After returning to our home from lying poolside for a little over an hour I was admiring my slowly darkening skin and I thought to myself, “I feel so relaxed and refreshed.” It occurred to me, I love lying by the pool in the sunshine and reading. This isn’t a new revelation to me as much as it is something I needed to be reminded of.
Having been home schooled all through my life, I used to love the Pennsylvania months of May and September when all my friends were trapped within the confines of a building only left to admire the sunshine from inside while I was able to don my swimsuit and bask in the sunlight with my school book in hand. During high school this was a regular afternoon routine for me. In college, we got out of school in early May and my schedule was not so full in September that I needed to cut this part of my day out of my routine. For many years I enjoyed this luxury.
This year, I assumed I would have less time to lay beside the pool because of being married and having work and home responsibilities that were greater than when I was in school. I do have more responsibilities now than before, but not so many that the pool had to be cut from my schedule and I have been determined this week to make this relaxing activity a “must achieve” on my to-do list each day.
When it comes to spending time lying by the pool there are a few factors that have caused me to neglect making this a priority this summer. One would be my new responsibilities, and then the other reasons would be silly such as the pool is not right outside my door as it is at my parent’s and I have to share it with other people now. But these are silly reasons. What this whole thing has caused me to recognize today is how marriage kind of messes you up.
Now, for you non-Type-A people out there it may not be such a big deal. But for a routine-setting, schedule-organizing, to-do-list-fanatic, marriage kind of messes with you. Before marriage I did a number of positive things everyday: as stated before I would bask in the sunshine and read a good book, I had a daily quiet time without a time limit, I exercised 5-6 days a week with a program, I completed chores organized by specific days of the week, I had a bedtime that was not broken, I drank over 8 glasses of water each day, I read every day, and low and behold we had a date night set aside every week. Upon getting married, instead of simply incorporating my new, dearly loved husband into MY schedule it all just fell apart instead.
My new husband did not set out to destroy my schedules and routines and to-do lists. He actually, in one sense, married me because he loves my organization and discipline. But when you get married it is not simple fitting another person into YOUR schedule, it is completely re-configuring a brand new schedule that you have never seen before. Back to the drawing board if you will.
As I expressed this to some of my in-laws over dinner in a humorous manner a few nights ago, one of them said, “it takes a year to get back on track.” Why did no one say this to me at the beginning of marriage? Not that this re-configuring has caused any strife or turmoil, but it did cause some discouragement. Numerous times I have felt like a failure because I have not taken care of myself or our household as specifically and daily as I felt I did before marriage. And we are 367 days into our marriage and I am just now beginning to feel as though I am pulling things back together. Workouts, water intake, to-do lists completed, quiet times, poolside sunshine, etc…
For the newly-weds or those soon-to-be brides, take heed; your husband will not purposefully pull you away from the ways you currently take care of yourself, your spiritual life, your disciplined ways. He actually wants you to continue doing all of these things that are good for you and your soul, but he wants to be a part of it and he wants to spend time with you and he wants to do things together. It might take you only a few weeks or months for you two to figure out what things can be done together and what needs to be done apart, but don’t worry, you’ll figure it out. And you won’t be able to do EVERYTHING together, and that will be ok. But take your time figuring out what things go where and which ones will be done together. Prioritize, be patient, and communicate. And it might take a year. And that’s ok.