Navigating Major Schedule Changes in Marriage

If you follow me on Instagram, you’ve seen my posts and stories using the hashtag #refereewifelife. I use that when I accompany my husband to a lacrosse game that he’s officiating, usually in a pretty location in Tennessee or the Carolinas. Traveling with him and turning those work trips into fun road trips is the highlight of #refereewifelife.

What you don’t see are the 3-5 nights a week during the school year that I eat supper by myself, clean up the kitchen and then reheat the leftovers for Paul several hours later. Because he works a day job in addition to his referee career, he is in bed not long after he eats supper and catches up with me for a few minutes.

There are lots of wives who live with less than ideal schedules, who attend functions alone and who reheat leftovers at 9 PM. It becomes our normal and we get used to it! Here’s the part of #refereewifelife that I want to talk about today – it’s the end of the school year and all the games are over. Suddenly, my husband is home every night for supper and all day on Saturday!

It’s great, right? Of course it is! But it’s also challenging. Summer is the exception. The rest of the year I quickly settle into my #refereewifelife routine, even though I certainly miss having him around.

I know I’m not alone. There are so many situations that might cause you to be in a similar plight – the end of graduate studies, a schedule change that puts him on day shift instead of nights, a wonderfully safe return from deployment or even a life change like retirement!

How can we graciously handle these major schedule changes? I am not the expert on this topic, but here are two things that have helped me over the last several years of #refereewifelife –

#1 Take a moment to celebrate the change

This will look different for every situation, but here are a few ideas:

  • Make his favorite dessert or meal
  • Go out for dinner – on an intimate date or with family and friends to celebrate
  • Plan a fun weekend getaway to reconnect (especially if you’ve been apart for a while)
  • Take a day off from your regular routine to just hang out together at home, to run errands or to reorganize

I think this helps to establish that his reappearance in your daily life/routine/evenings is something to be celebrated!

Rearranging schedules, getting used to sleeping together again, filling the fridge with enough groceries to accommodate more people at home during the day – those things can seem to be annoyances. Starting it out with a celebration creates a happy environment in which to tackle those challenges.

#2 Stick to your regular schedule

Every time that Paul is suddenly home every night, I struggle with this. He obviously has less to do around the house than me (and that’s fine – I’m the homemaker!), so he has more time to watch TV and relax on the couch. I try to take care of my chores quickly so that we can spend time together, but it also doesn’t hurt to let him see me in action as I do all the things.

I’ve found that it’s best to just stick with my regular schedule and let him settle into his own routine. I want his time at home to be pleasant and not chaotic, and my routine helps me to keep our in home in order.

What is your experience with a situation like this? I would love to hear from you! Please tell me how you make those transitions easier for your family. I know there are so many of us that are in this boat at one time or another. Let me know your advice, questions or struggles!


12 thoughts on “Navigating Major Schedule Changes in Marriage

  1. First time here from The Generous Wife Blog. I can so relate with having to adjust my schedule around my husband. He retired a year ago and with me, being a writer, I realized there wasn’t time for me to write anymore. Or when there was time the interruptions would break my concentration making it very frustrating. I found myself getting angry at him. I realized he couldn’t read my mind and I needed to talk with him about it. We came up with one day a week that is all mine to write. It has helped tremendously.
    Another thing, my husband has always managed people. When he no longer had that, he began managing me and my time. It was quite the challenge and made for many conflicts between us—until we sat down and talked about it.
    I am concerned for the wives who have no idea about these challenges that come with retirement and who already struggle with communication. We often say that if you can communicate well you can work through any challenge in marriage. It’s great that you have opened up the discussion here.
    Thank you!


    1. Hi Debi! Thanks so much for coming over from Lori’s post (I love her!)! I’ve seen just in the response to my post how difficult retirement can be for wives. If you’ve written about this topic, I would love to share that post with my readers! My word of the year is “communicate,” and as you said I am learning how valuable communication is to a healthy marriage. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Summer always brings a different, less scheduled, more flexible routine to our house. I do what you do – stick to my regular routine with the kids and then add my husband into plans when we can. It works for us. I’d like to try to add in more date nights, quiet time together and intentional family time this Summer.


  3. I am in the same boat as Arlene Grimm. My husband retired 20 years ago and life has never been the same. No routines in this house anymore and I really miss that. He has a lot of outside activities he participates in and I admit I enjoy my time at home when he is gone.


  4. Thanks for your story and advice, Whitney. My husband is a nurse, so we’ve been on different ends of the spectrum with his schedule and career during our whole marriage. He has always routinely worked 3-4 days (or nights) per week and is always gone about 15 hours per day (or night). He has worked both night shift and day shift. The two big areas that I’ve always based around his schedule (whether it’s night shift or day shift) are cleaning and menu planning. That’s been a huge help. He was on night shift when we first got married (that was very hard… since I worked normal daytime hours, I didn’t see him during the day OR night!). But, he was blessed to get a job on day shift after we had our first baby. I became a stay at home mom at the same time, and it’s worked out great. The days when he is gone are long, but then my son and I have a lot of quality time with him when he’s home. Those couple long days by ourselves are worth having him home a couple days and getting to do all kinds of things together as a family.


    1. Thanks for sharing your experience, Colleen! Night shift really makes it interesting, doesn’t it? I’ve never had to navigate that one. I’m so glad you’re in a season with a manageable schedule!


  5. Retirement was a game changer for us. Having your husband home 24/7 takes some getting used to as well. You know how you and I love our schedules…lol Part of adjusting to retirement for me is letting go of my routine. And that has been hard but I am slowly adjusting. If M says “Do you want to go to the library with me?” I just drop what I am doing and I go along. I will admit to enjoying days where he is gone to have lunch with his old work friends in Huntsville and I have the house to


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