Years ago, when we were struggling a great, I was looking over my journal and as I read the entries for almost a year, I saw a clear pattern. Lori would “start to fail” doing what I wanted in some area, I would make noise about it, she would focus on it, and it would get better. However, about the same time, she would start to fail in another area. There were half a dozen or so things I wanted her to do, and she managed to do those I was making noise about, but once I stopped pushing in an area, it would slip. When I saw the pattern I realised I was asking too much of her – she had the emotional energy to do four or five of the things I wanted, but not all of them. When one slipped to a certain point, I made noise about it, which meant it got done, but something else had to go for her to be able to do that. It was tempting think she needed to find a way to do all of them, but I realised she could not, at that point, do that. The only sane choice for me was to pick the things that were most important to me, and let a couple less important ones go.
We all have limits, be it time, physical energy, mental energy, emotional energy, or whatever. We can and should work towards expanding our limits, but there will always be limits. Everything we do costs us, even things we enjoy. The more difficult something is for us, the more it cost us.
Imagine the following example, where the energy cost for certain activities is as shown. These activities could be anything – have dinner by 5:30, be ready for bed by 9 pm, have sex three times a week, spend Saturday with my folks, go to a Sci-Fi movie …
A = 1
B = 1
C = 1
D = 1
Q = 2
X = 3
Y = 3
So if your spouse has 4 points of energy, she can do A, B, C and D, OR any one of those plus X or Y, or Q plus two of A-D. She cannot do X and Y, or Q with X or Y. You should decide what you really want, let her know, and figure out how to live without the rest.
Image Credit: © cjansuebsri | freedigitalphotos.net
© cjansuebsri | freedigitalphotos.net