Our culture is one that is filled with stress. It tells us that we must always strive to succeed, that an upward career trajectory is worth whatever negative impact it might have on a marriage or a family.
That is a lie. Stress carries with it a number of serious problems. Some of them are physical. Many of them are emotional. Depression is an epidemic in America today because we are so emotionally exhausted.
And there can be no doubt that stress leads to marriage problems. A successful marriage takes energy and requires that it be given priority in your life. But when you are constantly focused on other things—when your attention is given to the things that produce stress—then you become too exhausted to do what it takes for a healthy marriage.
There’s an old saying that goes like this: If the devil can’t stop you by getting in front of you, he will get behind you and push you too fast. He will wear you out, constantly bringing things into your lives to keep you from focusing on each other.
Did you know the number-one sexual problem of women is inhibited sexual desire, and the number-one cause of inhibited desire is exhaustion? If the sexual intimacy of your relationship is diminishing, it might be that your inability to rest is to blame.Communication problems, emotional problems, financial problems, problems with children and their behavior—all these things can be tied to stress.
A healthy marriage requires the ability not just to handle stress, but to take steps to get rid of it whenever possible. When my kids were growing up, I pastored a large church and headed up our large ministry at MarriageToday, and slowing down was hard for me.
I was fearful of failing, which meant I was afraid to say no. I said yes to too many things because I was afraid of what would happen if I said no. I took on too much responsibility. It affected our marriage and it affected our kids.
With Karen’s help, I had to learn to slow down. I had to learn to delegate. I had to let go of some things so I could turn my heart back to my wife and my kids. I had to learn to have faith in God, because it takes faith to stop.
Don’t let the devil get behind you and push you too fast. Don’t let him stand in your future and lure you forward with the temptation of money or success. Don’t compromise your family today for the so-called success of the future.
A successful future means learning how to properly use our time today. It comes not from our own work, but from God’s blessing. It’s up to Him—not to us.