As many of my readers know, I recently took a new job. The work is fantastic. The pay is more than adequate. I’m respected, and I feel, and am told, that I’m a real asset to the company. Not only that, but it gives me a whole new group of people to model Christ to. However, it comes with a terrible downside: I commute 2 hours each way to work. 20 hours a week commuting.
That’s especially hard coming from being self-employed and working from my home for the last year.
Now, in 10 days, I get to start working one day a week from home, so that will help, but in the mean time … well, these past 7 weeks have been absolutely brutal as an adjustment period. Not enough sleep, not enough sex, not enough time to help my wife with the kids, the housework or the homeschooling.
And as a result, by the time I get home, I’m exhausted, and a bit grumpy, due to the long day. My wife is also exhausted and a bit grumpy having had to deal with our 5 children all day long alone (something she’s not used to). Plus, we still have a kid who wakes multiple times a night, and we’ve had a horrible cold & flu season the last couple of months, just to pile the stress on.
So, we have not been giving each other our best. Often we’re stretching our communication skills to the max just to be able to be semi-effective when talking to each other.
And this makes me feel sad, because neither of seem to be able to give the other our “best” by the time we finally see each other in the day. The very first we see of the other is after a grueling day…every day. Every week day at least. And then, the weekend comes around, and we’re in recovery mode. We still don’t have the energy to be our “best” … we’re just trying to recharge so we can survive the next week.
That makes me sad. That the people who mean the most to me, get the worst. The scraps of the table, as it were.
So, I’m going to try and make a concerted effort to change that. When I get home, I’m going to do my best to show them I’m happy to see them. To help out more. To give them, if not my best, then the best I can manage at least. Because anything less … well, it feels like I’m investing in the wrong relationships. Or at least, that my investments are weighted wrongly.
I’m afraid I don’t have any large insights here. This is more a post of me processing what’s going on in our life. But, maybe it will help you process similar things in yours. And for those who have gone through this, perhaps you can offer some insight.
P.S. Those are Canadian geese. The only reason I picked that picture. Couldn’t find anything else.
11 thoughts on “Does your spouse get the “best” you?”
I’m currently in a similar position but I’m the wife. 2 hours each way commute and still wanting to give my best to my husband and kids. Praying for some clarity about my next move.
I’ve been there. I had been married for only 7 years, two kids. two jobs, in school, studying for ministry, part time pastor, little time for wife or children. My wife had to confront me which fortunately worked. It took a few years, but we decided to move to a rural community, take a job where my office could be in our home, I would be with my wife all day every day, we could raise our children together. However, I was still driven and it resulted in a sexless marriage for many years. So, being around my family didn’t solve all the problems. I still had to be conscience and determined to make our relationship a priority. Fortunately, we are solving the sex in our marriage, and have become much more happy the last few months. Thanks!!.
Your situation is only for a ‘season’. It will pass. If passing is due to the two of working together on solutions or due to a radical, either way, it will pass. Be strong.
Showing this to my wife… We had an argument about this last night.
Also, it’s Canada Geese. This is also a running play fight in our house, ha!
We are struggling with this. We don’t have any time together during the day between work and kids and bedtime chaos, but then he needs to unwind and watches two or more hours of TV. By the time he is done, I have nothing left to give because it is so late, but he feels like he hasn’t de-stressed without that down time. The problem is all that TV isn’t actually refreshing him. He has been complaining lately that he never gets a break but I don’t know how to respond when he is watching 15 hours of TV a week and I feel completely distant because we don’t spend any time together. We have sex pretty frequently, and I don’t want less sex, but it is starting to feel extremely shallow when that basically is the only thing we do together right now. I’ve tried watching tv with him, but I just can’t stomach his shows. I’m not really sure where I am going with this. I’m just lonely. We were doing so great for a while. Not sure what changed. Maybe he just needs some space after we got super close? I know he needs time to unwind, but it is hard when it is such a time waster that doesn’t even refresh him and means we have no time together before I am too exhausted to even think straight. I feel like we are BOTH only getting the leftovers right now and it sucks.
I don’t know if your commute will allow you to do this, but when I was faced with a similar commute I tried to make it relaxing, especially coming home. I have listened to Christian radio for some time. In the Fort Worth/Dallas metroplex I listen to 91.3 on the FM dial. I also listen to Joyce Meyer tapes, Dr. Ed Young, hymns, and sometimes I just need some good old rock and roll. And on many occasions I used this time to talk and sing to God. I am my mother’s caretaker, and back then I needed to be ready to be loving and kind when I entered the house.
If you could use your drive home to begin your decompression from work, then you could give your wife similar time when you get home. Adjustments will likely need to be made in the children’s dinner home. Perhaps the children could eat earlier with your wife, then they could have a small dessert with your dinner. Your wife may eat with you, or continue with her decompression depending upon the needs at the time.
I would strongly discourage you spend your evening commute worrying about the office. Leave it behind, and experiment with what will be calming for you but not put you to sleep. Audiobooks are available in every genre imaginable. Your local library will have those along with music CDs to check out. My library gives one three weeks to enjoy audiobooks and music.
I’m retired now, but I continue this relaxation method even now while running errands. Before I was a single mother, now I am a caregiver, but the need to decompress is still there. Something to hold onto is the fact your children will be growing more mature each day. Before you know it they will be six, then suddenly 12, and then graduating from college! There are individual days for both of you that you think will never end. Then there will be days that fly into months and you wonder where the time went. As a grandmother, I can promise you that this season will evolve and change.
Honestly, most of my commute time is spent on the blog. In the mornings I write, in the evenings I answer emails and comments. Both of which I love to do.
But, I leave really early in the morning and am home by supper time most nights.
And I rarely worry about the office after I leave. Too many other things to worry about, like this ministry 🙂
But yeah, I spent at least 2 hours a day of my commute listening to books. All good suggestions! But I’m already doing many of them.
Hard to answer you. I suppose I would speak to your husband and say that you need him. If I could, I would say to get a less stressful job, or work less hours, or learn to de-stress along with you, or find mutually agreeable programming, or take a weekend away together. I know this world system is hard on families, but don’t let it break you. There is a solution, you just have to seek and find it.
We only have 2 children but when they were babies my husband worked alot. It’s been a year now that it feels like we have a better grip on our everyday lives now. But at the dinner table every evening we go around the table and ask what was the best part of day and what was the worst. It helps, we also plan Friday night or Saturday morning for sex so it’s not so stressful for my husband who is the only one working right now. Hope this helps as a start to get some kind of normal. Thank you for sharing your not the only one going through this.
I prayed for you just now, for wisdom with a problem with no obvious solutions, for peace as you pursue wisdom, for mental creativity as you try to listen to God, your wife and others on possible solutions, and if needed, for a friend, pastor or life-coach who can help you discover and implement the solutions that more quickly.
This inspired me to be more grateful in my situation, increase my efforts to give Ellen my best, and lighten her after work load. Sorry for your challenge, but appreciate your sharing.
Thanks. We’re getting used to it. The commute gives me time to work on my ministry. I’m learning to deal with the tiredness. My wife is getting used to it as well. In every challenge, there is an opportunity.