Monday, February 20, 2006

Reason #21: He wants to BE with me!

Throughout our marital relationship saga, the dilemma of "Pastor's Day Off" has been a sore topic. Everyone knows that Sundays are not a leisure day for a minister (and his family), but they forget that Saturday is most likely filled with administrative/housekeeping tasks for the pastor in preparation for a busy day of services, not to mention the myriad of church activities that fall to weekends on the calendar, such as weddings. So, if the pastor works all weekend, when does he take a day off?

It was years before DH ever consistently took a regular day off from work. He worked seven days a week! If and when my Dear Hubby ever decided to stay home from the office, it was usually due to extreme physical fatigue or near emotional breakdown, and the mood of the whole day was predictable. Picture the shades drawn, the house quiet, and the poor pastor in bed all day, nursing a monster headache. Fun for the whole family? I think not!

Mondays are the usual choice for busy pastors to be away from the office. Our staff used to take Mondays off together, so they could have more days to stay connected through the week. But I grew to despise Mondays, and finally banished him back to the office. I decided that if he was going to be sick, miserable, and depressed every Monday, he could just as well take it out on those who dished it to him at church, and not punish his family.

Oh, the arguments that surrounded the awful subject of "A Day OFF"--the hurts that were embedded into my heart from his rejection of me! What devastating patterns developed through the years of forming a codependent relationship with a "workaholic" husband!

Unobtrusively, an amazing change transpired, so slowly it was almost inperceptible. DH began to consistently take Thursdays off. It offered a nice mid-week break, far enough away from last Sunday for him to be in a better mood, yet not too close to next Sunday for him to be stressed out.

Without actually intending it, DH began to develop a "day off" routine. Thursdays just happened to be "trash pick-up day" in our neighborhood, so every Thursday morning DH obediently gathered all the garbage, enlisting the help of the kids, and set it out by the curb, on his way to take one or both of the kids to school. (Some mornings, he would give me a break, and drive them both; other days, I took them both, so he could sleep in.)

If I had the day off from work, he would take me out for breakfast, and we would stop by Sam's Club for groceries or run other errands after breakfast. If I worked, he would do the Sam's run himself, and maybe dawdle a bit longer in the books section or the electronics department. Then it was home to make coffee and read the Word. The rest of the day was generally divided into home maintenance projects, bill-paying, web-surfing, and naps.

I was so proud of him: it took a long time, but he finally figured out how to take a day off, and what that looked like to normal people. We even did family things together at night, like walk the dog, ride bikes, or (most often) watch TV together.

Trouble is: it took so long, it almost ruined my desire to be with him on his day off! I actually came to that sad realization very recently.

After a few Thursdays off without me, DH asked out of curiosity, why I had been taking Wednesdays off instead of Thursdays. I told him truthfully that I hadn't even thought about it; it was just how the schedule had been made up, and coincidentally had fallen into that pattern. I told him I would look into getting it changed.

Secretly, I had to spend some serious consideration on whether or not I wanted to make the change to spend my day off from work with him! Reading between the lines of the blissful "day off routine" described above, I realized there were many "slip-ups" on his road to recovery, and my DH quite frankly was not always "fun" to be with!

...To Be Continued...

(Would it be considered "cheating" if I carried over this topic into Reason #22?)