Monday, June 15, 2009

Down Time vs. Up Time

It seems like leisure time should be the least of anyone's worries when they get married. The assumption is that you will continue to hang out the same way you have always hung out while you were dating. For most married couples, that isn't the case...and in fact, finding down time that fits us both has been a struggle at times.

See, when we were living separately we had a lot of extra time away from one another to rest and relax in ways that best fit us. When we spent time together we were both coming in refreshed and with lots to give emotionally to our relationship. In some ways, the time that we spent apart from one another was just as important our time spent together. We didn't really give much thought to that when we got married and, again, just assumed all of the time spent together would be as fun as when we were dating.

Now though, because we live together and spend more time with one another it has been harder to find time to relax that is conducive to both of us.

For me, relaxing usually involves a screen - TV shows, movies, X-Box, computer, etc. It helps me turn my mind off and just be.

For Melissa, relaxing usually involves total quiet, a good book and maybe a nice bath.

Now I like reading and quiet at times but it doesn't normally relax me, instead it makes me think too much. My mind starts racing because I'm just "sitting" and I can't chill out. In the same way, Melissa enjoys a good movie and watching TV (still trying to get her to play X-Box with me...) but can only take so much before she has a headache.

Often times, we both get frustrated at each other when we are clashing with how to spend our time. Melissa gets mad that I always have to be "doing" something. I get frustrated because she doesn't want to do anything. The cycle goes on and on...but we both have specific needs for down time but just experience it differently.

In some ways, I think I would say Melissa needs down-time (not doing anything). I, on the other hand, need up-time (doing things that keep my mind quiet).

At first this was hard because we almost had an attitude that we needed to spend as much time together as possible but I think we are beginning to learn that alone time is so important at times. In fact, it actually helps our relationship because we are both able to put more into the time that we do have together because we are more refreshed and relaxed coming into it.

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Our goal of this blog is to share stories (both good and bad), thoughts and insights about our marriage and we would love for you to jump into the conversation.

The goal is to provide three things:
1) HOPE for struggling couples that they are not alone.
2) GROWTH in our marriages and our understanding of marriage.
3) ENCOURAGEMENT to keep loving your spouse unconditionally.