Jill: You know, summer is one of my favorite seasons. The sun is out, I get to tend to my garden, and I love getting to enjoy time with our grandchildren while they are on school break.
Mark: I do as well. Along with summer, though, comes busy schedules, BBQs to attend, social obligations, and more. For families with children at home, summer can feel even busier than normal because parents have to juggle work and childcare, sports are often in full swing, and more. This can cause stress and miscommunication in our marriage around schedules and daily routines if we aren’t communicating well as a couple.
Jill: We’ve experienced that a time or two before! This is the case whether one spouse is working and the other is at home full-time, or both spouses go to work full-time. There are bound to be miscommunications and missed expectations about what the summer schedule will (or should) look like.
Mark: Another factor is that one spouse often tends to be more extroverted and the other will be introverted, so one spouse may prefer to stay home most days while the other spouse prefers to make as many social gatherings as possible over the summer.
Jill: Meshing together summer schedules and accounting for each spouse’s expectations and preferences is a challenging task! Add children and the slew of activities they are involved in to the mix, and it gets even more difficult to plan a schedule that takes advantage of these warmer days while still accounting for what your spouse needs.
Mark: Like most things in marriage, the best way to get on the same page with your spouse is to have a conversation! When in doubt, talk about it. In many ways, moving into the summer as a family is a big transition, so it requires unity, coordination, and some vision for what’s most important. As we have navigated this in our own marriage and counseled others on how to make the transition into a summer schedule, we’ve found that intentional time for a conversation about topics like these is most effective to avoid conflict or frustration. So here are some questions you can ask one another:
– How do you hope we spend our free time this summer?
– Are there any trips or activities we need to be saving up for?
– How can we prioritize connection in our marriage this summer?
– Are there any obligations that you wish we didn’t have on our family this summer?
– What does rest look like for you and how often do you need it?
– Are there any events or hobbies you would like to participate in this summer, and do you want me to be involved as well?
– Do we need to make any adjustments to make sure we are still connecting with God in the midst of our summer schedule?
Jill: Take some time to ask one another these questions and really listen to your spouse’s responses. What surprises you? What do you need to adjust within your own expectations based on what’s important to them? Are there adjustments you need to make in your plans to account for what your family really values over the summer? There are no right or wrong answers so long as you are taking the time to openly communicate with one another, match your expectations to reality, and coordinate your schedule as needed.
Mark: I know we have benefitted from taking the time to get on the same page before planning out our summer schedule. It leads to us spending more time connecting with one another, and with our family as a whole.
What about you? How do you and your spouse stay on the same page during the transition to the summer months? Leave a comment below!
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