Wednesdays used to be one of the hardest days of the week for me to get through. One of those reasons is that it’s one of my husband’s long work days. There are many other days throughout each month when my husband has long work days, and it’s not as big of a struggle. The problem with the “long-work-day Wednesday” is that my husband working late was inevitable and unchangeable. I’m the type of person that likes consistency except when I perceive it to be something I have no control over. Then I fight it. I may not immediately outwardly protest it, but I inwardly protest it.
I’m an introvert. Ordinarily, I enjoy my alone time…when I choose to be alone.
The long-work-day Wednesday existed even before my son was born. It felt like forced alone time. Even though my son is now with me, my thoughts and feelings about Wednesdays never changed. I would habitually awaken in this melancholic state of mind that hindered my ability to be productive.
On Thursdays, my husband would come home before dinner. I would anticipate having an enjoyable evening with my beloved oblivious to the fact that my despondent mood on Wednesday would have a snowball effect into Thursday. I can’t tell you how many times our conversations would quickly turn sour and the enjoyable evening I had longed for never became a reality. Time and again, I’d be left wondering what went wrong. Perhaps all of my inward protesting on Wednesday became outward protesting during my interactions with my husband, and I was unaware I was doing it. The subtle changes in my tone of voice from sweet to annoyed and the shifts in my body language from open to guarded conveyed the message that he wasn’t welcomed home because he forced me to be alone the day prior. I think in addition to holding that against him, I would be upset that he didn’t recognize this and didn’t overcompensate when we were together by putting aside all of his needs in order to meet all of my needs.
Passively pouting, criticizing my husband over petty issues, acting needy, and dwelling on what I can’t control are my childish ways of dealing with the parts of life I don’t like such as long-work-day Wednesdays. None of those behaviors help me get what I truly want. They actually do the exact opposite by creating distance and animosity with my husband whose primary role is not to meet all of my needs.
I may not have control over the fact that my husband works long hours sometimes, but I definitely have control over my thoughts and behaviors. One of the first books I’ve finished reading this year is The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg. I started thinking about how I can incorporate some of my smaller goals for 2015 into my daily life in an attempt to form new habits. My hope is to start out with little things in order to gain the confidence I need to work on changing the more difficult habits.
This past Christmas day, my son and I awoke with influenza. We didn’t even open gifts until 2pm on Christmas day. Every muscle in my body ached so deeply I couldn’t even sleep, so one of my husband’s remedies was to draw me a bubble bath because he does, in fact, do many loving things for me to meet my needs. There’s something so amazingly soothing to me about water. Even though I was terribly ill, I remember thinking about how incredibly relaxing it felt. It was then I resolved to take a lot of baths in 2015.
All through January I explored and experimented with weaving my New Year’s goals in with my daily life. Four out of the five Wednesdays of 2015 up until this point, I’ve taken a bubble bath. My son only takes a nap like once or twice a week now, and so on days when he doesn’t nap, he is easily asleep by 7:15pm……freedom!!
I began changing my entire attitude about long-work-day Wednesdays. Now I look forward to my Wednesday evening alone. While my husband works hard to provide for us and my son sleeps comfortably in his bed, I choose to meet some of my own emotional needs. I take a very long, deep, hot, bubble bath. While I’m soaking away the stress of my day, I watch video clips from this online community by Jeanne Oliver called Becoming: The Unfolding of You. It’s a free 8 week study on finding your identify in Christ. Women from all over share their powerful testimonies of how God has worked in their lives. As I listen to these stories week after week, I realize how much I yearn for that kind of wisdom and experience from older women and have always yearned for that.
A couple of weeks ago I wrote a post using this scripture verse: “When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me.” 1 Corinthians 13:11
The maturing adult in me tells me to focus on what I can control, so I’ve turned the long-work-day Wednesday into a much anticipated Worthwhile Wednesday. I am finding healthier ways of meeting my owns needs like taking a relaxing bath to soothe my restless spirit, warm my lonely heart grown cold, and editing my thoughts with positive, faith-affirming wisdom from other women.
When my husband comes home, I can welcome him home instead of punish him. It’s painful to acknowledge these truths, but it’s helpful to have this insight and acknowledge I have the ability to change it. I have to work on intentionally identifying the situations when I mistakenly place my husband in a parental role. God has provided me with this revelation in order to bring healing and restoration to me, my husband, and our marriage, and I have to rely on faith that God will provide me with the strength and wisdom to make worthwhile choices in the future.