By Ashley McIlwain
It’s that time of year where many of us roll up our sleeves to do some serious spring cleaning. We dig our way to the backs of closets ridding them of items we forgot even existed. Things that have gone unnoticed get packed up or tossed out. Corners that haven’t seen a vacuum or the light of day finally get tended to.
Spring cleaning is a time when the dust bunnies say farewell as squeaky clean and organized move in. It’s a great chance to feel like you’ve gotten your home in order, and you’re dealing with a clean slate. It entails some hard work and heavy lifting, but at the end of it, you are left with an invigorating feeling that all is right and well.
While it’s nice to have our homes literally in order, there’s a more important item that should be on our spring cleaning checklist, and that’s our marriage. Every relationship needs times where we give a little extra tender love and care to it.
When was the last time you rolled up your sleeves and went to town cleaning out the cob webs, dust, and junk that have accumulated in your marriage over time? My guess is that it’s been a while … if ever. That needs to change.
Every once in a while, it’s good to sit down with your spouse and talk about your relationship. Where it’s been, where it’s at, and where it’s going. If you don’t check in on your relationship, you have no real idea of its current condition.
Most of us dread these conversations for fear that they will end up being some long, drawn out, emotional nightmare. There is definitely that risk, but that doesn’t mean you have an excuse for avoiding these conversations. Take the time to find out:
Pouring out your thoughts, looking at ways to improve, and discussing things that are going well … these are all part of growing, learning, and keeping your marriage healthy.
Clean It Out
Once you’ve had a good heart to heart with your spouse, you should have a better feel for where your marriage is at. Now you are aware of the strengths and weaknesses of yourself, your spouse, and your marriage. This is when you get to work.
Having the information isn’t enough. Now you’ve got to do something about it. It’s time to ask yourself and your spouse:
Be specific about your plan of action. If your wife tells you that she wishes you would help out more around the house, then maybe you can offer to take over doing the dishes and vacuuming. If your husband says he would like for you to affirm him more, plan on leaving notes of encouragement for him and making a point of expressing your gratitude more often.
Keep it Tidy
The more often you check in on your marriage and do some cleaning, the less of a mess you will have to contend with. Think about an area in your home you most often neglect to clean up. Most likely when you do give it the much needed tender love and care it needs, you are facing an overwhelming job.
Marriage is similar. The longer you neglect it, the bigger the job. There’s going to be more dirt, dust, and digging that you’re going to have to take care of, whereas, regular cleaning makes the job much simpler. If you check in with each other frequently and keep working at your relationship, the job gets easier and less daunting with each “cleaning.”
There’s no point in discovering where your marriage is at if you aren’t willing to do something about it. You and your spouse can work together to clean out the cob webs, take out the trash, and put an added shine on things. It takes open communication and a willingness to put in the necessary effort to make the needed changes for your marriage to be the best it can be.
As with anything you give due attention to, it prospers. Like a home cared for, it shows in its beauty and durability. Marriage is no different. When you put in the work, it shows. It shines like a beacon for you, your spouse, and for those around you. So roll up your sleeves, and get to work!