Since we bought our house last year, I have been begging Chris to paint the outside of it. It’s this terrible peach color. Like, bridesmaids dress peach. And it has burgundy trim. It is the definition of an eye sore. We have worked on the yard and it looks much better than when we first moved it, and that has helped the curb appeal a bit. But until it is painted, I will continue to think of our house as “our big ol’ ugly house.”
Chris had three excuses for not painting it.
A) He needed time. It is too expensive for us to hire someone to paint it for us, so he is going to have to do it himself. Which is fine. He has all the equipment to do that. But he was going to have to do it in phases, which meant he needed several consecutive weekends at home with nothing on the schedule.
B) He needed money. That much paint for a house as big as ours does not come cheap.
C) He needed cooler weather. Doing anything outside in the Florida heat is awful, but painting a house would have been miserable.
Well, lo and behold, the stars have all aligned and all of those problems have been solved! We are looking pretty good on our schedules until Thanksgiving, we’ve been saving for this project for a couple months, and the temperature finally dropped into the 70s this weekend! PERFECT! Chris’s time had come…
But all week, Chris complained about what a terrible week he was having at work. I figured this was his attempt to get out of painting the house, so I just kind of nodded my head while he talked and then told him that maybe giving him something to do would help take his mind off of it. Something like painting the house…
So, Friday I dropped the kids off at my mom’s house for the weekend to give Chris and I a couple days to begin our massive project.
We made plans to use a gift card for a nice date night dinner out on Friday after I got back from my mom’s. We had a great time! It was a really nice dinner with several courses, lots of wine, candles on the tables, and delicious food. Our reservation wasn’t until 9:00, so we parked ourselves at the bar for a while and chatted while we waited.
(Sorry this picture is so dark. I took it with my super awesome iPhone photography skills in the bar…)
While we talked, Chris started explaining in detail about what all had happened at work this week. It was the first time in a while that we’d been table to have an uninterrupted conversation without children hanging off of us, and I could instantly tell as he spoke that this was really bothering him. When our table was ready, we were seated and enjoyed a really long two-hour meal, while Chris continued talking about his job. It was really weighing on him, and it was nice to be able to hear him get some of that off his chest.
I’m not sure if it was the wine or the conversation, but by the end of the meal, I told Chris that he was off the hook for painting the house this week. Clearly, he needed some down time. This was not the time for him to begin tackling another project. That’s one of the things I love about our marriage. Chris and I both work really hard to make sure that coming home is relaxing and positive for the other. Neither of us want our partner to come home after a long day to a house or family that just makes even more demands. So to ask him to take on a this big project after the kind of week he had had would have been really insensitive.
So, we took the weekend off.
Saturday morning, I actually got up and went running (gasp!) and let Chris sleep until 10:30. Then we went grocery shopping together without the kids, and it was actually a lot of fun. It reminded me of when we were first married and we went grocery shopping together every week. Saturday afternoon we laid around watching football and eating nachos I made out of leftover tacos.
Late that afternoon, we had big plans. We headed up to Chris’s theater to see the show that had given him so many problems this week. It was nice for him to be able to see the finished product of something that he had worked so hard on. I pointed out that the audience was full of children with their families, and that because he had worked so hard this week, all these children were exposed to theater and art. I think that made him feel a little better about it.
After the show, we headed out to this big park in front of the theater for a concert in the park by the Orlando Philharmonic. Chris’s theater was celebrating it’s 10th anniversary (which they called their birthday since they are a theater for young audiences and little kids have birthdays instead of anniversaries… I love that!). We sat up our chairs and blankets with some of our friends, and we pulled out (several) bottles of wine, platters of cheese and crackers, fruit, cheese straws, and other little snack items and we all had a blast while the sun set and we waited for the concert to begin.
Chris introduced me to a ton of important people from all over Orlando that he works with, and we enjoyed seeing people from church, from work, and from a lot of areas of our life all in one place. I was really proud of Chris, and as the night went on and the music played and he relaxed, I think he was even a little proud of himself.
Sunday we slept in, went to late church, and went out to lunch to this place where we’d always wanted to go but wasn’t very kid friendly. Then we came home and helped each other with some chores before packing up and heading out to get the kids. It was really a perfect weekend.
Sometimes I forget how important spouses are to each other. If I don’t give Chris a break at home, who will? Where will he go to relax and regroup? There are so many roles that partners play in each others lives. We motivate, encourage, push, support, and cheer on the sidelines. But sometimes our job is also to be the safe place to rest. The place where no demands are made, no expectations are set, and no deadlines loom. I’m glad I got to be that for Chris this weekend. It was good for both of us.