14 years ago, when my husband and I first Married, I was VERY excited for our first Christmas together. We didn’t have a ton of money- I think we had a budget of like $30 each. I came up with the BEST idea for a christmas present for him…or so I thought. He loved to sit at the library and look through “Sports Illustrated” while I book-browsed (a favorite hobby of mine). So I thought a subscription was the perfect gift! After all, that’s what the TV commercials tell you, right? Well I was wrong. He was underwhelmed at best, and promptly asked me to cancel the subscription and get my money back. He said he just didn’t have time to read magazines and wasn’t interested. I was crushed! I felt like I was getting him a gift that showed him I knew him so well, and yet…I really didn’t! The truth is, I’m still figuring out this amazing man I married, and every single year at christmas I am stymied at what I should get for him! I have bought the token leatherman tool, ties, tool-kit, dremel (still largely unused) and other “man-toys” that seem to interest him. But this year I wanted to do more. I love this amazing man more than life itself, and I wanted to show him that by giving a gift that was more than just a package tied up under the tree.
So this year I am giving him the gift of change
Yep! I have spent the last 22 days changing myself for the man I love. It’s been really REALLY hard work, and there were times I really wanted to quit, or give up. And there were times when I have failed miserably to live up to what I had set out to do. But now, looking back on the month- I know that I have become a better person. I have given up a weakness, in order to show love to the man I married. And I am so excited to tell him all about it!
I will caution you that some may view this post as detrimental to the modern woman. “We shouldn’t HAVE to change”, or “He should love us just as we are…” But the truth is, marriage is about love, and growing up together. It’s not about being the perfect person…it’s about BECOMING the perfect person for your spouse. If more of us focused on being what our spouse wants, and less on making them what WE want, well I really think marriages would be easier to navigate. Mostly though, this post is about MY particular struggle, and how I worked to change it. I am not trying to argue down feminist ideals, or challenge the notion that women should be valued differently, etc etc. I am simply sharing my story.
So…True confessions here. I am a horrible “housekeeper”
I purposefully use that 1950’s term here, to describe my particular responsibility over the care of daily tasks inside my home. Cleaning up, laundry, dishes, sweeping, etc. In the roles my husband and I have chosen, these tasks primarily fall to me, as a stay-at-home mom, to delegate. That doesn’t mean I am supposed to do it all myself, but it means I have that responsibility. And I am horrible at it. It’s just the plain and bitter truth. I am GREAT at many things. Great Mom, Cook, Carpool Driver, Woodworker, Seamstress, Painter, Plumber, Floor Layer, etc etc etc. I have helped re-shape this home of ours, and my fingerprints are everywhere and im really proud to say that I don’t need to call the Phoenix plumbing services when there is a small fix to be made. But I am awful at keeping the laundry done, the floor swept, and the clutter under control. I will set something by the front door and leave it there for 2 weeks, until my husband picks it up and says “where does this go?”. Sometimes the laundry piles up on my laundry room floor for so long that I honestly can’t remember which is clean and which is dirty. And I make excuses for my children who follow my example of just leaving thier junk wherever they drop it. I get over-tired and so I don’t clean up small messes…and then quickly they become HUGE messes and I just can’t face it, so I don’t. It’s a vicious cycle.
Before we were married, my husband waited in the hallway while I ran into my bedroom to grab something one day. When I turned around I was surprised to see a look of total horror on his face. My room looked like a tornado had exploded in it (seriously…it did). And when I got a peek into his room on another occasion I noticed hospital corners on his bed, and everything precicely folded in neat little rows. He owned very little (as compared to the boxes of junk I had accumulated that were ABSOLUTELY necessary to my survival). It was clear that some changes would have to be made. And in truth, I have worked very hard to keep things cleaner, and he has worked very hard to overlook my insanity. However adding four kids, and a lot of STUFF into the mix, hasn’t made keeping the house clean any easier for me.
Honest to goodness- my husband rarely, if ever, complains about this mess. But people…he COLOR CODES his closet. Everything he owns has a specific place and when things aren’t where they belong it makes him crazy. He handles the crazy REALLY well, but I can see it. I know when he gets home in the evening after a long day at work, and sees dirty dishes stacked on the counter, blocks strewn across the floor, clothes stacked on the couch that have fallen over, and papers EVERYWHERE, that he cringes inside.
And here is the bitter reality. I have created an atmosphere in our home where my husband can’t feel comfortable. He tries, and he fakes it, and he helps clean up without complaint, no matter how tired he is…but I feel his frustration and how tired of the mess he is. I want home to be a place where he can be happy, feel rested, and know that he is valued.
So I decided to give him a gift this christmas, that he could enjoy all month long, and continue to enjoy ever after. I knew if I wrapped up a package and said “I’m going to become a better housekeeper”. That I would MEAN well, and he would smile and think “yeah…right” on the inside- but neither of us would really believe it. So I decided to spend the whole month of December working on this gift, and surprise him with it on Christmas Day.
Tomorrow I will share with you my plan, and how I approached achieving the goals that I set. But for now, I challenge you to ask yourself…What can I do to change myself for my husband, and become better for him. I chose to use it as a christmas present, but who says it couldn’t be a year long gift! The more I have worked on mine, the more I have realized I need to change in other area’s as well. 2016 I will be sharing with you a monthly challenge I set for myself to be better. Not just for my husband (although I’m sure he will be the inspiration for a lot of my change) but for myself!
If you want to watch my first attempt at journaling this via Video- here you go!