This week and last we have been featuring guest blogger, James Browning, a regular writer for Epic Life Creative. He will be sharing some of his observations on marriage during his recent cross country relocation.
#4. There Is Not Enough Time
My job permits me to work from home. This has a lot of obvious benefits, but some of the downsides include the fact that I am almost always “on-call” to some extent, and many of my clients expect me to be available during holidays and vacations, etc. This week, I traveled across the country to tour many apartments, condos, and townhomes, while also trying to answer work calls, send emails, and more. I don’t have enough time.
Meanwhile my wife is at home with the baby. She is fortunate to have the ability to take her baby with her to work. But while at work the baby still demands much of her attention. So Hannah is trying to take care of the baby, tie up any loose ends at work before moving, go home and continue to take care of the baby while packing everything up. To be completely honest, I don’t know how she was able to show up to work dressed professionally rather than just with both her and the baby wearing pajamas with avocado and toast stuck to the back. She doesn’t have enough time.
Moving isn’t the only event like this. As we get older and have less energy, the baby is going to get older and have more. Soon we will be taking multiple kids to band, soccer practice, school events, friends’ houses, all while trying to maintain our own lives and marriage. Every great man or woman in the history of the world had the same 24 hours in day that I have. This means that I need to prioritize my time and my marriage relationship must be right at the top of that list. I need to take the time to call my wife and keep her informed of the apartment hunt. And no matter how busy I am I need to thank her for all the hard work that she is putting into this move. I need to appreciate all the time she makes for our relationship. It’s not all about me!
#5. Moving, just like Marriage, Is Stressful
A lack of time – All your money = Stress
I’ve already spent a lot of time discussing how stressful things in this move have been. Even just sitting in my old apartment with a fussy baby and giant stacks of boxes encroaching on my personal space while I’m trying to work is stressful. Lately it has felt like I’m navigating a maze just to find the bathroom.
But here is the thing, every single important event in your marriage is stressful! All of them! Even if you were to win the lottery, you would still be stressed about finding a good financial advisor, you’d worry about taxes, and friends and family hitting you up for money. This is why I have decided to never win the lottery, I just don’t have the time.
It is how you handle this stress that will determine how smoothly things go. We all know people who tend to become anxious over minor events. Tough times will come no matter what. And as much as I would like to just say, “Don’t Worry About It,” that doesn’t work. What does help, at least in my case is by realizing that tough times are coming… and then so are the relaxing times. Additionally, trusting my spouse relieves so much of the stress that comes with many of these life events, even if it is just taking away the added stress of working against my spouse. Finally, trusting that there really is a God who really is in control, and He really does care about me through the good times and the bad.
#6. Moving Is A Chance To Reset
Moving is a great time to clean out the closets, get rid of all the junk that I’ve been keeping around “just in case,” and maybe curb my spending on food trucks for lunches. Moving is a wonderful chance to reset.
But the one thing that I really need to remind myself about moving is that it is the opportunity to reset, not a guarantee of a reset. I will not be bringing my 15 year old clothes, or lid to an aquarium that I no longer own, but I will be bringing all my bad habits. I have daydreams of moving across country, building my business, and becoming the perfect father and husband. Moving does provide an opportunity to change those habits, but it still isn’t going to be as easy as daydreaming about it. I have to work hard to spend more time and be more thoughtful of my wife. I have make an effort to practicing humility, to admitting when I’m wrong, and to changing my behavior. Moving makes that easier but will never do it for me. Neither will a change in my job, or having kids. And I can’t expect my wife to fix me either, it is entirely up to me to put in the time and work, but now is a great time to do it!
#7. Keeping The Dream Alive
My wife is a late comer to Pinterest. But planning this move has really prompted a lot of time spent on the social network, she has our baby’s room decor planned out for the next 5 years of life. She has our kitchen planned out, and our guest bedroom. I had to sign up for a Pinterest account just so I can find out where my sock drawer is going to be.
Moving really is a great time to start dreaming again about the future. Not just how you will decorate, but the kind of friends and family you want to be to your neighbors. How you want to host people and share your lives with them. Moving is a great time to remember how you dreamed about things when you were young and dating and looking forward to the future.
The past year has been mostly just trying to keep up. Making sure there isn’t any baby food fossilized on the floor or some dirty diaper accidentally left out right before guests come to visit. I can barely remember if I put on deodorant let alone what my plans were before we got married.
Whether your dreams all come true or not really isn’t that vital. But what is like a shot of adrenaline to a marriage is a sense of hopeful optimism for the future. We love dreaming and lately we’ve been too mired in the day to day and forgotten to stop and look at the beautiful marriage that God has built and the wonderful relationship that we are blessed to have. This week, we get that chance. This week we are starting with a couple of empty rooms and turning them into a home, built on love and dreams, and also probably a little bit of fossilized baby food.
Moving can be a stressful event. But it is also just as beautiful an opportunity as many of the other events that life throws your way. Thank goodness stressful events can move you together just as easily as it can move you apart. As I mentioned in the beginning, some say that marriage is defined as a series of stressful events. But I think that a series of stressful events is what defines your marriage.