There will be times in your marriage that you just won’t be able to accommodate each other the way you want to. The biggest area I see this in our marriage is based upon our schedules. For my husband, he feels busy with less things on his weekly schedule than I do. (And even more so when things are up in the air at his work.) He just prefers being home (although he loves going out to eat!). That’s where he wants to be. For me, it takes more events for me to feel busy. I don’t want 100 events in a given week, but 3 doesn’t necessarily make me feel busy (depending on what they are, of course).
Why we didn’t see this while dating
We talked about this before marriage, but it didn’t sink into my head that we are different in this area until I started to live the difference. We didn’t really see this particular issue in dating for 3 reasons:
1) When you’re dating, you’re just naturally out more
I didn’t think anything of being at church, playing games with friends and then at a Prayer meeting on Sundays, Bible Study on Mondays, Awana on Wednesday, board games again on Thursdays and hanging out with him & friends on Friday or Saturday. He didn’t necessarily like being that scheduled, but he didn’t feel that busy because a lot of that is just stuff you do when you’re dating. Plus some of those items were done at his house, so he felt like he was at home because he was.
2) Our schedules were seperate
I taught Awana on Wednesdays and would do a women’s book club on Saturday mornings. He knew that’s where I was, but he didn’t feel our separation because he didn’t know any different. We weren’t living together or anything close to that. We weren’t trying to spend as much time as humanly possible together either. So, if we were apart, what I was doing didn’t factor into his “busyness” gauge. Now time apart feels like busyness because it’s a difference in our normal routine.
3) My schedule was different
This first year of marriage, I intentionally took a year off formal ministry, so I’ve been home a lot more than I ever have. It’s great at times. It drives me nuts at times.
So what do you do about it?
There isn’t a better or worse here. It’s not like 2 events/week is good and 5 events/week is better and 10 events/week is bad. It’s all just personal preference. I’m not wrong. Jeff isn’t wrong. We just want different things out of our schedules. This isn’t a sign that we weren’t “meant to be”. This is just a difference. And we can work around it.
I can’t force Jeff to think that 5 events/week isn’t “busy”. And I feel bored-out-of-my-mind at only 2 events/week. So, our solution is:
1. Do things together.
Do the things together that we like doing together and don’t make both of us feel busy.
2. Do things separately.
I do things without him that I want to do. This means I’ll go to open houses, weddings, or birthday parties without him. I’ll see an occasional movie without him. I’ll have people over during the times when he’s already going to be gone.
But here’s the catch: I have to make sure it doesn’t interfere with our relationship. For a relationship to be healthy, you have to spend time together. You want to spend time together. I need to balance my desire to be around people and be active with my desire to be with my husband. I can’t make me over-the-moon happy while I make him totally miserable. What kind of marriage would I be left with then? I have to remember that while we’re not trying to build the same life, we are build a life together.
Bottom line: He’s always free to join me in activities; he’s just not obligated to do so. If there’s an event that I really want him to attend with me, I’ll tell him so. And he honors that! Why? Because not every thing I do is something he must join me in. So when I ask him to, I really mean it. And vice versa. He has to trust that I’m honest when I say “this is something I can do by myself” and he can only do that when I am honest.