There are many reasons to have order in the home, but have you ever thought that your marriage might be one of them? No matter where you fall on the spectrum of organization, from Neat-nik to Hoarder, there’s a good chance that you and your spouse are not on the same page as to how you like to keep your home. Maybe he wants to clean weekly and you want to clean daily, or she wants to stack things up and you like them to be hidden away. It may seem like a small thing to disagree on, but it’s a small thing that can turn into a much larger issue over time, and when couples are lacking an agreement to keep organization on track, chaos can quickly ensue. Usually a messy marries a cleaner.
Bills may be looked over, expensive or sentimental items may get lost, and appointments can be missed. When the house feels cluttered, it can clutter your mind and drain the life out of a home. A messy home has even been known to decrease a wife’s libido.
Though a couple may not agree about what the standards should be for an orderly home, you may be able to agree that your life (and marriage) would be a lot less stressful if you could agree on a plan for keeping it under control. Even if a neat home is not an important priority, it may be worth it for you to make it one, especially if it will increase the mental well-being of your spouse and your marriage.
One of the best ways to prevent a mess from developing is to put things away, instead of putting them down. By dealing with something while it’s in your hands, you eliminate the need to clean it up later. In the moment, putting something down doesn’t seem like a big deal, but after a while, it begins to pile up. You can use the time you would have spent picking up with your partner, reveling in your nice, clean house.
The key to this is to make sure that all of your belongings have a “home.” If you don’t currently have a home for each item, then create a home for it. This may mean that there is not room for everything you own. If that’s the case, it may be a good time to do a clean sweep of your home to determine what you actually need to keep. If you have things lying around that you have not used for a year or more, you may decide that you no longer need it. These items can be donated so someone else who can make use of them. The more you donate, the less you have the responsibility to take care of!
An orderly home is something that everyone can participate in, including the kids. You can use it as an opportunity to teach responsibility; there is no need for anyone to leave shoes, socks, dirty dishes, or dirty clothes for someone else to have to pick up. In order to get the ball rolling, you may want to plan a fun evening activity that won’t begin until everything is put away. Everyone must participate: Mom, Dad, and the kids. Once you start putting everything away you will be amazed at how the chaos seems to melt away, replaced with a sense of peace.
In our Marriage Counseling practice this issue arises often. Picking up after yourself is a way to demonstrate respect for the loved ones you are sharing your home with. Love is not just a noun, it is a verb. We can show our spouse how much we love them by making contributions toward the home so it can be a place of peace, free of tension, and conducive to harmony.