...Or a lack thereof. Strangely enough, weekends have been one of the biggest adjustments in the transition to married life. I anticipated the on-call weekends being busy, and barely having the chance to see Gil, but I figured the “off” ones would be more, well, weekend-y. You see, as a bureaucrat working in Ottawa, my weeks generally went like this:
Monday – Go to work doped up on coffee, grumbling about the work week starting.
Tuesday to Thursday – Trek through the reeds, all the while counting down the days 'til the weekend.
Friday – Hot dog! Happy times are here again! Get through 8 hours of work and then the time is all mine! (Okay, technically I know that it is God's time, but I still acted as though it was mine.)
Saturday to Sunday – Don't work. Ever.*
I don't think I realized until just now how much that cycle of building up to a weekend, then being disappointed at its brevity had made an imprint on me over five or so years. While I did like my job, I hung on to the guarantee that my weekends were for my own enjoyment, and also for getting all the stuff done that is put off when you are working full-time and busy with ministry and social activities during the week.
Even in the best of times, Gil has a tenuous grasp on weekends. He tends to spend a lot of Saturday catching up on sleep (something I am incapable of doing), and even when he's NOT on call, like last Saturday, he often goes in to check on patients. Even on Sundays, people call him to ask all kind of questions, and sometimes he is called in for urgent issues. To be honest, this was starting to bother me. Where was my weekend? I thought we were supposed to use these early months of our marriage to build memories and such. Now you're napping and I'm making Mandarin flashcards! Argh!
What I'm realizing more and more is that this is a problem of expectations. Namely, it is one thing for me to ask Gil to spend some time with me when he has days off, but it is another to ask him to ignore his needs to catch up on sleep as well as his work responsibilities. I certainly cannot expect him to know what I want to do and magically provide fun times just because he is not at work. If I continue to expect him to awake early-ish on Saturdays feeling well-rested and delighted to to go hit up museums or go furniture shopping, I will continue to be disappointed. Marriage is often about adjusting expectations to what God realistically has for us, so if weekends packed with crazy adventures are an idol based on a Hollywood movie, perhaps it is time to love the new normal and to settle in for the quieter joys of a Godly marriage.
Postlude: Interestingly, when this post was half-finished, I read this article, which really convicted me to examine my unrealistic expectations. I encourage you to go check it out!
*Okay, I'm slightly exaggerating. In truth, on many occasions I was on-call to go into work should a situation arise, but I never actually had to work.