Note #1 I had an eye exam this afternoon and had my eyes dilated, so my vision is still somewhat blurry. My apologies for any typos... In other news, stay tuned for new glasses!
Note #2: We don't have any kids yet, duh. So anything I say in this post applies to our marriage sans children for the time being and I don't claim to know anything yet about how these things will change or apply when we do have kids. I hope that we will still be good at them.
Few things are more encouraging than reading a marriage related book and realizing repeatedly throughout it "Pssh, we are already super good at that." Not gonna lie, it is pretty encouraging. In fact, I might be in favor of couples reading books about marriage related stuff that they already know they are good at, just for the boost.
I mentioned yesterday that my lengthy reading list includes Your Time-Starved Marriage by Les and Leslie Parrott.
Well, no longer, because I finished it. I mentioned that it was a skinny book to begin with, which I thought was smart since people with a time-starved marriage don't have much time for reading. But about the last fourth of the book is a long appendix in which you find your Time-Style and match it up with your spouse's. I read the 3-4 pages of that appendix that I thought were the section that applied to each of us and called it a day. Done. Check. What's next? Oh wait, that's not the point of this book. The point of this book, I think, is to take back control of time instead of letting time control you. Does that mean being busy is the devil and a recipe for disaster? Not necessary. But if that busyness is totally wearing you out, stealing your sleep and taking away time with people and things you love, some re-thinking might be in order.
Why did I buy this book? a) my mother-in-law and father-in-law used it in their marriage ministry that they lead at their church and recommended it, b) I found it for one penny on amazon.com (plus $4 shipping...fail), and c) Trent and I have spans of days or weeks here and there where we tell each other "I miss you" even though we technically see each other everyday. That's kind of sad.
I don't want to ramble on and on about this, but here are a few things recommended or talked about in this book.
Is your marriage slipping into the future? "Some people spend their entire lives indefinitely preparing to live."
...once the kids are older...once I get my raise...once we get a new house...
...someday, we'll go on a vacation...someday, we'll add on that room to the house...someday...
Sound familiar? ...What about right now?
What busyness does to your marriage:
-Corrupts your conversations: "Busyness deludes us into thinking that we're conversing when we are actually just trying to make it through the hectic speed of our day."
-Depletes your love life: "When you are scattered too thin...you end up with a zero balance in your love bank."
-Steals your fun: "If you're exhausted from just trying to keep the hamster wheel of life turning, you're never going to enjoy the ride."
-Erodes your soul: "If you are busy enough, long enough, you will become spiritually bankrupt."
How to battle busyness:
-Examine your "secondary gains": "What exactly is my busyness getting me besides the belief that I'm getting more done?"
-Quit serving leftovers: "Too drained, too tired, or too preoccupied to be fully present with the one we love the most"
Time bandits to look out for. Don't let them steal your time:
-Unfinished business (aka, your past)
So I mentioned above that it feels good to read a marriage related book and think "sweet, we are already good at this stuff". Or at least some of it. While I read this book, I had some "sweet!" moments and "ah man, fail" moments.
Some "dang it, we stink at that" items:
-I am not good at saying no to things or people, but I'm getting better at it
-Sometimes we each think the other is less busy and have unreasonable expectations, instead of working as two busy members of a team to get stuff done
-I am a planner and Trent is a go-with-the-flow guy, which are each fine, but we clash with those sometimes
Some "sweet, we are good at that!" items:
-we eat almost all our meals together, sitting at a table
-we make going on dates a priority and plan to keep that up when we have kids
-we have a ridiculous bedtime routine involving pillow stealing, singing, poking, laughing, and me exclaiming "calm down, I haffa go to sleep!"
-we get a decent amount of sleep and don't stay up late
-we are aware that each of us has different busy seasons in our lives and are sensitive to those (tax seasons for me, summer and random times for Trent)
-we allow ourselves some down time, even if there are other things we "should be doing". Right now the dishes aren't done but I'm blogging and Trent is performing surgery on an Xbox while surprisingly not yelling at the Cowboys.
-we remember where we have been and savor what's going on in our lives right now
Are we busy? Yes. Do we get freakin stressed out sometimes? Yes. Do we often miss each other even though we physically see each other every day? Yes. Do we somehow make it work and manage to have time for each other and stay connected? Yes.
Now we just need to ask these same questions whenever we have kids and make sure the last answer is still Yes.