| Written By: Dewey Wilson, Ph.D.
Little children seem fearless in so many ways, mainly because most of the time they know no difference. For example, a while back our daughter, son-in-law and infant granddaughter showed up one Saturday morning to eat breakfast. Shortly after we prayed over the meal, we looked over and our grandbaby had shoved so many scrambled eggs into her mouth her cheeks resembled those of a chipmunk’s full of acorns. Our daughter leaped from her chair to remove a portion of the eggs in fear that our granddaughter would soon begin choking on the over-abundance of yard bird delight she had shoved into her mouth.
At the time, we weren’t sure if our grandbaby would choke on the eggs or Mom’s fingers entering her mouth at warp speed. Yet, after all the commotion died down, both parents and grandparents used the event as an opportunity to teach our grandbaby, and our grandbaby’s parents what can happen when we quickly pile too much stuff into something designed to hold smaller portions.
Interestingly, that situation also tends to describe many married couples in crisis that come into my office for counseling. Like our grandbaby, most of these couples are attempting to cram so many events into their schedules, they have little or no time to strengthen their marriage. After listening to them share what it takes to get kids to and from school, then dance, gymnastics, baseball, soccer or whatever else involves chasing something filled with air, I too am worn out. Oh, then all of the “grown up” activities get thrown into the mix.
Here, the greatest difference between the situation with our grand baby and most of the crazy schedules detailed by these married couples is our grandbaby truly didn’t know what to do differently. The majority of these married couples do!
One of the most effective things couples can do to maintain balance in their weekly schedules is keep an active calendar. For example, one where every family member participates in putting events on a single calendar that is placed in a central location in the home (i.e. refrigerator). Obviously, the parents are ultimately responsible to ensure all weekly events are recorded, but it is always good for children to get in the habit of knowing how their events impact each week’s schedule. Lastly, in addition to recording weekly events, it is equally important to discuss everyone’s events during a weekly family meeting. Lastly, keeping weekly calendars will also help you visually see when it is impossible to add another event into your weekly schedule and find new opportunities for spending time alone, which will help strengthen your marriage!
You may be saying to yourself, “Yeah right!” Well, here's something to consider. This concept typically sounds like a lot of work to those who have never tried it before. It’s important to remember we can never truly expect that which we choose to never inspect. If any of this describes you, why not give it a chance? Dollar to a doughnut, if you seriously make the effort, before long you will begin seeing more balance in your daily routines, instead of your over-filled schedules choking the life right out of your marriage.