My idea of a perfectly delightful day off is to sleep in until noon! Well, after all, it is supposed to be a day of REST, is it not? So, when DH would come bouncing boldly back into the bedroom after his morning run to carpool the kiddos, and announce with gusto that he was hungry and we should go eat breakfast at Country Kitchen, I would tend to greet his idea with something less than enthusiasm. My favorite Scripture verse is Proverbs 27: 14 "If a man loudly blesses his neighbor early in the morning, it will be taken as a curse."
or, as The Message Bible paraphrases,
14 If you wake your friend in the early morning
by shouting "Rise and shine!"
It will sound to him
more like a curse than a blessing.
Nevertheless, not having to cook breakfast and clean the kitchen did sound better and better the more awake I became, so I would often take him up on his offer. DH was willing to patiently wait for me to dress for the day, and soon we would be off to the restaurant. Three hours later, and thirty bucks poorer, we would finally get home again. It seemed like a long list of errands would suddenly be remembered, and I sometimes felt like a captive passenger.
Someone might be in the hospital, and DH would explain as he drove, "It would be so convenient to drop in for a quick visit on our way." Worse still, DH sometimes felt the need to sneak back into the office "just for a minute" on the pretense of retrieving a book or piece of mail, and I would have to come along for the ride, and pray that he wouldn't get side-lined by several members of the congregation who also might have just "stopped by for a minute."
I do appreciate DH's help with domestic chores, and I readily admit to being organizationally challenged. (Okay, okay--I'm lazy, there I said it! However, I prefer to think of it as being more "laid back".) ;-) My DH has a bit of compulsive-obsessive traits in his personality, and he has helped me to learn over the years that he cannot relax until his world is in order. (He's the kind of guy that makes the bed in a hotel room, go figure!) Unfortunately, DH is perfectly willing to help me with the chores, right when I am reluctant to be helped. It's not that I don't see the need to get it done, it's just the timing and priority of what needs to be done.
Another frustration is that when DH starts any home repair or home maintenance project, it automatically becomes the "family" project. This was directly learned from his dad, a truck driver/cattle farmer, who practically ruined every family holiday gathering by forcing the entire family to go out and herd cattle, or some other unpleasant task. I remember one Thanksgiving when he started to dismantle the entire refrigerator, trying to fix the ice-maker, while all the women were getting dinner. What an awful pain that was, tripping over him, reaching around him to get the items we needed in the fridge!
If DH (and his dad) had a "mantra" it would probably be something like, "the family that works together, stays together." So, when Dad shovels the snow, we all shovel snow. When Dad picks up the "poop" we all get to share the joy. (Are we having fun, yet?!)
On top of every other frustration, the pinnacle of every marriage "discussion", is the matter of finances. It is not fun to hang around the house on bill-paying days. It's never fun to pay bills. It's especially not fun when there isn't enough money to pay all the bills. No fun; 'nuff said.
Being a firm believer in the restorative power of play therapy--and just wanting to have some fun on my days off--I had to seriously ponder the pros and cons of spending my days off with DH. On the one hand, I love him, and want to be with him: on the other hand, it's kind of nice doing my own thing, which may actually involve not doing much besides sleeping!!!
Then came a Monday morning, not long ago. Totally out of the blue, DH rolled over when the alarm went off, and said, "I think I'm going to stay home today. Wanna take the day off with me?" Totally out of character, at first I thought maybe he was talking in his sleep. Then, I thought he was sick or depressed! "What's wrong?" I asked, waking more quickly than usual.
He assured me nothing was wrong; he was just tired. We had had a very busy weekend, with back-to-back commitments.
It didn't take too much persuasion to talk me into calling my boss and asking to re-schedule my day off. (Have I mentioned that I love the flexibility of my job?) We each took one kid to school (they go to private schools in opposite directions), then met in the parking lot of Country Kitchen. After enjoying a nice leisurely breakfast, we came home and went to bed. Now, that's my idea of a day off!
A couple of hours later, we rose, rested and satisfied, ready to face the daunting tasks ahead. I made coffee, and we both had our computer/devotional time. After a while, we looked at the finances together, cut up a few credit cards, paid a few bills, and then it was done! Since I've put many bills on auto-pay, and others are paid online, it actually wasn't as painful a process as it had been in the past.
Later on, we took the dog for a walk. The kids came home, did their homework, helped with the dinner dishes, and did a few other little chores. After dinner, we all watched TV together.
That night, as I lay in bed, reflecting on our perfectly delightful day off, I was amazed at how much things have changed for the better in my relationship with DH. He actually wants to spend time with me--and I actually want to be with him! In my Valentine's Day card from DH, he thanked me for my intense love for him over the past few months. It struck me that my love has grown more intense, almost without realizing it, over a time period that correlates with the creation of this blog!
I'm a witness to the "power of positive thinking" and loving!