Last year I came across a blog post that encouraged me to ask a question, just one question, of my spouse.
The couple who wrote the article said it did wonders in their marriage, so I tried it.
I asked Kyle, “What do you need from me?”
I fully expected him to answer something related to him, to his love languages, something like, “I need more encouragement and support from you regarding my job” or “I need more quality time with you.”
His answer broke my heart.
“I need you to be less stressed.”
Remember the post I wrote last April? There are no April goals this month? I wrote that post in the midst of a really stressful, icky season of life. I was nearly killing myself trying to do everything and be everything, and it was taking a major toll on my health.
To start with, I had horrible insomnia. I would wake up most nights at 2 or 3 a.m., my mind racing and heart beating fast, and never fall back sleep. I was also having mild anxiety attacks at work. I actually sought out counseling, because the girl with the “I can fix anything” mentality was at a loss for how to make the anxiety go away.
Normally, I was pretty good at juggling an overloaded schedule and the stress that went with it. This was pretty out of control.
In the midst of all the madness, I was so focused on myself and the craziness I’d allowed into my life. I didn’t realize the toll my stress was taking on Kyle.
Kyle was literally experiencing trouble breathing when he was around me. My stress and anxiety was partly to blame for the weird, deep breaths I noticed he had been taking. It was a strange new habit that he couldn’t control.
Kyle’s answer to my question, “What do you need from me?” shouldn’t have surprised me, but it totally did.
His answer changed so much.
It turned my problem from one in which I felt like a victim to stress into a problem in which I realized that, through my stress and busyness, I was actually victimizing and hurting the man I love most.
Kyle and I decided to take a week off of work and head on a road trip to our favorite part of the country, the South. I shut off the rest of the world for a week.
I’m getting emotional typing this as I think about what a difference that trip made.
That trip was a game changer. I became myself again. I was the fun, happy, goofy Diana that Kyle loved and missed so much. I missed her, too.
On the way home, we resolved to not let that Diana go away again. Life was not magically transformed when we got home, but that change in mindset has been absolutely huge in dealing with my stress and busyness since then. I’m not perfect, and I definitely still freak out sometimes, but the improvement is very noticeable. (I’m also happy to say Kyle is back to breathing normally.)
What do you think your man would say if you asked him this question? Maybe he would say something similar.
Even if he didn’t answer the way Kyle did, I bet most men would agree that they’d love for their girlfriends/fiancées/ wives to be less stressed out.
I think that’s a powerful motivation for us as women, to not only guard ourselves from unhealthy amounts of stress, but to guard our marriages and relationships from that as well.
Wanna know my main goal related to stress and my marriage? My goal is not to never ever have stress or ever feel overwhelmed again. That’s not realistic. Plus, stress is actually not always as bad for us as we think.
My goal with my stress is to keep it at a level that I can be authentic with Kyle about my feelings without overwhelming him.
If I am way too stressed out to be able to accomplish that goal, it means I have to either 1) hide how I’m truly feeling from Kyle in order to protect him or 2) let it out and be okay with causing him anxiety. I’m not okay with either of those options, so I’m working to avoid them.
Girl, I believe God wants to use your life in a meaningful way. I believe he has plans for you, and specifically plans for how your marriage or relationship will produce fruit by serving others and pointing others to him.
Don’t allow stress and busyness to hurt that plan. Get intentional about how you spend your days. Most of all, pray for God’s strength and peace and that it would permeate you and your marriage.
I’ve got your back, and God does, too!
P.S. We all have sisters, friends, and coworkers we know who could use this encouragement. Show them some love and pass on this important message! And please leave a comment below. If you have a prayer request, I would love to pray for you!