“Are you kidding me?!” I asked an empty room. I was reading an email I had just received from my husband, the subject line was “April 23rd Weekend.” Joseph wanted to go away on a long weekend retreat, he enjoys the time alone spiritually re-centering himself, and was asking if this was a good weekend for him to go. That would be a good day to go out of town, I thought to myself, if it wasn’t the day before I’m due with our second child!!
I am all for him going and can always see the benefits of this time away. But, with a two year old at the time and a new baby due any day (if not have already come), April 23rd weekend is probably NOT the best weekend to be away from our family!
A few years ago, I would have gotten angry at Joseph for not remembering this important date in our family’s lives. But now, aside from my initial frustration, I found the email largely comical. I am definitely the planner of our family, and, although Joseph has come a long way since we were first together, I often have to remind him of important dates. I just didn’t realize that this would one day include our baby’s due date!
Talking about our family calendar has become one of several habits we have formed throughout our relationship. We try to discuss our family calendar at least once or twice a week. We go through our week together, what work or outside commitments we might each have, and/or projects around the house we might want to tackle. Throughout our relationship and marriage, Joseph has become much better committing to a schedule, and I have become more open to going-with-the-flow.
Practicing good habits has helped us to become more of a family unit as well as preventing anger and frustration. Here are three other habits that we have tried to instill in our family life as well.
1. Speaking about one another positively
As Kara mentioned in a previous article, Joseph and I make a conscious effort to speak about one another positively in public. We want to show each other and those around us, even strangers, that we love the other. If we are struggling with something about our spouse and want to ask someone else’s opinion, we ask through the confidence of friendship. If in public or in most circles of our friends, our conversations about one another are loving, genuine, and affirming. Or, at least, we try to be.
2. Waking up before our child (soon to be children)
Joseph and I try to get up before our son wakes up during weekday mornings. The thirty minutes before our son is busy with breakfast, blocks, and a new day, are precious to us. Over coffee, we talk about the upcoming day, sit in tired silence, or share prayer together. Even though it’s a struggle every morning when that alarm clock starts beeping, we enjoy reconnecting as the two of us before others enter our lives for the day.
3. Being financially responsible
I am the spender in our family. Not only because I am the one to do most of the grocery, clothes, housewares shopping, but because, I also really like to spend money. As a family of three (almost four) living on one and a half incomes, our budget is tight. There is little wiggle room for frivolous purchases, even for a $5 clearance shirt that I don’t really need. Like Joseph working on his calendar habits, working on financial habits has been harder work for me than him. It takes a lot of self-discipline for me to put that shirt back on the rack or not head into the coffee shop when I’m craving an afternoon latte. However, for all that saving on these little purchases has done for our family, I am willing to work on the habit!
Do you have habits that have made your relationship or marriage work for the better? Please share them! I’d love more ideas.