Tag Archives: balance

A well balanced marriage

Balance

Something I always challenge myself in is finding ways to show Julia I love her.  Often, this results in some method of serving her…doing something so she doesn’t have to: unloading the dishwasher, putting Eli to bed when it’s “her turn”, cleaning the bathrooms, etc.  She does the same for me too.  When I come back from a business trip, she goes out of her way to have a nice home-cooked meal and family time.  She also takes care of me in ways I don’t think about or sometimes even realize (changing sheets & towels, grocery shopping, changing out my toothbrush…I’d probably be using a 4 year old brush if she didn’t do that).

All these things are great, but I think an important aspect of this is to keep balance in it.  I don’t mean being able to stand on one foot.  I mean…sharing the load, helping each other, and never doing too much of any one thing.  I wrote a post a while ago here about the importance of sitting down to discuss who is responsible for which jobs around the house.  I think this is a VERY important step to do.  You don’t want all work to fall on one person.  And you don’t want frustration to grow due to resentment or misunderstood expectations.  So, discussing this is critical.  But, even though you decide your wife is “responsible for” a given job, it is a good idea for you to pitch in every once in a while.

Julia is responsible for planning our meals.  But, every once in a while, I like to surprise her by planning something instead.  Maybe when she’s had a busy day I will suggest, “hey, why don’t we have ___ for dinner tonight?  I can run to the store after work, then will cook it while you relax…is that cool?”  Or when the trash is getting full and I haven’t taken it out yet (my job), she doesn’t hound me about it, she just takes it out herself.  But, she’s not bitter about it, she doesn’t grumble and complain, she just does it as a way to help ME out with my job.

Balance is important in ALL aspects of life.  Physical exercise is great.  But, if you do it every day at the expense of time with your family, it may not be so great.  Spending time with other guys is great, but if you do that more than spending time with your wife…not great.  Eating healthy is great, but I think I’d go crazy if I never had dessert again.  In the same way, you need to have balance at home.  Learn how to cook, do laundry, clean, take care of the kids, iron…even if you decide she’s the one who is responsible for it, if you know how, you can help from time to time.  Or if she’s sick, you can take over everything without missing a beat while she recovers.

My advice to you:

First, make sure you’ve had discussions about who does what in your family.  Then, guys, anything that is your wife’s “responsibility”, learn how to do it.  And pitch in from time to time so she doesn’t get burned out or feel overwhelmed.

Kid’s activity schedules…disrupting marriages since minivans were invented

IMG_5218Raising kids is tough.  I struggle all the time worrying about whether or not I’m missing opportunities to impact Eli’s life.  After work, sometimes I’ll do nothing but veg out, and think, “I should probably take this time to do something amazing with him.”  Or, I worry about missing seasons of sports thinking how he may “get behind” the other kids.  What’s difficult is that there is no instruction book for what’s right, and one parent’s perspective can differ greatly from another.

IMG_0383Part of being a good father, husband, employee, and person is learning to have balance in life.  I think too often we are pushed to center our lives around our kids.  Eli likes activities.  If given the chance to do it, he will want to play soccer…and baseball…and basketball…swimming…cub scouts…gymnastics…lacrosse…dancing…wrestling…tennis…and more.  Yikes…that’s a lot!  Even doing just a handful of these will keep us driving back and forth from one activity to another most nights of the week.  And we just have ONE child.  I can only imagine what it would be like when you have multiple kids with busy schedules.  As parents we try very hard to make sure Eli is not over-scheduled.  We have a loose rule that he can only be involved in one sport at a time.  If he wants to play baseball, that’s great…but he has to stop gymnastics.

IMG_1723I think the difficulty lies in wanting your child to have every opportunity to maximize their potential.  If they are physically gifted…you WANT to give them every chance to do their best.  If they are academically gifted…you WANT to do everything you can to help that grow.  We would be slighting our kids if we DIDN’T give them opportunities to grow if there is an area they are gifted and interested in.  The question is…how can you do that and maintain balance in life? 

I think it’s important to figure out what’s the point of being a kid?  Is it to train to become a professional athlete?  Is it to become a genius?  Let’s be honest…statistically speaking, (according to the interwebs) if 100 people read this article, around 10 will have a kid that goes on to play sports at college.  And out of 100 people, 0 will have kids that play professionally.  But out of 100 kids…ALL of them will become adults…and CLOSE to all of them will be married and have kids.  So I think it makes sense to focus the majority of our energy on developing these areas.

  • how to be a husband/wife
  • how to be a father/mother
  • how to be responsible with money
  • how to love God
  • how to make friends
  • how to love others

IMG_2242One of the dangers in putting TOO much of your time and energy into kid’s activities is that the rest of your life can suffer because of it…things like your marriage relationship, your personal health and well being, and your ability to impact other people with your life.  With no margin left in life, it can be easy for these things to fall by the wayside.

I definitely do not have this mastered.  And I’m not totally sure the ways I’ve tried to balance life IS what’s best.  But I think it’s something that is important to think about and make sure to keep in mind.

My challenge to you:

Don’t let your kids activities dominate your life.  Make sure to keep a balance.  Don’t neglect nurturing an interest or talent they have in something, but make sure the push to become great at an activity doesn’t take precedence over the push to become great at becoming an adult.IMG_1933

I love football more than my wife

Watching-football-on-TVOk guys, it’s that time of the year again!  Break out the cold drinks, chips, remote control , and the la-z-boy because it’s football season!  My favorite sport to watch all year is NFL football, and I get so excited when September comes around…as I know many of you men do too.  Even though I love it, and even though I cheer for my Falcons, Eagles, and Yellow Jackets, I believe there is a hidden downside that many people don’t recognize, and often don’t choose to care about.

Just like eating warm Krispy Kreme donuts, watching football can be a lot of fun.  However, if you don’t show restraint in how much you consume, you may find yourself dealing with other side effects that you didn’t want.  What I’m talking about is balance in life.  Let’s picture a guy who is WAY into his football watching.  Saturday, college football is on TV all day long.  Sunday, NFL is on all day long.  And of course, he can’t miss the Monday night game.  And oh…this week there is a Thursday game too.  Plus, don’t forget about all the ESPN update shows in the middle that analyze what’s happened and is going to happen.  Realistically, this can very easily add up to 25-30 hours of football watching per week!  So, outside of work, sleeping, commuting, and watching football, how much time is this guy devoting to meaningful conversation or activities with his wife and kids?  Probably not much…because there is not much left.

Now, most of you probably aren’t like this guy.  But, still I would venture a guess that MANY guys reading this will watch 1 maybe 2 games on a Saturday, 1 maybe 2 games on a Sunday, and maybe one more during the week.  That’s easily somewhere between 10 and 20 hours per week.  Again the question is…how much time is left for the family?

Now, don’t think I’m against football because I’m not.  Often I end up watching a LOT just because it’s there, and I love it.  Julia always rejoices though when February comes around and there is no more to watch.  Even if she’s partially joking about celebrating it being over, that means some part of her feels neglected during that time…and I hate that.  I think actions sometimes say something that we would never put into words.  And if I’m being honest, there are some weeks where my actions have spoken loud and clear to Julia telling her that I love football more than her.  And for me…that’s just not acceptable.

So, here’s my plan that I try to go by…  On any given day, I pick out which game I am most interested in and ONLY watch that one.  If she’s going to be gone, maybe I’ll watch more.  Or, if she’s going out that night, maybe I’ll TIVO a game and watch it when she leaves.  And I try to make a point of spending time with her and Eli whenever I can.

My challenge to you:

If you love watching football, think about how much time you spend doing it.  Think about what message it sends to your wife.  And evaluate if you need to change something up.  Remember what is important!  At the end of your life, are you more likely to think back and wish that you spent MORE time watching football?  Or are you more likely to wish you spent more quality time with your wife and kids?