Tag: marriage

Insulate Your Marriage from Stress

Insulate Your Marriage from Stress

insulate your marriage from stress

I grew up hearing that fifty percent of marriages end in divorce. I always found this confusing because barely anyone I knew was divorced, nor were their parents. It turns out that the fifty percent number was statistically accurate in 1980 and when you analyze the trends it has dropped since. The current numbers of divorce are dropping specifically with millennials as more couples choose to live together rather than marry. Regardless of whether you choose to marry or cohabitate your coupling in the coaching world will experience significant stress. Today we’re going to talk about ways to insulate your marriage from stress which can lead to divorce.

Paying Attention to the Data

Time Magazine reports: “In 2018, 15% of folks ages 25 to 34 lived with an unmarried partner, up from 12% a decade earlier. More Americans under 25 cohabit with a partner (9%) than are married to one (7%). Two decades ago, those figures weren’t even close: 5% were cohabiting and 14% were married.”

While divorce rates are dropping, experts have further analyzed the data of marriages which have ended and thanks to the U.S. Census we know that employment is a factor in the divorce rate.

We know that high-stress jobs have higher divorce rates. Of course, this is likely not a surprise to you. But I’m going to break down a few details from an analysis Zippia conducted on the U.S. Census.

The Top 21 Jobs at Risk of Divorce Include:

  • The list features military positions in the 1st, 4th, and 7th positions on the list of the top 21 jobs at risk of divorce essentially naming all military positions. The reasons speculated for divorce included the time spent apart, the stress of the job, the job required moving, and the load the spouse carries during deployment.
  • Listed 20th is a Laborer and Freight Handler. The analysis is that these positions work more than eight hours in one shift and even overnight, for low salaries.
  • Number 18 is those who complete computer and other electronic machine repairs. The analysis noted some of these workers put in over 50 hours per week, and field technicians often travel to complete repairs.
  • Probation officers were listed 15th. The observation offered was that since probation officers spend a majority of their time with people who have difficult personalities and are required to work overtime documenting and evaluating their interactions the combination leaves them stressed and exhausted.
  • Number 14 listed Administrative Services Managers noting these workers juggle a lot daily. Administrators are the supervisors required to document everything, deal with budgets, goals, long term plans and they also are expected to handle problems as they arise. Ultimately, they are accountable for everything that happens.
  • Medical Assistants were listed 12th. I’m including this because it was noted the in the medical field medical assistants are low in the medical hierarchy. Their job is very demanding with long hours and low pay.

I’m not sure if you have the same alarms going off in your head that I had in mine as I read this list, but if jobs with long hours and low pay are at high risk of divorce I think we need to be realistic that coaches should be somewhere on this list.

Think about the tension points when it comes to why your husband does what he does. The vast majority of coaches take pay cuts to stay in the profession. What other job do you know of where someone with a masters degree willingly makes $10,000 a year with no benefits and often no contract?

Long hours for little pay often require that additional income streams are left to the spouse to contribute. This makes coaching a family commitment. And that is something that isn’t easily understood by those outside the profession.

To drive home the point, one list of Professionals Prone to Burnout lists Teachers as 4th.

Not All Advice is Helpful

The first thing we need to understand is that we cannot avoid the wounds divorce brings by avoiding marriage. Couples who live together for extended periods of time experience deep hurt if they separate as well.

There are a lot of well-meaning people you will encounter who have little to zero understanding of the pressures your husband faces on a daily basis nor how that impacts your marriage.

Coaches wives seek advice of me often asking how to communicate properly to family that they can’t attend their cousin’s wedding on that Saturday in October because they need to be present at their husband’s football game. They also ask for help in explaining why they can’t ask their husband to quit his job even though it means moving far from family.

I have no doubt that these families believe their advice and requests are reasonable. But we all need to learn to discern helpful and applicable advice from that which is offered without a full understanding of the impact following it would cause.

When Solomon was anointed king he asked for wisdom and God made him the wisest man in the world and with that the ability to discern and judge the truth. (1 Kings 3:11)

Solomon wrote the book of Proverbs for his children and explains where wisdom comes from. Proverbs 2:6-11 says:

“For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.
He holds success in store for the upright he is a shield to those whose walk is blameless, for he guards the course of the just and protects the way of his faithful ones. Then you will understand what is right and just and fair—every good path. For wisdom will enter your heart, and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul. Discretion will protect you, and understanding will guard you.”

Finding Helpful Advice

The coaching life is challenging. There is value in finding a few couples that have been in coaching for several years to resource when situations come up.

Think about it this way, when you get pregnant or have your first child if the only people you glean advice from are single without kids or haven’t raised children in 20-25 years you are likely to miss out on some important perspectives.

This doesn’t mean that you must follow every piece of advice you receive. Pray, ask God for discernment. Talk about it as a couple and decide what works best for you.

If you cannot connect with a coaching couple, consider reaching out to FCA, InterVarsity, or a pastoral couple. One of my most impactful mentors was the wife of a Young Life area director, the other a youth pastor. Ministry lives are not that different than coaching in many ways.

In addition to finding mentor couples, you must continue to invest in your marriage. I’ve gathered resources in a previous post I’ll link here.

Actions to Insulate Your Marriage

  • Stay aware and attentive to the realities of your spouse’s job stress factors.
  • Stay attentive to the stages of burnout.
  • Find wise mentors who have experience in the same or similar life situations.
  • Pray for discernment to filter through advice.
  • Keep the lines of communication open between you and your spouse.
  • Invest in your marriage with resources designed specifically for your career choice.

Insulating your marriage from the stresses that could lead to divorce requires an active participation in your relationship. Thankfully, there are many who have gone before you who are available to cheer you on and encourage you in your journey if you ask for help.

Ways to Invest in Your Marriage

Ways to Invest in Your Marriage

actionable suggestions to invest in your marriage

When a good portion of your life is spent serving other people in the public eye it’s important to take time out to invest your energy in your marriage too. Although coaches, pastors, parachurch ministers, and military members serve their communities in different capacities there are several similarities which makes the list I’m highlighting below relevant for everyone to consider.

While it’s important for everyone to spend time nurturing their marriage relationship, there are additional elements to consider when you spend a considerable amount of time apart due to work travel and when your weekends are shaped by your spouse’s job because when you learn to operate without each other it takes intentional effort to continue to commit to your partnership.

Here are 8 Ways to Invest in Your Marriage

Every Day Investments

Make the effort to really understand yourself. Your likes, dislikes, and the experiences that inform your views. There are hundreds of personality tests available. I have found the most informative test for us is the Enneagram.

Additionally, the Five Love Languages has developed an app to help you remember to love your spouse within the content they prefer. Check out Love Nudge to not only help to remember your spouse’s love languages, but you can add prompts to act. Knowledge is great, but investing in relationships requires active participation.

Overnight Retreats

A Weekend to Remember

Couples attend Weekend to Remember when they’re interested in investing in their marriage and intentionally moving towards oneness. Weekend to Remember states they “help you understand God’s blueprint for marriage so you can create a legacy of greatness.”

They also report “Our attendees say their relationships improved on average from a 4/10 to an 8/10 after one weekend.”

ONE Marriage Conference

This conference is sold out for 2019, but they are selling online passes meaning you can view this conference from the comfort of your home for $25. This year’s speakers are Craig & Amy Groeschel and Jentezen and Charise Franklin is the Senior Pastor of Free Chapel (the conference hosts).

Local Churches

It’s likely that there are churches in your area offering marriage focused events. Whether it’s a day, weekend, or small group it’s worth checking out what is happening locally. Many churches also offer ongoing marriage mentoring.

Coaching Specific Conferences

Coaches Time Out

“CTO exists to serve coaches and spouses through annual weekend conferences in multiple cities across the nation. Our hope is to change the culture of sports by ministering to the hearts of Coaches so that they can minister to the hearts of their athletes.” Check their website for this year’s conferences. You can also follow them on Facebook.

Fellowship of Christian Athletes

I’ve written about our local Marriage Getaway before. If you are looking for support from people who understand the unique challenges of the coaching life you need to look no further than your local FCA Chapter. Their Marriage Getaway events are designed to create opportunities to reconnect after the craziness of the season.

Military Specific Conferences

Operation We Are Here lists several conferences for military families. They also suggest that active-duty members ask their chaplain for upcoming opportunities. This list also includes scholarship information!

Weekend to Remember – Military Focused

A wife watches in anticipation for her uniformed husband to walk from the jet-bridge through the gate. She waits eagerly to be in his arms again. It’s been a long year. She wonders what it will be like to be together again in-person. Will it be like starting over?

Marriage has both ups and downs, joys and struggles. But for military families, we understand that your marriage looks different. Deployment, uncertainty, and constant transition add strain and stress to your relationship.

This is why Cru Military and FamilyLife have teamed up to plan special military-friendly Weekend to Remember getaways. The unique military culture requires a unique ministry.

Ministry Families

Ed Seltzer created an extensive list of spaces for ministry families to rest and retreat to help avoid burnout. You can check it out here.

Pastors Wives Thriving has also created an extensive resource list.

Don’t Forget Date Night!

I’ll be honest, when I’m feeling the crunch in my weekly schedule or our budget (or both!) it’s tempting to cancel date night altogether and plow through the weeks. But we’ve learned the hard way that when we don’t prioritize dates it becomes too easy too quickly to fall into the routine of living life in our own lanes.

Scheduling a block of time on the calendar for each other weekly is important. Whether you head out for a walk or dinner isn’t the point. The best way to invest in your marriage is to take time to intentionally focus on your spouse on a regular basis. Quality over quantity time is key to healthy communication in your marriage.

Looking for more options? Check out this great list from TheologyDegrees.org

Your Best Investment

Your Best Investment

The Best Investment

This weekend I began my yearly post Christmas purge of our home. Having the extra motivation thanks to Marie Kondo on Netflix and an amazing find at our local Dollar Tree I was ready to tackle organizing our closet for the first time in our almost two years of living here.

I’d also spent a good amount of time helping our boys purge their areas due in part to our oldest son getting a new bed and needing to rearrange his room coupled with the fact that our sons are growing at a rapid pace and it’s challenging to keep them in clothes that fit these days.

I moved on to our bathroom and finally suggested to Ordell he take advantage of my motivation and help me get his drawers and shelves organized as well. He agreed, and then paused.

“Are you pregnant? Or are we moving? I’m just trying to make sense of what is happening right now.”

I couldn’t help but chuckle, but the truth is, my motivations were not coming from pregnancy or the anticipation of a move. I was doing what I always do in January and February. But for the first time in our 17 plus years of marriage he was around to observe my routine.

This isn’t the first thing Ordell has learned about me in the past year. He’s learned my routines are different than he assumed and even the TV shows I watch are more varied.

We’ve had to figure out a new normal for our family too. What does it look like to have Dad home by 6 every night? What does it look like to have weekends free from obligations other than those we choose 8 months of the year?

We’ve had to learn to let each other a little further into our spaces. And the willingness to do so has been the best investment for our marriage so far.

One of the things we accepted coaching college football was that we would need to learn to prioritize quality of time over quantity of time. With very few days to sleep in, bum around the house, and have long, spontaneous conversations we found a rhythm that worked but left little space for opportunities to learn about each other’s preferences through observation.

As we embrace our new normal I’m learning that the best investment I can make is to embrace the mundane days.

Here’s How I’m Embracing the Mundane:

  • I’m learning to take opportunities like errands to chat and explore our community.
  • I’m inviting Ordell to join me in my routines such as meal prep, and long summer walks.
  • I’m learning to do what I do today instead of trying to avoid interrupting other’s routines.
  • I’m taking the time to turn the alarm clock off and embrace the empty days on the calendar and enjoy the ability to be spontaneous.

The best investment we can make in our current season of life is to seize the time we have to learn more about each other instead of trying to keep things the way they have always been.

Seventeen years of marriage may seem like a strange time to learn about the mundane parts of each other’s lives, but right now I’m thankful for our new normal. Our foundation is stronger for this investment and in the long run, that’s worth disrupting routines isn’t it?

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