Another Friday is upon us! Even years after graduating from my formal education, I still get excited when the weekend comes. Even if I work over the weekend, something inside me demands fun, rest, and relaxation – because it’s the weekend! Working on Saturdays (granted, I work from home) still feels more relaxed than working during the week. Weekends equal fun and glorious laziness; well, at least to me. ~smile~
Eric enjoys the flexibility of being able to work on whatever he chooses over the weekend. Does he want to work on a house project? Does he want to work on a PreEngaged project? Does he want to work on an IT project? The sky is the limit. He can work on anything! It is the weekend! Weekends equal productivity and glorious accomplishment; well, at least to Eric.
How Do You Spend Your Leisure Time?
As a child, I can remember the constant “battle” between my parents. It was an amicable battle, but an aggravating one. Mom worked long hours during the week, so weekends and holidays gave her a chance to catch up on all the tasks she could not complete during the week. Saturday morning was house cleaning time! I am not ashamed to admit that as a teenager I would lie in bed and pretend to be asleep as long as I could because I knew as soon as I got up, I would be put to work! Having never been the keeper of my own home, I did not see why cleaning every Saturday was such a big deal.
It is SATURDAY, MOM! Relax! Why can we not make ourselves a huge bowl of cereal and watch TV until we are ready for a nap?!
Dad, however, truly understood my relaxation “needs.” He had them too. I remember it like it was yesterday.
Mom: Jack, we need to <insert some form of work here>.
Dad: But, I am on vacation.
As an adult, I can see both sides. Mom had a ton to do and she only had so many hours in the day. Her personality would not allow for her house to be a complete disaster. She could not relax in that! The best way to help Mom relax was to help her create order in her world. I did not appreciate it enough at the time, but now that I have my own home I am thankful I grew up in a clean house. Keeping it that way took a lot of hard work.
Still, I have an “it will still be there tomorrow” mentality about many of my chores and I think that can be healthy… to a point. Unfortunately, I frequently pass that healthy point.
One more television episode and then I will finish my work.
Thirty more minutes to rest and then I will clean.
I have worked hard this week. I deserve some leisure time. (Which might be fine if all my necessary work was done.)
So, it is safe to say that I choose to spend my leisure time relaxing, watching shows, spending time with friends, and joking around with Eric.
How Does Your Sweetie Spend His or Her Leisure Time?
“But, I need to read.” Sounds like a harmless statement, right? Those five simple words used to throw me into fits of internal rage. As a newlywed who wanted to enjoy spending time with her new groom, I hated hearing these words. Eric and I were both in graduate school when we got married, but we handled our learning journey in completely different ways.
He thought I did not study enough. I thought he studied too much. We were probably both right.
When the weekend came (or even just evenings), I wanted us to have leisure time together. We had worked all week and (based on my understanding of nights and weekends) that should have earned us some freedom and fun.
Eric had this notion that since we were in school and worked full time, we should study at night and on weekends (since we obviously couldn’t do it while we were working). I wanted a happy medium; but, if I am being totally honest, I just wanted the school work to go away so I could have my husband to myself.
Once we graduated, the frustration did not stop. Maybe Eric did not have to read so much anymore, but he had other projects which required his attention. He is a visionary and an entrepreneur and if I have learned one lesson as his wife, it is that you cannot keep an ideas man caged. A life of leisure is torment for his personality type.
Finding Compromise and Common Ground
How a couple chooses to spend their free time can draw them closer or push them apart. We have found this to be true, year in and year out. Eric wants me to be excited to work alongside him in his endeavors (and I truly want to be), while I want him to plop next to me on the bed and spend hours and hours binge-watching a favorite show.
I wish I could say Eric and I have found the deep secret to keeping us both happy in this area, but so far all we have discovered is that it is not always about us. Sometimes, even when I would rather amuse myself in other ways, I must sit down in my office chair and work with him on our family and business projects. If I go into our office with a chip on my shoulder telling myself this is going to be so boring, then we will accomplish little and our emotional connection will suffer. If I decide I am going to serve my husband by having a good attitude, I know I can find joy in the work and we can accomplish much.
Eric has served me in much the same way lately by enjoying a TV series with me. Even though he does not consider screen time to be quality time at all, it means a lot to me. So, he is choosing to believe that it fulfills my quality time need even if it goes against his logic that it is not quality time (for him). Over Christmas vacation, we watched several episodes a night and I enjoyed it so much! I appreciated his willingness to spend time with me in this way.
It goes back to the concept of love and respect. When I respect his need to accomplish and aid him in doing so, he is more motivated to spend time relaxing with me. Plus, he is able to relax more because he does not feel like he is carrying the entire load on his shoulders. When he rests his productivity engine for some TV time, I have more motivation to be present with him when he needs us to work.
(Note to the laid back crowd. If you have a Type A sweetheart or spouse, helping your loved one complete a nagging task will help him or her relax. Telling him or her to relax will come across as unfeeling and un-empathetic. Jump in there and make a list of what needs to be done. Help your sweetheart complete the list and then you two can enjoy some much needed downtime together.)
Are we just too different?
Eric and I are slowly but surely finding a middle ground between his constant work and my constant play, but it has been a long, long road. How a couple spends their free time impacts everyday life, holidays, and vacations. Always working will make a fun-loving person feel boxed in and hopeless. Always playing will make a productivity junkie twitch and eventually get depressed. Neither of these scenarios is positive.
Couples compromise all the time; yet, if you are still dating, I would urge you to honestly evaluate this question, “Are we just too different?” If you are already struggling to agree on how to spend your free time, that could be a sign of what is to come. Do not ignore this issue or consider it trivial (I assure you, it is not). Talk about it together, think it through, and pray about it.
Can visualize your future marriage thriving based on how you each naturally like to spend your time?
One of the joys of marriage, and I believe one of God’s purposes when He created marriage, is companionship.
“Then the LORD God said, ‘It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper who is just right for him’” (Genesis 2:18, ESV).
How we spend our time reflects our priorities and goals. If couples are pushed apart by their priorities, companionship suffers. As we tell our clients, it may not be healthy to spend every waking hour together, but couples thrive when they are heading in the same direction and focusing on many of the same goals. Eric and I consider common life goals to be so important that we dedicate a significant amount of time for discussing the topic in our pre-engagement counseling sessions.
We want our sweethearts by our side.
This weekend, I predict Eric and I will work some and play some. I pray that after another ten years passes, we will have reached an ideal middle ground. Until that day comes, we will keep chugging along, learning more about each other’s needs, sacrificially giving, and enjoying the pleasure of serving each other along the way. (Who knows? Maybe in ten years, I may be the workaholic! Stranger things have happened! ~wink~)
How do you and your sweetie choose to spend your leisure time? [Comment below!]