Last week I wrote about one area of improvement in our marriage: dinner time. As I wrote about the seemingly obvious yet utterly life-changing experience of meal planning and how being prepared for dinner makes for some drastically Happier Hahns, I felt good about the progress we have made. I find it so easy to look at marriage and only see the ways we are failing. Sure it is all good and well to take stock, adjust, and nurture those areas that may be a little ridged or tense, but to only notice what is wrong in a marriage is the beginning of a downward spiral of unrealistic expectations and disappointment. When I realized meal planning worked so well for us I wanted to grab Spencer into a tight hug and scream, “We did it! We figured something out!” while jumping up and down. I imagined his response to my overly dramatic, “We’re going to make it!!!” mantra to be full of logic and calm and he would say something like, “Babe, we do a lot of things right. This isn’t the first thing. C’mon now.” And you know – he is right.
In the second episode of this Doing Things Better series Who am I kidding? A blog series? Yeah right. Talk about unrealistic expectations…
One thing we do right is Transition Time (capital letters because it is that awesome). I mentioned previously that the hours between 5:00-10:00 PM are the witching hours in our house. I
purposefully mistakenly left out that part of the horror is… me. Hopefully I am not the only one who struggles with transitioning from work-mode to home-mode, but y’all. The. Struggle. Is. Real. At work I am constantly on the move. My job title should be Tour Guide/Counselor/Problem Solver/Talker/Walker/Planner/Fixer (okay, I realize I am basically describing Olivia Pope at this point so I digress). I talk a lot, I walk a lot, I plan a lot. And when things go wrong (because remember, I am a pessimist), I fix a lot. Are you exhausted yet? Also, to clarify, I am not asking for pity as 1. I chose this job and 2. I love this job. Also because my momma taught me there is no complaining when I have a job and many others do not. Yes ma’am.
After too many days of coming home from work as Joyful, Calm, Ready to See My Husband Logan, only to walk through the door and become Crazy, Spastic, Ready to Scare My Husband Logan, I admitted that something needed to change. Although it took a little personal evaluation and lots of prayer, I came to the realization that I needed time to transition from work to home before taking on the tasks of the evening.
Introducing – Transition Time.
When I come home from work, I get thirty minutes of Transition Time. These sweet thirty minutes can be filled however I like. The only stipulation is that Spencer cannot talk to me. I know, I know. I am a mean wife. But really, if you saw how mean I was before Transition Time you would understand. And for the sake of what good you might think of me, I choose to not disclose the wretch I was. For thirty minutes I can unload the dishwasher, read a book, take a nap, go on a walk, or my usual choice – sit on the couch and stare at the wall. I get to take off the responsibilities of work and rest in my home for just a little while before putting on the responsibilities of home. This not only makes for a much happier me but an even happier hubby. After my thirty minutes are up the night is free reign to work on chores, make dinner, and yes – talk with my husband.
Now some of you may be thinking I am selfish for taking this Transition Time, and you know what? I am. I very easily could work all day, come home with a smile on my face (despite the state of my heart), put dinner in the oven, do a load of laundry, hug and kiss my husband, ask about his day and listen attentively, clean up dinner, do a load of dishes, run errands, and all that jazz just like everyone else – however I get the sweet choice to not do any of those things right when I get home. My husband recognizes and appreciates the work I do from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM every day and this is his way of saying thank you – by giving me grace and space. Precious, coveted thirty minutes of grace and space. Is that not what marriage is all about? Noticing your partner’s weak areas and loving them enough to give them a break. Spencer knows the depths of my heart. He knows I desire to be the wife that is always joyful, always serving, always giving. He also knows I can’t fulfill those desires when my heart is not in the right place. And because he knows the way I wish to be, he gives me the grace to become that woman on my own terms. He does not mope with disappointment or comment on my failings. He gives me thirty minutes. Thirty minutes of uninterrupted time for myself. And because of the time he gives me, I am better prepared to joyfully serve him.
Do you see areas in your life that need Transition Time? It’s okay if you do. And it’s most certainly okay to ask for it. I asked for it because I needed it. Taking time throughout the day for yourself is not selfish – it is actually life-giving. So often the world, with its demands for attention and time and service, tells us if we aren’t doing something then we are doing nothing. And if you are like me, doing nothing brings along a lot of guilt. So what do we do? We go, go go, – never stopping for a breather, or a break… or a bathroom break for that matter. I don’t know why, but taking the time to pee is something I just don’t like to do until my bladder is pulsing and all control is almost gone. See – I need looooots of Transition Time. Because I’m crazy.
Push past those feelings of guilt and not doing enough and you will find yourself in a much healthier place – mentally, physically, and emotionally. We have got to slow down, even for thirty minutes, to rest. When the world continues to tell us to do, we need the wisdom to know when to just be.
Now – leave me alone. It’s Transition Time and I need to stare at this wall in peace.
Side note: Please do not read into this post something that is not there: comparison. I do not write about my life to boast. I write about my life for my own sanity. I also write in the hopes that my mistakes and lessons learned might help you. We are in this together – flawed and all.