Remember when I confessed that I’m a ritualistic person? Well, about that. When I get stressed out, I have rituals. I work out. I write. I clean my house. I clean my house a LOT. I’m a person that’s environmentally sensitive. I am comfortable when my office space is neat and clean. I feel better when my house is clean and my bed is made. I feel stressed when my house is dirty. I feel uncomfortable and unable to relax when I can see dust and clutter.
And I married a man whose standard of “clean” is much lower than my own. And his future offspring will most likely be messier than he is.
“Clean” to Husband-Man means that it doesn’t crunch when you step on it. You hand doesn’t stick to it when you touch it. It doesn’t stink. “Clean” to me means it shines. You could eat off of it. There is no physical defect that is caused by dirt. Who is “right” about clean? We both are. But, I don’t usually remember that. I don’t remember that Husband-Man’s “clean” is just as correct as mine.
It irks me. It irks me so to see a vacuumed floor that still has some piece of paper or dirt on it. So how do I handle this? Not well, I’m afraid. Not usually. Usually, I fuss at Husband-Man. I point out what he missed.
Not a proud thing for me. I fuss at him because he doesn’t do things my way. I could tell you why I’m so particular, but it doesn’t matter. There are a few things that aren’t negotiable, because I’m a sufferer of a dust allergy, my bedroom has to be my version of “clean”. But the rest of my house? Unless I plan on laying face-down in the carpet for a while, it doesn’t matter as much. So, why do I fuss at him? Because I want to be in charge. And usually, he’s very graceful. And then later, I remember what I did in my frustration and apologize to him. When I’m all stressed out, he’ll help me clean. But when the dirt in the house is causing me stress, he reminds me that my compulsive version of “clean” isn’t always true.
Don’t even get me started on our first year of marriage argument about what a “hand towel” was versus a “dish towel”. We don’t really talk about it. We’ve settled for just calling them a “towel”.
Our versions of “right” are all practice. What are we practicing for? The rest of our lives. Buying another car. Raising children. Buying a house. You know, everything. What does the Bible say about what is “right”? In Mark 12, the Bible says:
28 And one of the scribes came up and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, asked him, “Which commandment is the most important of all?” 29 Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30 And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ 31 The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”
How important is a “clean” house or a “dish towel” in light of the gospel or loving my neighbor? My neighbor is Husband-Man. And my actual neighbors. And everyone else. So, “clean”? Not very important. Just a bit of perspective for your (my) day.