Looking through old photographs this afternoon, I encountered this one. Oh, my, I remember this day well. Very, very, very well.
I was SO MAD at Michael. So, so, so, so very mad.
He had woken up early that Saturday morning to get the car's oil changed. And then he came back to put gas in mine. Then he was off to the Home Depot to get who-knows-what. And after that, he spent something crazy like 6 hours in our backyard. Six. Total. Hours.
I watched him the whole time through my kitchen widow. He was working hard while I did the dishes. He was working hard while I prepared and served lunch. He was still working hard when I cleaned up. And he was still at it when I returned to the kitchen for an afternoon snack.
He cleaned our house gutters. He removed huge branches from the top of our garage. He raked leaves. He pulled massive weeds. He moved our deck furniture to the garage. He mowed the lawn and chopped up leaves. He brushed the sidewalk. And then he used the noisy leaf blower thingie.
Can you believe the reason why I was so mad at him? I was jealous of the cars, that hardware store, and--more than anything--the foliage in our backyard. They were getting his attention, the attention I so desperately wanted.
I remember blowing a gasket when he stepped in the door. He had long ago missed lunch and he was probably well past dinner at this point, too. And my outrage totally caught him off guard.
I laugh about it now, thinking of him stepping over the threshold, expecting my praises for a job well done and me giving him anything but that. Michael takes pride in his yard work and appreciates my compliments, and that day he didn't get a single one of them. Instead, we had a full-blown fight. Yuck.
But much good came of it. This experience was a growing pain of marriage. We hashed it out and talked it through; and, by the next day, we had established a routine that we now treasure and look forward to every single week. Yes, it is THAT important to us.
Every Thursday night, as part of our State of the Marriage Union Address, we discuss our "expectations of the weekend." We ask ourselves: What will we do? When will we do it? How much time will we spend doing it? And the questions pertain to everything, from errands to household chores, family time together, and time we share together as a couple alone.
It helps me to know when I can plan on receiving his full attention and when his attention (and mine) rightfully need to go to something else. :)
Thank you, Yard Work Picture, for reminding me how blessed I am to have a hard-working husband...and how far we've come in learning to communicate well!