  • Exhaustion has taken over.
  • You feel lonely.
  • You’re angry.
  • You are snapping at those in your care constantly.
  • You just can’t deal, even with small things like putting your kids shoes on.
  • Little things your husband (or other people living with you) does like breathe and exist are irritating you
  • Another mess or bang makes you want to scream

Why You Can Do It And Still Be a Good Christian

I think as Christians we think if we are strong we will serve at all times no matter what and never take a break – because we are called to a life of service and sacrifice, right? But we must not forget we are human. And we have human needs. Here are some examples to give you permission to practice self-care as a Christian:

  • Jesus drank wine, took a nap in a storm, and went off by himself to pray.
  • Saint Teresa of Calcutta spent 4+ hours in prayer and solitude.
  • Monks and nuns around the world spend time in recreation daily and have time to socialize and relax daily.

Importance of a Self-Care Sabbath

I got the idea of a “self-care sabbath” from the book, a Mother’s Rule of Life. The idea is to take time away from care-giving and refresh your soul through prayer, and solitude and even some activities you enjoy. It can be for the whole day or just 4 hours. It’s completely up to you and your unique life circumstances.

Everyday Self-Care

It’s important to know, though, you don’t need to wait until the weekend to practice self-care! You can find ways to make it work in your daily routine.

  • Take a nap.
  • Wake up early and spend time in the quiet or do something creative
  • Slip away after dinner and take a bath
  • Pack everyone up and take a walk so you can get some exercise.

A Special Message to Wives

I can already hear the wives reading this saying, “but my husband won’t let me do that”. Ladies, you don’t ask, you tell. Your husband is not your boss or your father. He is your partner. If he has a serious need, you need to trust he will let you know. All you have to do is communicate what you are going to do, and do it.

But he doesn’t know how to take care of our kids

The kids will be fine. They might eat cookies for breakfast but they won’t go hungry. They might have mismatched clothes, but oh well. Let him father them in his own way. They will probably all be so glad you are taking time away so you aren’t snapping at them left and right. You want what’s best for them, that’s what keeps you from leaving, but sometimes what’s best for them is to be away from you believe it or not! Because they need time with their Dad. And your name doesn’t start with a “G”. Yep, that’s right. You aren’t God and you can’t control everything. So do everyone a favor and take a break.

My husband still won’t step up

What if you try to follow my advice and it still doesn’t work? It sounds like your husband may have some more serious issues and that’s not good and I hope you will seek counseling. But I have a feeling most of the ladies out there haven’t tried this because they fear they are not being a good wife. I think all of us Christians can agree our number one job is to help our husbands and children get to heaven, Amen? Well let me ask you something: what is most likely to help them get to heaven? Doing everything for them and running yourself ragged or teaching them that everyone has needs, including you, and thereby teach them to step up to the plate, to support you and sacrifice and grow spiritually? I’d say it’s the latter, folks.

Additional Resources

Some great videos:

There’s a part in the video below perfectly exemplifies how I can get with my kids when I need self-care. (When she talks about telling her kids to go play with their toys.) Besides that, it’s just hilarious!

The video below is Jennifer Fulwiler speaking about balancing service to family and personal passions.

Some great articles on self-care:

Some excellent books:

And here’s a cute mug I designed!

We women are highly capable creatures. Just because we can do everything, doesn’t mean we should. Our happiness matters too!

So, now you have been given permission to take a break

Even though it feels impossible to practice self-care when you have so many responsibilities, it is so necessary to make time for it so you can keep going. No one can do that for you. It is a choice you have to make.

There’s Nothing Wrong With You

In your life have you ever felt like there’s something wrong with you? Because, you know, there must be because why else would you be so sensitive ?

Maybe growing up no one validated your feelings. You’d say you felt sad and they’d say that you shouldn’t feel that way or maybe they just would tell you to be quiet. Maybe in your adult life you expressed some deep dark feelings in hope of some compassion and understanding and you were shot down by “oh well I’ve never felt that way” or “that’s just the way life is” . Or maybe you have been vulnerable about some challenges you’ve been having only to have someone lie and act like they have no challenges or worse judge you outright. (I recently told someone my kids were sick and instead of saying poor things or something of the like they said “why? Again?”) Or maybe when you talk about your feelings the ones you love are quick to tell you that you are overreacting or saying you should see things from the other persons point of view when really all you need is to be allowed to feel your feelings and naturally you will come around on your own.

What did this do to you? It made you feel ashamed. Ashamed to have feelings. Ashamed to have needs. Ashamed to be human. It made you feel different. It made you feel like there’s something wrong with you.

It also made you feel vulnerable and like you can’t trust anyone. And that it’s okay for others to mistreat you, because if your family, the people who are supposed to love and protect you, allow for you to be hurt, then it must be okay.

I’m here to tell you there’s nothing wrong with you. Anyone who’s ever made you feel that way was acting out of fear and not out of love. The loving thing to do is to have empathy and hear someone’s feelings and not make them feel wrong to have them. We can’t control how we feel but we can control what we do.

It’s not normal and healthy for someone to disregard your feelings, to put you down, to say you are too sensitive, to tell you to get over it. They are rolling over you like a bulldozer. The healthy interaction that needs to take place is both parties sharing feelings openly and listening intently to how each person feels in a nonjudgmental, non-accusatory way. Three books that can help with this are :


Don’t Wait for the Storm to Pass

Image result for storm art

Life is so hard, right? There’s always something, isn’t there? I think sometimes we can get stuck in a cycle of saying things like:

“I hate my job”
“I feel horrible”
“I don’t have any time”
“I have too much to do”
“I’ll be happy when..”
“I’ll start exercising when…”
“I can’t do that because…”

We may say all these things, and sometimes they might have some truth to them. And sometimes they are just excuses. What matters is that life is always going to be hard, we can count on that. We can count on there to always be a storm happening or on it’s way.

Recently, I was telling myself an excuse to keep myself from blogging. I’ve seen that many mom bloggers I follow have regular childcare help, whether it’s friends, neighbors, or family – a village, so to speak. I told myself “I can’t blog until I have regular babysitting in place.” The only trouble is, months would go by and I wouldn’t make any progress in finding a babysitter. And getting a regular babysitter would really stretch our budget. And family doesn’t live close-by. And friends are a big help, but they can’t come as regularly as I’d need. Are you getting the picture here? After watching a video of one of my favorite bloggers, The Daily Connoisseur, I was inspired to find a way to blog anyway because that’s what she does. She just writes before her kids get up and works when they go to bed. What a smart lady! Then there are even other people who manage to work on writing books, 15 minutes at a time!

So if life is always going to be hard, why do we spend our time complaining about it? What if we just started to find ways to “dance in the storm” so to speak. We have to remember, there’s much in life that we don’t have control over. But there is a lot we do have control over. No matter how sick you are, how poor you are, how tired you are, how stretched for time you are, how many responsibilities you have, there is something you can do to make your life just a little better, and to improve the lives of those around you.

happy, inspiring, and wishbone image

Let’s not compound the stress of life by thinking such negative thoughts. Why not practice gratitude? Take time to evaluate our schedule and delete the unnecessary and replace it with what we truly value? Practice contentment so we can be happy now , wherever we are? Just try to live the way you really want to live. Even if you only have 10 minutes to exercise, or read that book, or to talk to your mom who lives far away, etc. 10 minutes still counts. 10 minutes can change your life. (Just ask Maggieothevalley, author of the  10-Minute Quit.)   You can do this. You can take the next step. Eventually, with the right choices and actions, you’ll feel better and get closer to your dreams regardless of your circumstances.

How to Be Your Own Superhero

We are the masters of our own happiness. We can’t depend on others to make us happy. We have to save ourselves, people, and be our own super heroes. We all need ways to improve our lives, make them easier and more streamlined and maybe even make us feel cherished like someone is serving us. Here are some ways to do that:

  1. Make goals and make them specific.
  2. Track your goals.
  3. Prep your breakfast the night before.
  4. Set out your clothes the night before.
  5. Get a coffee pot that has a timer so your coffee is brewed when you get up.
  6. Each day write down 5 things you are proud of that you’ve accomplished.
  7. Tell yourself great job when you do something good; rewrite the broken record that always reminds you of all your failures.
  8. Admit that your life is hard, but do something about it.
  9. Don’t compare yourself with others, compliment others while having gratitude for what you have.
  10. When you have a meal, use fine china and have the table completely set and play classical music. Even if it’s just snack time with your two toddlers.
  11. Bathe in the evening.
  12. Plan your weekly meals.
  13. Automate recurring household and work tasks by creating routines. 
  14. Buy your groceries online and pick them up at the store or have them delivered.

You will see all these things take time and effort, but trust me, once you experience the results you won’t regret doing it! You will have saved yourself from a lot of unnecessary stress.

8 Things for When You’re in a Funk…

See the source imageDo you ever feel awful and have no idea why?

Yeah, well, me too.

And I’ve realized that analyzing does not help and only exasperates it. I’ve discovered that action is all that makes a difference, because when you take a good action, good feelings will eventually come. And nothing can uplift your spirit like an act of kindness.

  1. Share an inspiring post.
  2. Compliment someone.
  3. Call a lonely person
  4. Visit an elderly person.
  5. Make something for someone.
  6. Do a project that will bless others.
  7. Pay for the person behind you.
  8. Surprise someone in your family.

What do you do when you are in a funk? Let me know in the comments!

Why You Should Create (Even if Your Work isn’t Perfect)

The world needs you to create.

And I’ll tell you why. But first, I love this verse:

Proverbs 13:12:

“Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life.”

Here is my understanding:

It reminds me that following my dreams and using the talents that God gave me will not only develop my talents more but it will bless my family and those around me.

To me, “hope deferred” is referring to when we allow self-doubt, fear, and anxiety to prevent us from doing what we know we need to do. We let our negative thoughts take control and our heart becomes sick. The reality is, we are all sinners and none of us are perfect and that’s okay. But we can still do something, no matter how small. We can’t let our brokenness discourage us, slow us down, or stop us. Remember, Saint Teresa of Calcutta said “Do small things with great love.”

My artwork and remember you don’t have to be perfect.

I drew the tree picture above. To be honest I’m not exactly happy with the way it turned out. But I realized, that’s exactly what this verse is talking about. I just need to keep doing the work. After all, God doesn’t command us to be successful, only faithful. If I listened to my thoughts of “what do you think you’re doing, it’s not going to turn out good enough” and “you don’t have time to draw a decent picture” , it would have never happened. And that wouldn’t have been pleasing to God.

And there may be other voices we hear that try to stop us…

“But you have small children, so you don’t have time”

“You work full time, so you don’t have time”

“You’re too old”

“You don’t have enough money”

“It’s selfish to take time for personal endeavors”

“You should be spending ALL of your free time with your family”

“You don’t know everything about it yet”

“You don’t come close to others doing the same thing”

“You’re not good enough”

“You already have enough to do”

Guys, if you ever have these kind of thoughts, don’t listen. And don’t wait until your work is perfect to share it. The world needs you and what you have to say. You tell those thoughts “yes, I’m not perfect, but I am good because I was made in God’s image and I’m using my talents which is what God wants me to do”. And you can thank God for getting you to where you are now and for the progress He has made in your life and all He has seen you through. You may not be where you need to be, but you are closer now and you are on your way!

Here’s a great memoir for pursuing personal passions as well as some great quotes:

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Remember, it’s not so much about the work itself. It’s about how God is working in us when we listen to Him and do the work. Pursue your creative passions. You might help someone else. You might transform yourself.

 

 

 

In a Funk? Here is What You Need to Do To Get Out of it

Do you ever get in a funk that you can’t get out of? Fake it till you make it.

I’ve been feeling off  emotionally lately. Stuck. In a rut. In a funk. I have had many wonderful things happen recently but I have just felt off.

When this happens, I tend to analyze, paralyze and get stuck in my head instead of accepting my thoughts and moving on.

You see, the problem is I want to control how I feel.

Trust me. I will work in my brain for hours trying to figure out why I am feeling the way I do and searching for some magic solution. I ask “Why am I feeling this why?” , “What did I do wrong?” I just try to figure it all out.

But since all that is impossible, I’ve realized even though I can’t control my feelings, I can control what I do. I can do happy. I can do peace. I can fake it till I make it. The good feelings will happen when they are ready.

 

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Because, you know, it’s okay to feel all of these guys. But as good ol’ Joyce Meyer likes to say, “When your get up and go has got up and gone, get up and get it back!” I love this, because what did Jesus say to the man at the pool who was feeling sorry for himself about not having anyone to help him get to the pool of water?

John 5:8

Jesus said to him, “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.”

The key is getting out of your mind and taking action. Some actions you can take to get out of the funk you are in:

  • Go for a walk.
  • Pray.
  • Meditate.
  • Read a book.
  • Bake something.
  • Call a friend.
  • Forgive someone.
  • Do a random act of kindness.
  • Surprise a friend or family member.
  • Change your routine.

Here are some books I recommend:


So even when you are stuck in a funk, just keep doing happy. Keep doing peace. You’ll get there and soon the feelings will come. Just trust the process.