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Borrow Bob Goff's Thursday Practice that Can Improve Your Marriage and Ultimately Your Life

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I recently finished the book Dream Big by Bob Goff, and he has a unique Thursday practice. One that many of us could benefit from in our own unique ways.

He quits something. That's it.

When asked why he quit being a lawyer… his response: "Because it was Thursday."

How Does Quitting Something Improve Our Marriages?

Marriage is a relationship of two people who have relationships with themselves.

While the marriage is its own unique relationship, the emotional health of the individuals has an impact on the marriage. Over-commitment is not as simple as calling yourself "busy". It can have a profound impact on your mental health.

Over-commitment can be a source of:

  • Stress

  • Anxiety

  • Worry

  • Anger

  • Depression

Then generally speaking, these emotions tend to find their way into marriages and homes.

Have you ever:

  • Said something cruel that you didn't mean because you were stressed?

  • Shut down in depression, forgetting about the needs of others? (All grace here, because I have).

  • Let anxiety have larger and larger pieces of your life, to the point you have lost a lot of your excitement?

At this point, we know mental health can be a mix of medical, spiritual, emotional, and physical health, so here is my suggestion if you are struggling with mental health: take a holistic approach and invite your doctor and counselor in.

But for the purpose of this blog, we are talking about a controllable and knowable source of anxiety and depression called over-commitment, and it can be pulled up from its roots and create more peace in your life.

Adding this practice to your life can improve your marriage because it increases your own personal well-being, which has a direct impact on your marriage.

When you are less stressed, there is less lashing out. When there is less lashing out, there is less fighting. When there is less fighting, there is less hurt. When there is less hurt, there is more closeness. You get the picture.

Why Quitting Is Hard Even When You Are Overcommitted

Logic is one way we all make decisions, but it is absolutely not the only way. Usually, when you are stuck under the weight of over-commitment, it was your emotions that got you there.

Some of the reasons you don't quit things when you probably should are:

  • Fear of disappointing someone who has a strong stake in your decision

  • Fear of what change might hold for you, unsure if it will ultimately be good or bad

  • The desire to be polite and accommodating

  • Lack of time for reflection

  • You forget life is seasonal

Your emotions are frequently the culprit for why you juggle too much. It is for all of us. Here is where we are going to reframe this dilemma in a logical way:

When you say yes when you would rather say no, you may avoid an uncomfortable situation or disappointment temporarily , BUT you only avoid what would've been temporary and exchange it for the long-term discomfort of anxiety, stress, worry, anger, and depression.

It is uncomfortable to disappoint someone. Yes, that is real. But the greater discomfort is living beyond your bounds and boundaries all. the. time.

Exchanging what is temporary for what is long-term is a bad exchange.

How to Get Better At Quitting

If you're like, "Yes! I don't want to exchange long-term discomfort for short-term discomfort anymore!" Then let's take a look into some ways you can improve at “quitting.”

Take a Seasonal Approach to Life

Ecclesiastes 3:1 "For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven."

Sometimes when you commit to something, it actually was a good choice at the time. It was your next right step. It was purposeful, but the purpose of one season probably is not the purpose of the next. Just like the purpose of spring is growth and winter is a time things die, your life is seasonal.

The purpose of your singleness is not the purpose of your engagement. The purpose of your engagement is not the same as your marriage. What is good at a time does not mean it is good at all times.

Action: Ask yourself, "Do my commitments still fit in my season?"

Choose Short-Term Discomfort Over Long-Term Discomfort

Disappointing people is uncomfortable, and that is why many schedules are filled to the brim. You want to avoid feeling someone is disappointed in you. However, as we touched on before, a lifetime of negative emotion (anxiety and the like) is not worth exchanging for avoiding what would've only been a temporary moment.

Action: Acknowledge saying "no" is uncomfortable, but also acknowledge it is uncomfortable to live in constant busyness. Being aware that you are only trading one discomfort for another helps you make the decision from a wiser and more peaceful place.

Make Reflection Part of Your Life

When you do not have time to reflect, you sometimes miss the cues that it is time to move on. You keep doing something or keep a commitment because you can't hear your inner-voice or God's promptings.

You need time of inactivity. You need stillness. You need to slow down enough to ask yourself questions.

When you are living at rapid speed, this is something which may be hard to find initially. However, most of us have some built in quiet places, like a car ride. Maybe the next one, you turn off the radio or podcast and ask yourself a question.

Action: Use a car ride or another quiet time to ask yourself, "How does my life feel? What could I take out? What commitments are supposed to be in?" Or you could use other reflection questions.

How to Prevent Over-Committing

Underestimate Your Time and Energy

I would rather feel underwhelmed than feel overwhelmed. It is easier to add to your schedule than it is to subtract from it.

Before taking on a commitment, assume you have less time and energy than you are naturally inclined to think.

If you find that you truly do have lots of time and energy, then you are able to over-deliver.

I once heard a principle that I attempt to live by:

Under-Promise, Over-Deliver

This is better than over-promising and under-delivering.

Action: When you are requested to take on a commitment, assume it will take more time and energy than you are naturally inclined to think so that you can ensure that your schedule really has a place for it.

Practice Feeling Your Emotions

We touched on this before: fear, discomfort, and maybe a little bit of guilt from turning something down are common reasons schedules fill up with someone else's agenda for us. Purpose and your current season are the filters that would better honor you and your schedule.

Accepting commitments you should not is one tactic you may use for avoiding feeling emotions that are uncomfortable. When you can sit in a little bit of discomfort emotionally, it begins to lose its power, and you get choice back.

So, just sit with it. Let fear be uncomfortable. Notice how guilt feels.

Sometimes when you pause and slow down, you can actually truly get to the root of some of these uncomfortable emotions.

Action: Be present with negative emotions. Practice feeling their discomfort. Notice it, and remember, that is generally the worst it is going to be.

Make Effort-Based Goals Instead of Results-Oriented Goals

You do not always know what it will entail to accomplish a goal. When you commit to certain results-oriented goals, you may not know if take 40 minutes or 2 hours hours to accomplish it (you may, but many times you don't), especially if you have not done it before.

Effort-based goals make a commitment to the effort over the result.

To learn more, check out the blog below.

This helps you manage your schedule by knowing with confidence how much time and commitment something will take before taking it on.

A quick example is a commitment to reading 20 minutes a day rather than 20 books a year.

Action: Make commitments to effort rather than results.

Don't Mistake the Disease to Please with the Call to Love

Lysa Terkeurst touches on this in the book The Best Yes.

Christians can be particularly susceptible to this because it is the calling of a Christian to love.

Sometimes if you are not careful, it can feel like pleasing others is the same thing as loving others. Love does not always please. Sometimes love corrects. Sometimes love pushes someone to do something hard that would ultimately be in their best interest. These are only a few examples where love does not always please.

Action: Separate pleasing and loving in your mind. Sometimes love does please, but not always, and you do not need to feel guilty for that.


Maybe it is time for you to quit something. If you need to do it on a Thursday to remember you have permission (and maybe Bob Goff is doing it too?) then go for it.

Your mental health matters, and it matters to your marriage.

What would your marriage be like with a little less anxiety, pressure, or stress?

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