Today I want to offer up a simple tip for creating family balance on the weekends. This is an idea my husband came up with as we were trying to navigate everyone’s different hopes and plans for what our weekends might look like. This, I must admit, was a contention in our marriage for quite some time. I don’t know why it took us so long to figure out this simple way to try and satisfy the needs and desires of everyone in our family.
If you were to ask me and my husband what we struggle with the most in marriage, we would both admit that it would be selfishness. In fact, I’d venture to guess that it can be the common thread to the breakdown in many marriages. We are a very individualist society. I want what I want. Marriage is dying to selfishness and thinking of the good of the other first, and it is so hard. It only becomes more of an intense need when kids enter the picture. I married at 30, which gave me a lot of time to establish my individuality and independence. Getting married and having kids has been a huge adjustment with me learning (slowly I might add) to die to self. This is not only part of the married life, but it is a part of the Christian life. The Bible says, “..that, in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.” – Ephesians 4:22-24. Entering into marriage and motherhood has been a refining process and teaching me what God really wants for my life. He wants me to be less selfish – for my own good, for the good of others and to His glory. It is hard and humbling, but I know it is helping me become a better person.
I’ve established the selfishness that follows us into our married and family life. The weekends became a time of contention because we all had our own hopes. My husband has a list of projects. I have a to-do list that is on the forefront of my mind. The kids have their own hopes and dreams for the weekend. Rather than finding a solution, we were in conflict for way too long.
How to Create Family Balance on the Weekends
The solution is so simple that I almost feel like an idiot for torturing ourselves for so long. The resolution? Make a list. It is that simple. What we do is grab a phone, piece of paper or white board and write down at least three things that each person would like to see happen over the weekend. Have each person set their priorities within that list. For example, I might have on my mind that I want to go on a run, fold all the laundry and get a couple hours to run errands without kids. I would number these as to which one is the top priority. My husband might have a list that includes washing his car, building something in the garage and going wake boarding with friends. The kids might want to do a craft, play a game, go on a bike ride as a family or watch a movie. We then make sure everyone gets their top priority fulfilled. If time allows, we move on to other items on the list. By communicating about this, recognizing the needs of the various family members and respecting these needs, we all feel like we have been heard and filled-up.
Sometimes the solutions to life’s daily struggles is staring us in the face. Rather than only thinking of self, we have to let go and let everyone in the family have a voice. Since adopting this strategy on the weekends that allow it, there has been much more internal and external peace in our family. I hope it helps your story too.