June Musings

Rita

I knew from past experiences that when Bob talked about wanting to be home for the summer and as he talked about things for us to do in Chicago and around the house that the house would be his focus.  When he begins something he is quite single focused.  While I like to have a variety of things going and can have many ideas floating around, he sets his mind to something and gets it done.  While he said a few days perhaps a week to do the deck renovation I said a month or more.  We quickly settled into some kind of routine as we approached “our” project.  He said there would be things for me to do so I sat around a lot waiting to help.  I have managed to read a few novels that I had put aside to read.  I knew that writing our blog was going to have to fit into his/our project.  With his single focus on the deck we didn’t spend the same amount of time we usually do discussing.  The topic of our blog is always something we talk about, usually as we share meals.  Many thoughts and ideas ran through our heads and brief conversations as we approached this blog.  We each made suggestions but Bob’s ideas tended to focus on the deck and its affect on the plans we made.  Since I wasn’t directly involved most days I made different suggestions.  We have some different thoughts this time that we would like to share.

It is June and June is traditionally the month of weddings.  There are some traditional reasons for that such as:   it was after the winter and people came out into the communities again,  that children conceived would likely be born the next spring and would more easily survive the winter.  An interesting theory was that people took baths in the early summer so that everyone smelled better when large groups were together.  Some say it follows the Roman tradition of honoring the god Juno.  While June is still traditionally the month,  August, September and October are also popular.  Whatever the month, and I’m sure if we polled the anniversary date of those reading this we would come up with a significant number in every month.  In recent times people chose June because for many, such as teachers and students,  jobs allowed for easier vacations.  It is usually warm but not too hot, a greater chance of sun and less likely to rain.   The romance connected with weddings rather than a mere business contract makes warmer weather, drier weather and more hours of sunlight more attractive.  So June weddings continue to happen.  Perhaps you would like to revisit why or how you chose your wedding day and think about the joy and excitement as you planned your wedding.  Do you think the month of your wedding has had any affect on your life together?

This morning as I opened my web browser one item that popped up was how to plan a wedding renewal complete with how to buy a dress, where and what kind of reception to have, even destination marriage renewals.  This led me to think about the emphasis on the day rather than a lifetime.  I’m not opposed to memorable days for weddings nor am I opposed to vow renewal and celebrating those things with family and friends.  We have renewed our vows many times; at the end of couple retreats, in our parish on Holy Family Sunday, privately on our anniversary.  So my thoughts this morning were on what are the things we can do this summer to renew our lives together.  Fortunately for us we have had enough experience at working at communication that when “projects” get in the way we stop and do an adjustment which is what we have done the past few days.  I am looking forward to some summer adventures that we planned on our drive home in early June.  The summer will pass quickly but having moments to share time together will make it another memorable summer filled with renewal as another year of our life together comes to pass.

Bob

After being away for most of May, I was looking forward to being at home for most of the summer.  We have some projects to be done in the house and yard and Chicago is a great place to be in the summer, with a variety of festivals every weekend, Navy Pier, great museums, theater and just walking around downtown and through the lakefront parks.

When we arrived home June 1, I quickly got started on the deck renovation, thinking I could get it finished quickly, while Rita estimated perhaps three or four times longer.  Unfortunately, she was right, as usual.  I keep thinking with each complication that this is the worst and I will be able to move ahead quickly after this glitch is taken care of, but there is always another problem.  My approach to this is to let it dominate my life – I want it over, so that I can do something else.  The result is that we have been home for three weeks and I have done almost nothing except work on the deck, while Rita sits around and seems to be waiting for me to ask for her help. That brings up another of my “quirks” – I rather enjoy working alone in this kind of project and tend underestimate her ability to help.  When I realized this, I started to look for ways that she could help and she has been a great help on parts of the project.

In the past week or more I have become aware that my focus on the summer projects (it’s our house and yard, but they are really mostly my projects) has kept us from doing any of the fun things we anticipated, and time is slipping by rapidly.   It’s time to rescue the original anticipation of time to play together.  I am coming up on a natural break in the project (I’m not putting any time estimate on it – “soon”) and then it will be important to take time for some summer relaxation.  There is no rush to get all the work done, but I don’t want to lose the summer to home improvement projects.

I was surprised when I realized how easy it was to slip into a routine that kept me so focused on one thing that I lost sight of other things that are important to me.  I’m determined to rescue the fun part of summer and I’ll start this weekend by taking a break while we keep our grandson so that his parents can have some social time.  After that I intend to take deliberate breaks from my projects to do some of the things we enjoy doing together.

How does your “natural” routine keep you from making time for things that are important for you and your marriage?  Please leave a comment below.

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About Rita & Bob Boeke

Rita Boeke has experience teaching scripture and with her husband Bob has experience in enriching marriages through workshops and retreats. They post a weekly blog at thewonderofmarriage.com and co-authored Forever and a Day: An Invitation to Create a Marriage that Lasts a Lifetime.
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3 Responses to June Musings

  1. Doug says:

    Although we have been married less than 5 years, I find our daily “routine” of going to work, going to the gym, eating, getting ready for work, laundry, etc. has made us over the last few years to be stuck in a rut. It’s extremely difficult to break the routine and remember that we need to make time for “us”. As a result, we seem to be fighting a lot more than we used to. But, I also believe that a marriage is a partnership. That partnership shouldn’t mean that 100% of a persons energy is first devoted to the marriage/spouse and then any extra energy gets devoted to the individual’s interests / hobbies / other friends. I believe there needs to be a balance.

    As someone who also really (I mean, REALLY) enjoys home renovation-type projects, I definitely had a similar story…it was with flooring not a deck. But same scenario. My timeline to finish the project was way less than my wife’s. When she saw that it wasn’t done according to what I said was the timeline (which was too short), she would continually remind me about how I didn’t finish the project to the point that it was no longer enjoyable to do it. So what started as something that was a fun project now became a chore.

    I still believe balance is necessary in a healthy relationship. Obviously, I’m not talking about a spouse who is okay with her husband doing immoral things. But, if a husband has a very good friendship with someone, and that person is in a position where they really need a friend, I don’t feel it’s right for a spouse to play a trump card and say that “if you really cared about us you wouldn’t be friends with that person and instead focus more time on the marriage.”

    But I’m open to be told I’m wrong…

    • Bob & Rita says:

      Dear Doug,

      Our apologies for failing to reply to you more quickly. We got busy and didn’t give the blog much attention for a few weeks. Also, thank you for your comments – they help us to get a flavor of what happens in marriages other than our own, especially much younger marriages than ours.

      Let us start with a response to your last statement about being “open to be told I’m wrong…” We have no right and no interest in judging you or your wife or your marriage. We hope we can offer some comments that might help you to focus on each other and the importance of your marriage to each of you.

      One thing we sense in your comment is that you each have expectations for your marriage and your personal lives that are not being met and that inevitably leads to dissatisfaction and sometimes conflict. When your expectations and those of your spouse don’t mesh, the resulting tension can only be resolved by sharing them with each other and working out solutions that you both can live with. It is important to go into those discussions ready to fight for your relationship and not to be right.

      When you talk about all the things you do that don’t seem to allow time for you to be together, it is tempting to conclude that you don’t really have any choices. In fact, you always have some alternatives, although you may not find any of them totally satisfying. What can and what are you willing to give up or modify in both your lives to build the marriage you want? You might even have to ask whether your marriage is your first priority. A word of encouragement – many/most couples go through a period of similar struggles after about 5 years. The wonder of marriage and the reality often come into conflict. This is normal and can be overcome, if you make the effort. (It’s worth the effort!)

      The issue with your friend may be more symptom than a real issue. Consider a broader picture that involves other things that require your time– you mention the gym, work, laundry, eating, getting ready for work as well as time with your friend(s). Do you eat together or get ready for work at the same time? We always found those to be good times to talk and share our lives with each other. You can’t add to the hours in a day, so you have to work out priorities and some things may get less time.

      Our response here is necessarily limited, so we have another suggestion. If you like what we write, buy our book, Forever and a Day: An Invitation to Create a Marriage that Lasts a Lifetime, available from Amazon.com, also in Nook and Kindle formats. It can help you to explore other areas of your relationship and includes questions at the end of each chapter to help you get a discussion started. We suggest that you read a chapter at a time together and follow that with some discussion.

      We have found that it is very easy to let our relationship slide. After 45 years, we know that we are together for a lifetime, but we still have to schedule time for us in order to maintain the closeness we desire. We have to put ourselves on the calendar as a regular reminder that our marriage is the only relationship we have committed to for the rest of our lives.

      Please feel free to ask further questions or add comments. Marriage can be such a good way to live and we don’t want you to miss out on the best is has to offer.

      Bob & Rita

  2. Great post! Thanks for sharing!

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