You start to do something and you get a call from that telemarketer you’re so fond of. You sit down at your computer to begin working and your email begins to ding as if you’ve just hit the jackpot on a slot machine in Vegas. You’re getting one child ready for school when the other decides that the syrup on their pancakes would be a good medium for finger painting.
Interruptions are also a part of marriage.
You’re finally getting to the place where you can pay your bills without scrounging for change in the sofa and then the transmission goes out in your car. You’re getting ready for that long awaited date with your spouse when one of your kids says, “I don’t feel good,” and proceeds to barf all over you. After all the fights and frustration, the two of you have finally settled into a good sexual frequency and then your spouse hurts their back and that rhythm is interrupted. (Yes..pun intended.)
Interruptions are usually unwanted and unwelcome, so we view them as enemies to our way of life. But more problematic than the interruptions are our reactions to the interruptions. When interrupted, we tend to have one of two reactions:
- Discouragement – “I’m never going to get this done.” “I don’t know why I even try.” “I should just give up.” “Why is this happening to me?!”
- Aggravation – “Someone up there doesn’t like me!” “Someone down here doesn’t like!” “They’re doing this on purpose!”
In marriage, these reactions to interruptions will either escalate into a selfish battle of tug-of-war, or decline into a valley of pouting and withdrawal.
How should we respond to unwelcome and unwanted interruptions in our marriage?
- Don’t take it personally. The world is not out to get you. Your spouse is not out to get you. There is no sinister plan to disrupt your life. This is just the way life is.
- Cut yourself some slack. Things don’t have to be flawless and things don’t always have to go as you want them to go. Don’t waste your energy trying to ignore the interruption, or override the interruption, or make the interruption go away. Accept the fact that sometimes the interruption wins and it’s not a reflection on you.
- Roll with the change. When an unavoidable interruption comes, relax and go with the flow. The interruption is probably just temporary and it could turn into something positive in the end, so make the best of it.
- Get back on track when possible. Don’t completely give up. An interruption can put things on pause, but it doesn’t have to derail your plans forever. As soon as the interruption has passed, pick up where you left off and keep going. And when you’re back on track, just know that there will be another interruption coming your way soon. They are like ocean waves. They come and they go.
I know there are all kinds of techniques and strategies for minimizing interruptions and improving your efficiency. They range from turning off the notifications on your devices to locking yourself in the bathroom. But sometimes, interruptions are an unavoidable part of life. When that happens, relax, take a deep breath, and see where the interruption takes you.
One final note…
For those of you who have been wondering why I haven’t posted in almost four weeks…there were the holidays, there was vacation, there was illness, there were deadlines at work. Lets just say I got interrupted.
We’re all in this together,
If possible, share a story about an interruption that turned out better than you anticipated. We could all use the encouragement.
Copyright © 2016 Bret Legg