I am guilty of not prioritizing relaxation and rest. I think most perfectionists are guilty of this. Everything is about finishing the task at hand, thinking of new items to add to your to-do list and getting everything done so that you can relax later. The problem is that “everything” never gets done, and later never turns into now, because something inevitably pops up demanding your time and attention.As a single person, this isn’t a healthy way to live, but I’ve realized lately that it has an even bigger impact on marriage.
When my husband and I were dating, all of our time spent together was about fun- romantic dinners, long walks, visiting museums, hiking, hanging out with friends, and just enjoying each other. When we got engaged that changed. Much of our time together was spent planning the wedding, and discussing how we were going to merge our lives together. We kept saying “after the wedding, things will go back to normal and we will be able to relax and have fun again.” Boy, were we wrong!
We soon discovered that household chores, finances, medical issues and discussing career options and ideas sucked up much of our “free” time. And once again fun got pushed to the bottom of the list. We couldn’t even watch a TV show together without me trying to multi-task.
I didn’t realize the lack of fun was such a big deal, until my husband very kindly brought it up when we were on a recent hike. In the car ride out to the hiking location, I started discussing business ideas and financial goals again. I was turning our fun “date” into another financial planning meeting and he called me out on it. He told me he wasn’t feeling loved because I was turning all of our quality time together into business meetings. Yikes!
Since that hike, I have tried to be more intentional about allowing us both to rest and relax without bringing up our “to do” list. Here are two tips for those of you like me, who have a hard time fitting in fun.
- You have permission to have fun! Fun is not luxury, it’s a necessity. The puritanical work ethic that demeans recreation and relaxation does not apply to marriage or any other relationship for that matter. Kids need fun, siblings need fun, and you need fun too, whether you live with someone or not!
- Prioritize and protect fun. Pencil it in on the calendar. Set boundaries to protect your time to rest and relax. No matter how busy life gets, we need to give ourselves time to recharge every day, every week etc… I play a little game now with my husband when we are hanging out at home or going out on a date. When I start talking about a to do list item, I ask myself, “If we were on a date when we were dating, would I be talking about this?” If not, I push it to the back burner and go back to more important “task” at hand, namely enjoying quality time with the love of my life.