Outside of our marriage counseling sessions, my husband and I are trying to tackle some of the hurdles in our relationship on our own. Up first, we're trying to get a grasp on our family schedule, which has been wreaking havoc on our marriage for years now.
But I decided that instead of fighting about it, we should figure out why it's causing us so much trouble and make a plan to resolve it. And after just a few weeks, I'm surprised at how much better things around our house have gotten, not just with us but with our kids as well.
What we did isn't rocket science, and I'm pretty sure you can apply it to your own relationship, whether you're having difficulty dealing with your family schedule or something else.
So you might be wondering why our family schedule is such an issue for us, because really, how hard can it be? But when you live in a house with a commercial pilot and military officer who rarely has a set schedule, life as the primary parent can be terribly challenging, not just because you don't really have a sense of when he's going to be home or not, but also because when he is home, he has no sense of your routine.
It's a scheduling nightmare!
In the past, we've just flown by the seat of our pants, with him hopefully remembering to email me his flying dates and then telling me the night before when he needs to head to the Air Force base for duty. It caused me a fair amount of anxiety. Then, when he'd be home and want to sleep in or mow the lawn at dinnertime, I'd freak out and we'd just end up arguing.
But for the last few weeks, that's completely changed. And here's how I did it:
1. Don't wait for anyone to do what you can do yourself. I was waiting for months for my husband to remember to email me his schedule, but that never happened. So instead of getting angry, I just remind him every month to send it to me, and then I add it to our newly-created family calendar on Google that I shared with him.
I put everything on there, including anything that involves the kids, so he can check in from wherever he is and see what's going on. Additionally, he can add his military duty days as well, which gives me more notice and the ability to prepare mentally for his absence. It's like organizational Xanax.
This also allows me to schedule work trips and other meetings because I've got exactly when he'll be home and when he'll be gone laid out in front of me. And that means no surprises for him either.
2. Communicate what you need. For years, my husband would come home from a trip and create his own daily schedule, which would sometimes coincide with what our family was doing but other times would completely go against what we had planned. So there were days when he'd work out right before dinner or mow the lawn at bedtime. It was maddening!
So now when he's home, which can be a few days at a time during the week, we chat the night before and figure out who needs to get what done. Then we negotiate those into our schedules based on priority level. Turns out, he wasn't being reckless or inconsiderate, but rather just had a mental to-do list that I didn't know about.
3. Let go of the reins. I know I'm not the only woman who leans strongly towards taking control in the household. And while I am the solo parent for much of the month, I would continue on as "head honcho" when my husband got home, which was exhausting for me and unfair to him.
So while I used to take on pretty much all daily household tasks even if he was home, lately I've asked him to cook dinner on a night or two, as well as do a few other chores that I'm usually reluctant to relinquish.
This has affected the shift in power in our relationship so that we're now on more equal footing, and it's given me the break that I've needed and wanted for so long. And as it turns out, the dude can cook.
What are the biggest hurdles in your relationship?
Image via Iowa_Spirit_Walker/Flickr
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