A few days ago, my husband and I had to get up quite early to finish a project that had to be done by 7:00am. Generally, we do things like that in the evening, since my hubby much prefers nights over mornings. We were too tired the night before, however, and had to get it done, so waking up early was the only option. When we finished with the project we were doing, we had a bit more time in our morning that we usually do, so we decided that it would be fun to go to breakfast together. I love going out to breakfast, but since my husband is not much of a morning person, we generally do not, so it was quite a treat for me!
As we were at breakfast, talking and laughing and planning and having a spectacular time, I started to wonder, why do we not do this when we are eating at home? Meals at home are generally fairly quiet and short, without much talking or laughing. My first thought was that it was my husband's fault (way to give him the benefit of the doubt and examine myself before blaming others, right?). I figured that he must not really enjoy talking with me and instead would rather be doing something else, on Facebook or reading the news or something.
So I asked him, "Why do we never talk and hang out this much when we eat at home?" His answer was absolutely unexpected, yet so true. "Because you are always doing something," he says. Wow. I knew that he was right, and was rather humbled by having that pointed out to me. I had not noticed, but most of the time when we are at home, I really am up doing something. As soon as we finish eating, I take the dishes and start cleaning the kitchen while he checks his email or reads the news. I get annoyed when he starts doing something on his phone as soon as we finish eating, but I was not realizing that I am actually the first to check out of our time together by busying myself with things that need to get done.
I love hanging out with my husband, talking and laughing, planning adventures and goofing off. But when we do not do much hanging out, I have a tendency to blame him for caring more about the news or phone calls than me. It turns out that I inhibit time together as much (or even more) than he does by my constant need to be doing something productive.
To have a growing relationship, spending time together is important, but that cannot be done if I am too preoccupied with getting the house clean or being productive to just sit and be together. If I do not take the time to simply be with my husband, even when there are things that could be done, we will be restricted to hanging out only when we are at restaurants or coffee shops. (Which is a bummer when you do not have much spending money.)
I realize now that if I want to spend time with my husband without always spending money and going out to do so, I need to be intentional about taking the time. My relationship with my husband is more important than getting the dishes done, more important than doing laundry, more important than making gourmet meals. If I cannot do it all (which I rarely can), I need to let something else slide--not investing time into my relationship with my husband. Dishes will always be dirty and clothes will always need to be washed, but I only have so much time with my husband. May I be intentional about it and take the time.