Plato may have said “Nothing . . . is worthy of great anxiety” but he didn’t have to deal with the Washington, DC traffic. Driving in traffic here drives us crazy—but sometimes it’s our marriage that is stuck in the fast lane. When we have too much to do and too little time often it’s our marriage that suffers. We want to slow down and make our marriage a priority, but it’s difficult to cross all the other fast lanes in our lives—our family, our church and community activities and even our work in marriage education. We know there’s a rest stop somewhere, but we’re unable to navigate getting to it!
Have we described your life too? Unfortunately fast-lane marriages are a modern trend and can be hazardous to your relationship. If you want to slow down and make some changes begin by checking for symptoms of fast-lane trauma:
- You have a list of topics you need to talk about, but no time to talk.
- You’re going to bed later and getting up earlier.
- In the middle of the night you wake up. Your mind keeps racing–you need to answer emails, finish that urgent project, pick up the clothes that have been at the cleaners for a month, and schedule overdue physical and dental appointments.
- You’ve more irritable and grouchy. Today you lost your cool while trying to help your four-year-old memorize, “Love is patient and kind!”
- You make excuses about why you’re too busy: “It’s getting into my fall routine. It’s because of the kids’ soccer, music lessons (fill in the blank). It will get better after things settle down.”
If you have noticed two or more of these symptoms, it may be time to apply the brakes, slow down, and calm your anxious heart. One caution: watch out for other crazy drivers–the ones who sideswipe you by pressing you into commitments you can’t keep. This may not be the best time to take on another volunteer job at church or at your child’s school.
You don’t have to race at breakneck speeds just because it’s in style. Take a coffee break and evaluate your “to-do” list. Ask yourself, “In light of eternity, how important is this activity?” Then take a red pen to your schedule and be merciless!
For a quick stress reliever, find thirty-minutes together with no other agenda and answer the following questions:
- What are the major stresses at the present time?
- How much stress can you reasonably manage?
- How can you slow down and find places to rest–without getting broad-sided by everything else?
We hope our questions will help you slow down and overcome fast-lane stress. We’re taking our own advice, putting our computers to sleep and heading out for a hike.
This is what the Lord says: “Stand at the crossroads and look;
ask for the ancient paths,
ask where the good way is, and walk in it,
and you will find rest for your souls.”
By David & Claudia Arp
Parents of 3
Grandparents of 10
1 Corinthians 13 Parenting Team Members
Founders of Marriage Alive and 10 Great Dates
It’s NOT too late!
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