An Introvert’s Guide to Survival in Marriage
Marriage is often associated with (and rightly so) with togetherness. Husband and Wife. Salt and Pepper. Peanut Butter & Jelly. You cannot have one without the other. But what do you do when life starts to get overwhelming?
Through counseling, marriage conferences, sermons, and even friendly advice, you will often hear about the importance of a husband and wife to be together. Date nights. Movie nights. Playing board games together. Duo Hikes through the woods. Picnics by the lake. Attending marriage conferences. It’s always together.
“Find yourself a babysitter, and go have a date!” Is the advice that I too give to others when I coach them on married life.
What happens, though, when life starts to feel like it’s closing in on you? When the walls start getting closer and you start to feel suffocated, it is time to get a recharge.
Several years ago, Energizer Battery, had some of the most iconic commercials. The batteries just kept going and going. The flashlight would always give power. The music never stopped playing. And, the pink bunny never stopped beating its rhythmic drums.
Married life is not like that Energizer Bunny. There has to be time to recharge those batteries. We just can’t throw our life away and get a new one and say, “Hey, I need 3 triple-A’s for my Right Hand!” That’s not exactly how it works!
In a marriage, how can a wife or husband recharge? As a dedicated introvert myself, I have finally come to realize that all interactions including husband and wife roles require energy.
- Energy is needed every day, and can be found together or while alone.
- Energy is expended regardless of the difficulty of the conversations.
- Easy or hard days, it doesn’t matter, some energy is used.
- Date night and movie nights will burn my energy too.
Just as batteries are taken out the electronic device and placed into the charger and left alone, so do humans need the same ability. For a little while, everyone needs to be taken out of the hustle and grind of daily and allowed some time to just be still and appreciate the quietness.
- Alone time: Quiet activities that can be done at home, such as reading a book, knitting, or peaceful meditation are very regenerating. Whether you are a faithful library patron or a kindle lover, finding the perfect book is a great way to be alone. Of course, you may have some amazing talents like my sister-in-law. She reads AND knits at the same time! (I do not have that talent!)
- Retail therapy: Shopping!!! Finding that perfect outfit on sale, rummaging through the clearance racks, or simply shopping online. The new shirt or the perfect pair of shoes can often give our step a new spark in life.
- Burning calories: Taking a long walk, a jog through the country, doing the stair-step machine, yoga, or pilates. All of these are great ways of recharging your batteries because, even though energy is being expended, it allows the mind to clear itself as well.
- Self Care & Pampering: Pedicures and manicures, facials and laser therapy, or (my favorite) a whole body massage. To me, there is no better self-care than a 90-minute massage. Heated table, soft blankets, smooth oils, soft hands…I’m simply in heaven. Blissful peaceful heaven.
- Loving and Letting Yourself Heal: When life gets to be too much, it is time to step back and heal. Learning to say no to more activities and yes to quiet and alone time will give you the ability to take care of your body. If 8 hours of sleep are not enough, then take 10. Schedule a nap. Find that quiet nook in Starbucks and breathe in the aromas of the coffee and just relax.
By doing the things consistently, you will find that the suffocating feelings of life are not there as much. You will be ‘recharged’ and ready to spend more time with your spouse.
Remember, the best marriage requires togetherness in life. But to enjoy that ability to be together, you need to charge your battery while you’re alone.