Every couple of months, Collin and I manage to convince our wives that it is right and proper that we go to the German biergarten on a Saturday to drink ourselves happy, eat peanuts, and play board games. His wife taxis us there and back so we don’t even have to worry about driving. She is fantastic.
As Collin put it 2 beers in…
I am completely relaxed right now.
No place else to be, no responsibilities, nothing else to be done right now except play this game and drink this beer. Sigh.
So I guess this post is about the importance of getting a break once in awhile. Whether you’re into board games or banjo or woodworking or whisky, we all need the opportunity to get away and do our thing. Cultivating a collaborative relationship with your spouse or significant other in this regard will serve you both well in life.
I grew up in a family where the scales were decidedly tipped and one person got to have more of the fun. Witnessing first hand the sort of bitter resentment that grows from this kind of imbalance convinced me that I need to make sure to keep the scales balanced in my marriage.
If we’re not both having fun, we’re doing it wrong.
So whenever I start to feel like I’ve been having more fun lately than my wife, a sort of guilty conscience alarm kicks in and I double back to make sure:
- That she’s OK
- That we’re OK
- That she has opportunities to get some personal time, soon.
- That she takes those opportunities.
Quite often it means I need to step up my efforts around the house or take the kids somewhere (anywhere!) by myself so she can have some quiet time without toddlers clawing at her for attention. But that’s just the superficial stuff. I should be doing that all the time, regularly.
If all she’s craving is time to herself in a quiet house when I know she has hobbies and interests she’s been wanting to pursue, that tells me that she really needs a break. Sometimes I need to be a little more assertive in my encouragement for her to go play, have a girls’ night out, get her nails did, whatever.
I got to have a lot of fun on Saturday, but it’s not just about me. It’s about balance. So after we left the biergarten we took our kids and wives camping. (Well, Collin’s wife camped. Mine drove home at 10pm to be with our 1.5 year old and to free up the babysitter).
So my wife still had to run around and shuttle kids and arrange a babysitter to make all of that happen, and she did it all in stride because she’s awesome and I love her to pieces. But just like in board games, you take turns, and now it’s her’s.