Do you ever find yourself arguing with your spouse over who has it harder? Do you ever vent to your friends about how you do it all and your spouse doesn’t?
These can be common issues in a marriage, especially during the early years of raising children. Days are hectic, nights are sleepless, and everyone is exhausted. There’s so much to do and often it feels like there’s not enough time or hands to do it all.
A stay-at-home mom might think, “He’s got it so easy. He gets to go to work and be with adults all day. He gets to have alone time in the car and have a lunch break.”
A working husband might think, “She’s got it easy. She gets to stay home all day and play with the kids. I wish I could hang out at home every day.”
In trying seasons, it’s easy for a couple to start competing against one another like this instead of fighting for their relationship.
When we find ourselves competing with our spouse, we can use realign by using these practical steps:
- Acknowledge each other’s contributions: At the end of the day, you’re both contributing to your relationship and the family. It’s pretty impossible for the scales to always be equal, but that’s not the point. Acknowledge one another for how you participate in your relationship and family life. Speak highly of your spouse to others about how they care for you and your family.
- Speak their language: Using your spouse’s love language to express your love and gratitude will go a long way. When you each feel appreciated, the spirit of competition will diminish in your relationship.
- Communicate about issues and changes: It’s always better to have a conversation about what’s working and what’s not, rather than to deny an issue or stuff feelings. If you find yourself venting to your friends about your spouse more often than you’re talking to your spouse about what’s bothering you, you’re fighting for your right to be right more than for the success of your marriage. Be direct: ask your spouse for help when you need it.
- Give each other a break: No matter what the work scenario looks like for either spouse, you each need a break from the demands of work and children. Schedule regular breaks together and regular breaks alone. Give each other the gift of time to get away and be refreshed. You’ll each feel rejuvenated and less focused on who is doing more.
We sometimes forget that as spouses, we’re teammates. Reducing the competitiveness in our marriage will help us feel more connected and will make our bond stronger.