For as long as I can remember, I have been a master daydreamer. Even though my daydreams are typically far more interesting than real life, they can come at the most inopportune times! My pastor may make reference to a Bible story and then suddenly I am slaying Goliath. It is quite an exciting fantasy, but then I miss the next ten minutes of his sermon.
Sorry, Eric, but sometimes when you are telling me about work, I zone out completely. (I know you are shocked and dismayed. ~smile~) I really do not mean to float away; but, random words or phrases in your stories propel my mind to another time and place.
“And, then Bob said to Shirley, ‘I thought that was my stapler’.”
Staplers. I remember when some co-workers at my old job pranked a guy by pouring Jell-O over his stapler. That was funny. It was green Jell-O. Green Jell-O is not my favorite. I like cherry Jell-O. In fact, the last time I had cherry Jell-O was at J.J.’s 12th birthday party. I wonder whatever happened to him? I should look him up on Facebook. Oh, shoot! Eric was talking and I have no idea what he said.
As you can imagine, I missed a lot of teaching content in school. For someone who could memorize television shows and quote them flawlessly, It seems I should have been able to harness my focus onto my studies. It was (and still is) difficult for me to pay attention unless I was immersed in an activity (straight lecturing does not work for me and probably does not work for many of you). But, occasionally a life-changing (or, at least, memorable) tip would reach my ears and stick in my brain.
“You need to find a hobby. Counseling will drain you of your emotional energy and it will be imperative that you spend time recharging doing something you love.”
After sharing this tidbit of wisdom, our counseling professor drove his point home by showing us his mountain biking pictures – a great way to let off steam and recharge after a long week. It is not surprising that someone as fun-centered as I am would remember that particular piece of advice.
And, I have found him to be 100% correct. Work is good and necessary. Without it, we become lazy, critical, and wither away. God did not intend us to sit down here and do nothing. If we are alive, we have a purpose and we need to find it. However, balance is necessary and many of us struggle with it. If Eric and I were fused into one person, we would have an excellent work/play balance; but, since we are not, he seems like a workaholic to me at times and I am sure he sees me as a fun-aholic.
But, let us not focus on that right now. ~smile~
The Power of Bright Spots
In the last five years, I have realized the power of having bright spots on the horizon (a bright spot is something to look forward to). I work so much better when I have pleasant experiences looming. Even though it seems like I would get more done on weeks when my schedule is completely free, I do not! Those lunches with friends, girls’ days with my sister-in-law, pizza and game nights, and upcoming beach trips are the oil which keeps my engine running smoothly.
Even though Eric does thrive when he is working and implementing new ideas, he still needs play time. Balance is crucial in all of our lives. We all go through unbalanced seasons, but the sooner we return to a proper work/play ratio, the better performance we give in our jobs and the better we are for our families. Eric attends a weekly game night most weeks and I have seen such a positive change in him since he started. He gets to fellowship with fellow strategy game enthusiasts, pour off the stress of the week, and come home in a terrific mood.
Bright Spots in Your Future Marriage
Maybe now you are thinking we have plenty of bright spots. We are always enjoying life together! If so, I am happy for you; and, sad to tell you that it will not always be this way (I am sorry!). Marriage is a wake up call and newlyweds are often amazed at how busy they become – especially since they managed to spend so much time together when they were dating. This vanishing free time phenomenon amazed me too!
Because work, school, children, and other responsibilities will always be vying for your time, you and your future spouse will need to intentionally sprinkle bright spots throughout your weeks and months. Sometimes, it will be as simple as watching your favorite show together before bed. Other times, it will (hopefully) be as glorious as a couple’s cruise. Those larger than life bright spots give us something to look forward to long term.
This time next year I will be relaxing on a white, sandy beach without a care in the world!
But, in the meantime, we need smaller rewards to keep up our morale!
On Friday evening, I am going to dance the night away with my man! Two more days to go!
Here are a few potential bright spots you can plan:
- Date nights.
- Gatherings with friends.
- Camping trips.
- Getaway weekends without children (post-marriage, of course!).
- Eating ice cream together on the deck under the stars.
- Day trips.
- Take out nights (no cooking and no dishes!).
- Morning jog together.
- Girls’ nights and boys’ nights. (Not every bright spot has to be centered on each other. Some time away from each other is good for a marriage.)
- Marriage retreats.
And the list goes on and on…
Just knowing I do not have to cook makes my entire day lighter! Take out is a dear friend of mine; and, it is even more delightful when Eric picks it up!
Eric and I Have Paid the Price for Living an Unbalanced Life!
Eric and I started dating when we were in college mode. Everything revolved around scholastics and future career planning. Because of this, we did not focus nearly enough attention on the non-school, non-work side of our relationship – and we have suffered for it.
One of the reasons Eric and I so passionately recommend pre-engagement counseling to dating couples is so they can see their relationship from all sides and prepare for a well-adjusted, fulfilling, God-honoring marriage. We wish we could go back in time and look at our relationship from different angles before setting off on our marriage adventure. (But, dating reader, it is not too late for you!)
Always Encourage Each Other to Seek Balance
Without grease, engines seize. We are mortals and we have limits. Even though it may not seem productive to take time for a hobby, it absolutely is. It nurtures a part of our minds and bodies that help us reach our potential.
So, remember to incorporate bright spots into your future marriage to keep your attitudes positive. There is no amount of money more attractive than a happy, fulfilled spouse.
Encourage each other to achieve a balanced lifestyle, even if it requires some short-term sacrifices.
What are twenty small bright spots you would like to add to your future marriage?