Just this morning I sat and lamented to the Lord that I was feeling overwhelmed with all of life’s activity and the fact that I hadn’t had two seconds to sit and have a meaningful conversation with my husband in four days.
My love language is quality time, and I don’t mean quality time as in lying asleep next to one another for six to eight hours a night; I mean the eye-to-eye, deep conversation, uninterrupted quality time that is nourishment to my soul. I am rarely, if ever, satisfied with a quick ten minute phone call from my husband on his way home from work while my four little people run circles around me and dinner burns in the oven as I try to move the fourth load of laundry from the washer to the dryer.
My husband, Jason, and I have been in full time ministry for 10 years now. It really doesn’t matter how much extra we have in our lives: kids, extra curricular, etc. because we each live our own reality and whether one child or four, full time ministry or marketplace, we all seem to struggle with time management. Every single one of us, are all given the same 24 hours per day to accomplish the tasks we desire. For Jason and I, managing our time together has never been easy. We both know the importance of it and yet struggle with the application of it. We are entirely committed to one another and to our marriage and because of that fact, we can neglect the “marriage fires” knowing that at some point, we will have opportunity to stop, reconnect and refocus before resuming the craziness once again. But knowing that there are some practical and relatively easy things we can implement can make the connection points a little more frequent, a little more purposeful, and a little more rewarding.
- Open and Assertive Communication
If you’ve been around Family Greenhouse for any amount of time, you probably won’t be surprised that my first tip for effective time management among ministry couples is, communication. For couples who live lives at warp speed, it is positively critical that the lines of communication remain open and that assertive communication is practiced. One example of how to make this happen occurs every Sunday night in the Duke house.
Every Sunday night, Jason and I sit down with our calendars and we compare notes. We talk about the week ahead and ensure that we are both aware of upcoming events that will directly affect our family, involve one or both of us and plan accordingly. We seek to have at least one evening a week where we have nothing “extra” going on so we are able to eat dinner as a family, go through an evening routine with our kids, and allow time for Jason and I to connect with one another after the kids are in bed. Now, through the blessing of technology, we always try to share our calendars with one another when adding a new event to the week when we’re not physically next to one another to communicate to.
I can assure you that as a Type A personality, nothing chaps my hide more than being surprised with an event I knew nothing about and that didn’t make it on the calendar. I can tell you countless stories in our early days of ministry when Jason would call on his way home from work to inform me that Mr. Jack and Ms. Jill would be arriving at the house shortly and would I mind setting an extra couple of plates out. Mr. Jack and Ms. Jill would arrive and thank me profusely for having them over for dinner and how much they appreciated Jason extending the invitation LAST WEEK!! We have improved our communication tremendously over the years. Every now and then we still run into issues, but we are much more assertive in our communication, and Jason seeks to keep a happy wife by informing me of our dinner guests on the day he extends the invitation rather than 30 minutes before they arrive.
Stay tuned for Part 2…