One thing I’ve learned in my one or so years of marriage is that different periods in our married life will bring different challenges. Wow, that really vague sentence would have earned me bad marks in law school. Let me insert facts into my conclusion and rephrase. During this phase in our marriage, Mr. H. works two jobs and he is exhausted. He works his Navy job and he works a second maintenance job for three to four hours a night on the weekdays. He started the second job while I was in my third year of law school to help make ends meet. After I finished school, he decided to keep the second job because having the extra money each month is really helpful.
All that to say, he is often very tired. Now, I have gone to school (including law school) and worked almost continuously since I was 15, so I understand what it means to be exhausted. Mr. H. really stepped it up to help me around the house when I was going to law school full-time plus working and when I was a total basket case, studying 12 plus hours a day for the bar exam. While I don’t pity him or feel sorry for him having to work all of the time (after all, I was raised to know and appreciate a man who isn’t afraid of hard work), I do try and make this phase in his life as enjoyable and manageable as I can.
Here are five ways I’ve learned to help an exhausted spouse:
1. Keep the house picked up. Since I work from home and am not commuting, I take it upon myself to keep the floors picked up, make the bed everyday, and keep the laundry and dishwasher flowing. Mr. H. often says “thanks for keeping the house nice” and that makes me smile.
2. Be flexible and take a lazy day once and a while. Again, since I work from home, sometimes all I want to do is go out on Saturday nights and Sundays, but when I can see that Mr. H is really, really tired (see picture above), I declare a lazy day or night and we stay home and relax. You might have to decline an invitation from friends, leave early, or cut down some commitments in order to have a true “day off,” or arrange some quality time together, but in my opinion, it’s worth it.
3. Take your spouse to the bedroom for a good time! Enough said, my Grandma reads all of my blog posts, after all!
4. Take it upon yourself to plan a fun event that just your spouse would like. We rarely go to the movies, but the other day I said, why don’t you pick out a movie you want to see and we’ll go see that. If you knew Mr. H.’s taste in movies, you would understand. Of course, he’d probably say the same thing about mine.
5. Don’t unload all of your troubles on your spouse when they come home. This is an oldie but a goodie trinket of wisdom. I almost have the opposite problem, however, where I don’t talk about what’s going on with my business and work because it takes too long to explain. Recently, I’ve tried to ask for my husband’s opinion about things related to my business to keep him in the loop. I probably could have avoided many issues in our marriage had I started doing this earlier.
Okay, I can’t wait to hear from you all, what are some ways you step it up to help your spouses/significant others while they are going through an exhausting phase in life?
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