Over the past couple of years, I have really developed my organizational routine. I’m not saying I’m perfect, but it’s definitely an improvement from where I was when I began. I have created systems that work for my routine. I have have set my days and my weeks up to promote productivity. I don’t like having wasted time. I make the most of my commute by listening to podcasts, learning something new or improving myself in some way. If it were up to me, every minute of the day would be scheduled out in advance, and everything would go according to that plan.
But that’s not reality. My husband is the complete opposite of me. He is spontaneous. He likes to do things spur of the moment. He doesn’t schedule things and doesn’t make lists. He’s literally the opposite of me. For a long time, this caused some strife in our relationship. I had this perfect world on paper. I knew what was supposed to be done on a certain day. My husband would begin the day with “let’s go on a hike” or some other random thing we should do. That didn’t fit into my schedule. I hadn’t scheduled that in. It caused me a lot of anxiety at first. Something had to change. They’re had to some middle ground, some sort of compromise.
Organization is something that should improve your life. It’s supposed to be something that makes your life easier and more productive. It should never be something that destroys relationships or complicates a marriage. It’s not in my nature to just release my organization habits. My mind would be in chaos if I tried to just “go with the flow”. So my husband and I sat down and came up with a compromise. Here’s what we did:
We Communicate in advance about my schedule: If I have a weekend where I’ve already decided I’m going to be working on a project, or had something I wanted to do, I make sure that I communicate that in the days before. That way there isn’t any surprise or miscommunication when that day arrives and he wants to be spontaneous.
I Don’t plan every moment: When I scheduled every single weekend, my husband would get discouraged, almost as though I didn’t want to spend time with him, because I was always coming up with projects or things that needed to be done. So I make sure that at least some of my personal time is “not scheduled” or if it is, it’s something that we both want to do. I know this sounds a lot like “planning to be spontaneous”, and it kind of is. But hey, it’s a compromise!
He is “planning” a little more: My husband has started a bullet journal and he is able to write down things that need to get done throughout the day. He also uses it to write down things like doctor’s appointments or things he needs me for. Once a week, we’ve started sitting down together and going over the upcoming week. This helps us communicate ahead of time and eliminates the “Oh, hey we have this thing tomorrow, your schedule needs to be completely changed for the day”.
I’m embracing a little spontaneity: I realize that a lot of my need to schedule things is because of my anxiety. I like being able to check off things and put everything in a nice little box. Spontaneity causes me to have anxiety because I can’t do these things. But if I can be aware of that and manage that, then I can keep my anxiety at bay.
This week has been a perfect example of letting a little spontaneity happen in order to put my marriage first. Fridays are normally my night in the office. That’s usually the night that I catch up on stuff going into the weekend, and get some writing and planning done for the next week. But when I came home from work Friday night, my husband had planned out a date for that evening (which is very different for him. Remember, he’s not a planner). Despite it being my scheduled night to work, I let all of that go and fully embraced this date night. I didn’t think about the blog post that should’ve been going up that night (this post, which is why it’s getting posted late). And guess what. It was a really enjoyable evening.
I’m still trying to work all this stuff out. I’m by no means an expert on this subject. But I’m writing to talk about what’s working in my marriage. There are still bad days. Days when I get super frustrated at my husband because he can’t understand my scheduling processes and needs. But I’m working on it. I’m not saying I’ll ever be perfect at this. In fact, that’ll probably never happen. But as long as I’m making progress, and he’s meeting me somewhere in the middle, we can make it work.
Are you more of a planner than your spouse or partner? Or is it the other way around? What are your methods for making the dysfunction work?