This past week our oldest son, Erik, and daughter-in-law, Lauren, had a baby (our first grandchild). It flooded me with memories of when Erik was born himself.
I never knew a baby could require so much time and attention. We were so blessed to have Erik (and his two brothers later on), and we loved every minute. However, the amount of focus needed was a surprise.
There will be many seasons in marriage. Life with a newborn is a season when each marriage partner must give the other more grace than normal.
For one, when we are physically and mentally exhausted it is easy to become impatient with each other and say things we don’t really mean.
In 1 Kings 19 is the story of Elijah after a huge spiritual victory. I won’t go into the details here, but you can read about it in 1 Kings 18. Elijah was physically and spiritually exhausted. He told the Lord he had had enough and prayed God would take his life. Instead Elijah slept and God sent an angel to feed him and give him water to drink. Then he put him back to sleep and woke him up again for more food and water.
You may not have a new baby, but maybe your life is just full of extra challenges right now. You wonder how in the world you can even think about carving out extra time to sleep or do anything to take care of yourself.
In observing many couples throughout the years, I have learned, we can push ourselves for a while, but we must not allow that to become a lifestyle. It will come back to bite us. Even this week a friend of mine was sick because she went too many nights with only a few hours sleep due to a project she was working on.
My wise daughter-in-law is learning to sleep when the baby sleeps. We, in our own season, must learn to implement whatever solution we can come up with to remedy our own challenging schedule.
When traveling by plane, the airline attendants say, “If the cabin pressure drops, an oxygen mask will come down. Put it on you first and then on your child.”
The reality is, it is necessary to take care of ourselves so we can do all the things required of us as moms, dads or spouses. Is it easy to do? No. Sometimes it takes a lot of creativity to carve out even a little time.
In addition to sleep, eating properly and drinking enough water, figure out what it is that brings you joy. Some people like shopping, exercising or reading. Others just love sitting at Starbucks and having a cup of coffee. Whatever it is that refreshes you, I encourage you this week to escape for even a few minutes to become refreshed.
You will be amazed how taking even a little time for yourself can actually connect you with your spouse and give you more energy to pour into each other and the family.