Last week I couldn't sleep. On one particular night I went to bed at 11, woke up at 1, and that was it. I was up for the night. I watched the clock from then until 8:00.
Throughout the day I tried to nap, but to no avail. I just couldn't sleep. So I was grumpy.
And guess what? Keith and I had a huge fight that night. I don't even remember much about what it was over, but I know it was big. So big that my daughter informed my best friend, whom she was visiting at the time, that she was kind of tired today because Mommy and Daddy woke her up fighting last night.
I felt just terrible. I berated myself all day, I prayed for forgiveness, I asked Katie to forgive me, and I was so nice to my husband (and he was nice to me). We went out to a nice dinner, we completely made up, and everything was fine again.
Until last night. I had a really busy day homeschooling the kids, and I was just feeling overwhelmed at my ability to get everything done this fall. And so, once the kids were in bed, I started pestering my husband about his schedule.
I don't know why I do this, but sometimes you just start attacking, and it's like you're almost outside of your body. You can watch yourself on a collision course, and you can't seem to stop. And that's what I did last night.
Now, we didn't deteriorate into a fight last night. We stopped it before it got too bad. But I was heading in that direction, and it took a lot of deep breaths and time outs to get it back on track.
And what was the common denominator in both of those events? I was tired. Really tired. Keith and I don't tend to fight when I'm feeling fine. We fight when I'm tired, or he's tired, or we're both stressed. That's when we take things out on each other, because on the whole we have a very good relationship. We don't really have much to fight about.
Put your own rest high up on your priority list. Get to bed at a decent hour every night, and make sure you get your eight hours. That's not always possibe, especially with young children, but do your best to train them to sleep so that you can sleep.
And say no to things. Don't let yourself feel overwhelmed, like I did yesterday. Part of this, in my case, is unavoidable. It's a season in my life I'm going through because my family needs me, and I'm going to have to learn just how to rely on God's grace to see me through some days. For many of us, though, "no" is a word we have to learn to say, even to ourselves.
I've had to begin to say no to the kids when they want to do things with me at 8:30. Keith has begun to tuck them in at night, because I often don't get to sit down to myself until 8:00 at night, and I need that time. I'm with the children all day, so I think they can live with it. But it's just a little bit of time I've managed to carve out.
So that's my advice for you this week: learn how to say no, and get some sleep. Then, if you're tired and you feel yourself going down a really dangerous road with your husband, stop, and suggest that you sleep on it. It's amazing how the next morning you'll realize how whatever it was you were upset about really doesn't matter!
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About Me: I'm a Christian author of a bunch of books, and a frequent speaker to women's groups and marriage conferences. Best of all, I love homeschooling my daughters, Rebecca and Katie. And I love to knit. Preferably simultaneously.