MARGIN IN YOUR RELATIONSHIP
Do you feel you are often “at the limit” of energy, patience, time, money, etc., in your relationship? What you may be lacking is what is referred to as “margin.” Without it, you will often feel depleted with no control in many areas of your life. Honestly, things never go as planned, do they? The only predictable thing about life is that it is unpredictable. You may instinctively know this and unconsciously build in a margin for error. “We need to leave an hour early because the weekend traffic is always bad” would be an example of allowing for the unpredictable and thereby creating margin.
What is Margin?
Webster defines margin as the part of a page or sheet outside the main body of printed or written matter. It can also be things like:
- Allowing extra time for traffic so that you are not late for an appointment.
- Keeping a safe space between you and the car in front of you.
- Having a savings account equal to three to six months of income for unforeseen events and expenses.
I’m sure you get the concept. Margin is necessary because of the unpredictability of life. No matter how hard we try, we can’t control everything! What we can do, however, is consciously build margin for our own good and especially for our marriage.
Types of Margin You Need in Your Relationship
Creating margin in your relationship doesn’t come automatically most of the time. However, as life partners, we must leave room for our humanity and fallibility. We can be unpredictable, and we need a healthy way to be patient and loving. Below are three main areas where we need margin and some ideas for creating that extra room.
- Money Margin. Financial stressors can create intense conflict and issues for couples. Feeling maxed out is a sign that you need more margin. The answer is not to fill out the application for the credit card you received today in the mail! Be wise and seek the help you need to get relief in this area. A well-thought-out plan and an agreed-upon budget are two good tools to help you begin. Do everything that you can to get out of unhealthy debt. Creating financial margin will help you to focus more on your priorities and enjoy life and each other as a couple.
- Energy Margin. Whether a Type A or Type Z personality, you only have a certain amount of energy to expend daily. Does your spouse get the best of you or the worst of you? Yes, work and careers are important and naturally take up a significant part of our time and energy, but it’s essential to strive always to give your family your best. Do you walk into the house, still in a work-related conversation on the phone, or do you come through the door eager to greet your spouse and children (if you have them)? What adds energy to your life and relationship? Get out of the house and do fun things. Get up early and enjoy the sunrise. Go fishing or ride your bikes. You may be tired at the end of the day, but you won’t feel heavy and weary. Make the time to laugh and play together.
- Time Margin. Everyone is “busy.” We often act as if busyness is the supreme virtue or believe that the busier we are, the more productive we are. Yet, we are all given the same amount of time in a day. The difference is how those fleeting moments are spent. Are you getting home too late to enjoy your spouse in the evening? How much time are you spending away from them compared to how much time you spend with them? The best and easiest way to build in more margin for time is to learn to say “no” to things that aren’t that important so that you can say “yes” to things are: your spouse and family.
Harmony and Balance
The truth is that we all struggle to create margin in these areas of life. Hopefully, these thoughts will help you get started in creating more margin and more satisfaction and joy in your relationship. What we want to strive for is not perfection but harmony and balance. So, where will you invest your energy, time, and money? Indeed, your relationship is an excellent place to begin. Recon Coaching can help. It’s what we do!