To the Spouse Who’s BURNED OUT

To the Spouse Who’s BURNED OUT March 28, 2016

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Have you ever grabbed a pillow and screamed into it because you are so frustrated and tired of your life…your schedule, your obligations, your work…and even your family?  If so, you are not alone.  In fact, many of us have find ourselves in this predicament from time to time.  But, we can’t stay here.

So, what are we supposed to do?  What if we’ve lived this way so long that we can’t even remember a time that we didn’t feel burned out?

There’s still hope.

But, we can’t turn things around until we recognize that we’re burned out in the first place.  Here are some common symptoms:

  1. You often go through the motions of your day without much feeling or expression…even with your family.
  2. You have resentful or even jealous thoughts.  Thoughts like, “I do everything around here!” and “Nobody appreciates me.” and “If only I had ____’s life, then…”.  
  3. You have never taken the time to express your true feelings to your spouse because you are too busy going through the motions.
  4. You are frustrated with where your life is right now.
  5. You never feel rested.
  6. You have a very short temper and often lose it on your loved ones.

If you have any or all of these symptoms, then you are either burned out or on the way there.

The expression “burned out” refers to a candle losing it’s flame, or burning out.  In order for a flame to remain burning, it’s environment must have certain conditions in place: a good-sized wick, proper wax, calm wind, and adequate oxygen.  As people, we require certain conditions in order to thrive–or keep burning–too.  We need proper rest, time to connect with our spouse and kids, rewarding work, time with friends, exercise, laughter, healthy food, water, and most importantly, faith, in order to be at our best.

Unfortunately, we live in a society that is all about the bottom line…money, success, fame, etc…..and before we know it, life thins us out, cuts us off, and runs us ragged.  Unfortunately, we end up taking it out of those we love the most.  And, sometimes we start to blame our spouse for our frustration, and we build up resentment towards him/her in our hearts.  So, we just go through the motions– do just enough to get by.  But, in our hearts, we feel our flame dying…until it completely burns out.

Read, “3 Signs that You are Caught in the Zombie Marriage Trap,” for more on this.

It’s a hard place to be, and it can become our new normal if we don’t address it quickly and actively.  Here’s some steps we can take the turn things around:

  1.  Admit that you are burned out to your spouse.  We need to get things out in the open so that our spouse can come alongside us and help us to revive our spark.  Talk about your frustrations, feelings, and setbacks.  Get it all out on the table.
  2. Decide what has to change in your life.  After we address our predicament, we need to recognize where things might have gone wrong.  Is there too much on our schedule?  Are our priorities out of order?  Are we depressed?  Think about what might be wearing you down, and then decide what you can change and what has to stay the same.  Write it down and go through this with your spouse.
  3. Live out the changes.  We can utilize our spouse as an accountability partner to help us follow through with our proposed changes.  Sometimes, we might need to tweak things, but we’ll be more likely to stick to the changes with our partner helping us.
  4. Pray and memorize scripture.  As a Christian, I believe in the power of prayer and know that God makes me stronger.  In the Bible, Jesus tells us that  He came so that we can live FULL lives–lives of love, surrender, and joy.  We can’t do this when we go through the motions and settle for a burned out existence.  Pray that God will help you have peace and joy in your life and family once again.  Pray alone and with your spouse.  Read God’s Word and memorize scriptures that help you face the day.
  5. Do something you love to do every day.  We don’t burn out all of a sudden, so we aren’t going to “revive our flame” overnight.  It takes time.  One small way we can improve our daily outlook is to do something we love to do every day.  Do something that calms you, makes you laugh, brings a smile to your face, and puts joy in your heart.  Go on a date with your spouse.  Read.  Go for a run at you favorite spot in town.  Play outside with your kids.  Go have a latte with a friend.  It doesn’t have to cost anything or take much time.  It just needs to be something that makes you feel alive and helps you see the blessings–big and small–in your life.

Don’t settle for a burned out existence.  Take these simple steps and start embracing your beautiful life once again.

For more on living a life you love, check out my husband’s NEW, best-selling book, “The Seven Laws of Love,” by clicking here.

seven laws book

Be blessed!

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