Cleaning was important growing up in a Latin household. I remember one time my grandmother came to visit me from Colombia, and one of her first questions was, “Are you keeping the house clean for your husband?” I hate to admit it, but sometimes I can be a total slob. My husband is not one to shy away from doing chores. On the contrary, he is a total neat freak – like Danny Tanner from Full House neat freak, but on steroids.
To give you some examples:
a) Nobody is allowed in our house without taking their shoes off.
b) We have “indoor” and “outdoor” shoes. So if you walk outside, say to get the mail, you must put your outside shoes on and then come back in to the house and put your “indoor” shoes back on.
c) My husband’s best friend is Clorox wipes.
d) I’m banned from doing laundry, because he has his own methodical way of doing it (and maybe I once turned his socks pink).
Okay, I could probably go on and on, but I won’t. (For your sake, but also for his, in case he’s reading this.) This whole cleaning thing started to become a bit strenuous when it came to our marriage but the other day, I had a little epiphany. I met a girlfriend for dinner, and during our conversation she started telling me about her neat freak boyfriend — it was as if she was describing my husband. “Could they be twins? Separated at birth?” I thought to myself.
“What’s your solution?!” I cried.
Her answer was simple. She said, “I just simply try not to do the things that I know bother him. For example, he hates it when I leave dirty plates on the dinning table, so I just take it to the sink.”
I thought about it, and realized how much easier all of our marriages would be if we simply didn’t do the things that bothered our partner. Of course, nobody is perfect, and I’m all about chores being 50/50 in our household, but we can at least try to make more of an effort to satisfy our significant others, right? Some of the things we argue about, like throwing out the trash each night, can simply be avoided by (you guessed it!) throwing out the darn trash!
I read this really great book called The 5 Languages of Love, which talked about request lists. It’s called a request list because requests give direction to love, but demands to stop the flow of love. In this list, my husband jotted down 3-4 things where I could help around the house. I did the same thing.
My husband’s list looked something like this:
1. Throw out the baby’s dirty diapers each night.
2. Empty out the dishes from the drying rack.
3. After I do laundry, it would be helpful if you folded the clothes.
My list looked something like this:
1. Help me vacuum the house once a week.
2. Wash the dogs once a month.
3. When I bathe the baby at night, help me put away all of his toys.
These requests might seem simple, but it has still helped our marriage so much. It’s also helped me become more of a tidy person. Oh, and we also got a cleaning lady to come once every 2 weeks! Thank you, Lord!
Are you married to a neat freak or is it the other way around? I’d love to hear any tips you might have.
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