I’m writing this post as I sit in the airport. I’m not in a very happy mood because I’m leaving my wife today.
It’s her fault really. In the back of my mind, I suppose I wanted to do it. But she’s the one that encouraged it. She’s the one that told me I should leave.
You’re smart enough to know that I’m not talking about leaving our marriage. If you followed my experience with The Slow Down Challenge, you’ll remember that I have been stressed lately. I’m just taking a short weekend trip to get away.
Taryn knows that sometimes I just need to get away. She can sense when I’m starting to get overwhelmed, when I’m losing my sense of what’s important. And she’s strong enough to tell me to go even though she really doesn’t want me to.
Being stressed and overwhelmed is not a unique experience for anyone. I’m sure you’ve been at your wit’s end before. Maybe you’re there now. I don’t know about you, but when I’m stressed, my focus on Taryn and her needs isn’t always where it’s supposed to be.
If my focus on Taryn isn’t where it’s supposed to be, why in the world would I be spending time away from her? It’s a cliche answer, but absence really does make the heart grow fonder.
As we move through life, we have a tendency to start taking each other for granted. And as the stress level increases and our attention is drawn elsewhere, we take each other for granted even more. We focus on our spouses even less.
Obviously, this isn’t the way we want to be. If we love our spouse, we should want to take care of her needs every moment of every day. But we are human. We don’t always get the job done.
If that’s not the way we want to be, we need to recognize when we’re not living up to our standards and make a change. We need to do what we need to do to get our priorities reset.
You may be surprised, but the thing that works best for me is to focus on myself. I know that sounds selfish, but it really isn’t. It’s intentional. I know that I can’t be the husband I need to be until I’m personally the best I can be.
That’s the reason our goal here at Intentionally Refined is to encourage you to be a better you before we encourage you to be a better spouse. A better you automatically means a better spouse.
Here are three of many ways you will benefit from spending time alone:
1. It will make you miss your spouse. I haven’t even left the airport and I miss Taryn. Knowing that I will be gone for days has a much different psychological impact than leaving for the day for work. I know from experience that my “missing her” will only increase as the weekend goes on. And when I miss her, I think about her. As I think about her I start to note the things I miss. All of the things I love about Taryn are reinforced in my mind.
2. It will open up space in your mind. Getting away should be done intentionally. You should get away from everything, including work. If I took work with me, it would just be me going on a trip. Leaving work behind opens up space in my mind. Opening up space in your mind is a liberating experience. You start to notice the world around you. You start to notice the things that are really important to you.
3. It will recharge your batteries. I don’t need to tell you that spending a few days outside of your stressful routine helps you recharge your batteries. If I take a short trip when I start to lose some of my drive and become overwhelmed, it doesn’t take me long to recharge. Sometimes just a day works. Sometimes a weekend. Sometimes it takes a week. Regardless of how long you take, removing yourself from your typical, stressful routine helps. You need a break once in a while.
I encourage you to take a break. It doesn’t have to be a week. It can be just a day. Or a few days. The point is, take some time for yourself.
Instead of making everything else a priority, sometimes you need to make yourself a priority. When you make yourself a priority, you address certain critical needs that you have. By taking care of those needs, you take care of yourself, and it’s easier to give of yourself to others.
I’m not encouraging you to take time for yourself from a selfish point of view. We can see people doing that all the time in a manner that is not beneficial to all parties involved. Take some time for yourself with the intention of freeing up some space in your mind, with the intention of thinking about the qualities you love about your spouse, with the intention of recharging, and with the intention of being better today than yesterday.
Question: What’s keeping you from taking a few days away just for yourself? Please leave a comment below.