3 Ways To Fight for Your Marriage When You’re Busy and Exhausted

Love these tips! My husband and I are always exhausted, but our marriage is definitely worth fighting for!

Guest Post by Gina of GinaMPoirier.com

It was 11 p.m. on a weeknight during the holidays and I was wiped out.

My husband and I had just finished up watching one of our favorite shows on Netflix. I was ready to sleep, but he wasn’t feeling connected with me and wanted to spend more time together.

We got into the same argument we’ve had probably hundreds of times. The night owl versus the queen of routine. Whose needs would take priority? Or to look at it another way, who was being more selfish?

It’s a common problem in marriage: We get busy, and by the time we reconnect at the end of the day, we’re just done.

It’s so tempting to follow our individual desires, rather than work on strengthening the relationship.

But that’s a surefire way to let your marriage drift apart, especially during the busy years of raising kids.

I can’t tell you how many couples I know of who are hardly more than roommates by the time their kids move out. Physical and emotional intimacy are distant memories.

That’s why it’s so important to fight for your marriage during the exhausting years.

With three kids and the demands of work, community and running a home, we’re in the thick of “busyness.” We’ve argued many times about how we spend our time together. And while I can’t say we’ve found the magic answer to this issue, we’ve landed on a few really helpful strategies.

But first –

Is Your Busy Schedule Making it Difficult to Get “In the Mood?”

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I’ve been following Sheila’s blog for some time now and I can tell you – she gives really fantastic advice in a way that’s down-to-earth, relatable and really funny. If your marriage isn’t as close as you’d like it to be — this course will absolutely help!

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3 Ways To Fight for Your Marriage When You’re Busy and Exhausted

1. Protect Alone Time in Your Schedule

This one seems obvious but I know too many couples who don’t do it. I have to give my husband credit for making this a big priority in our relationship.

If possible, we try to have weekly date nights. While that doesn’t usually mean a big fancy dinner date, it does mean we get time together away from the kids. (A few weeks ago we ran into another couple we know on a “date” at Target and we all had to laugh at ourselves.) While there are some weeks when it doesn’t work, those are the exception and not the norm.

I know the excuses: it’s hard to find/afford a babysitter and schedules can be crazy. But here’s the thing: if it’s important to you, you can get creative about how to make it work. In fact, I’d love to hear some creative ideas in the comments.

In addition to a weekly date, we usually try to spend alone time together every night for at least half an hour after the kids go to bed. While on some days I might want to use that time to read or catch up on work, we’ve agreed that for the most part, this time is non-negotiable. Skipping it is the exception, not the norm.

2. Communicate Expectations about Your Alone Time—Before It Happens

This is basically the crux of many of our arguments: what are we going to do with those precious few minutes we get together?

For us, the problem hasn’t been about us having different opinions about what we like to do. We usually can negotiate through those. The problem has been not communicating in advance what we want.

So we end up doing something mindless that doesn’t really bring us together, like in the example I mentioned when we zoned out on Netflix for an hour. That night, if I had communicated that I was exhausted and wanted to go to bed early, and if he had communicated that he wanted to connect and be more intimate, then we wouldn’t have watched the show and then gotten into an argument at 11 p.m. Instead, we would have spent quality time together at what I deemed a more reasonable hour, and then I would have gone to bed.

It only took us 11 years of marriage to figure out this little trick: After the kids go to bed, we communicate about what we want the rest of the evening to look like, rather than just drifting through it. I think this logic can apply to just about any situation: dates, vacations, holidays, you name it.

We haven’t repeated our tired old argument since we started doing this!

Related: Four Marriage Communication Skills That Prevent Fights

3. Get Creative Connecting in the Margins

Some days my husband is out late, which starts to creep into our set time together in the evenings. So lately he has been calling me on his drive home, just to get in a few minutes of conversation when we’re not together. It’s a little gesture, but it means so much!

Every couple’s dynamic is a bit different, but there are tons of little ways to connect:

  • Kiss each other goodbye.
  • Say “I love you” at least once a day.
  • Pray together before bedtime.
  • Send each other texts throughout the day.
  • Write love notes or cards.
  • Pick up a thoughtful gift or make his favorite meal or treat.
  • Make “grown up” time a priority 😉

I’m sure you can think of more, but the point is that when you’re short on time, think outside the box about ways you can connect in the margins of your hectic schedule.

I’m proud to say that we’ve fought for our marriage in the hectic years, and I believe it has paid off.

What about you: What could you do to strengthen your marriage when you’re busy and exhausted? What other suggestions do you have for staying close when you’re both busy and exhausted?

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Gina is a happily married mom of three, stress management coach and writer who helps overwhelmed, exhausted moms find peace and purpose in the everyday. Check out free resources for Christian moms at ginampoirier.com.

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I love this post! This is something my husband and I have been working on too. A while ago, we didn’t have much extra for expensive date nights – even movie was expensive when you buy snacks and drinks or dinner and pay a sitter for 4 hours because that’s how long it takes at least! We started going on cheap dates to a coffee shop and reading a book together. We started with His Needs, Her Needs and it was the best thing. It sparked a ton of conversation and we learned things we never knew about each other. In fact, we probably need to read it again for a refresher! You also could do this after the kids are in bed for an at home date night, even though we chose to go out. 😊 I also did a wonderful study on intimacy called Passion Pursuit this last fall and it really renewed my mind in this area. 👏 Thanks Gina! I love these tips.