I'll be honest, folks. Day after day after day, in our 9 years of marriage, I have picked up my husband's dirty socks on the floor. They can be found in any and every room at any given time of day. It's a guessing game really. It's the same old same old. I pick them up and put them in the laundry. Time after time.
But you know what? After a few years of complaining to him about it, I stopped.
This is why.
Day after day, in our 9 years of marriage, my husband has compassionately and willingly helped out around the house. No job has ever been "off limits" except the jobs I claim for my own (ehem... laundry... my territory forever it shall be! Mwahahahhaa....)
These jobs he quietly and kindly takes on can be found in any and every room at any given time of day. It's a guessing game really. It's the same old same old.
See where I'm going with this?
We are a team. We pick up where each other trails behind. We fight each other's battles and wipe each other's tears. We carry the torch of ministry and parenting at a unit. We work together.
I quickly learned what a gem of a guy I had when he wanted to make cookies from scratch on one of our first dates. I nervously eyed the ingredients lying on his bachelor pad kitchen counter and scanned the recipe on the back of the chocolate chip bag so he wouldn't find out I HAD NO CLUE WHAT IN THE WORLD I WAS DOING. Martha Stewart would be ashamed, I know. Good gracious. My boyfriend was teaching me how to make cookies? What was this, the Andy Griffith Show??
I fell in love with my boyfriend not at a romantic coffee shop. Not during a candlelit dinner at an Italian restaurant. Not when he gave me roses and chocolate. I fell in love with my boyfriend when I saw him volunteering his time at church serving others with a smile on his face and compassion in his heart. I fell in love with my boyfriend when I found out he was the official van driver to pick up the members for church who didn't have a car. I fell in love with my boyfriend when I saw him planning youth group sermons and games after he had already put in an 8 hour day working hard as a mechanic. I fell in love with my boyfriend when I saw him serve.
These were the qualities I wanted in a husband. I could give or take a dashing smile and bright blue eyes, but give me a servant for Christ and I was hooked. Oddly enough, I ended up with most attractive guy on the planet on top of the servant part. Eh, go figure ;)
All it takes is one look in my eyes and he knows when I am too worn out to cook dinner. All it takes is one glance and he knows what I need and does it willingly without asking. All it takes is the connection and unity between us to pick up the puzzle pieces each other is lacking that day.
I could go on an on about all the things my SuperDan does for me day after day. Putting the kids to bed, making dinner, doing the dishes, vacuuming before guests arrive, making me shakes to sprinkle in my prenatal vitamin when I don't feel like swallowing it, taking care of the kids for days on end while I'm gone photographing a wedding, giving me back rubs when pregnancy takes it's toll, landscaping our yard with gorgeous flowers and shrubs, working side jobs to make ends meet for our family.
Instead of focusing on all our spouse's bad qualities (which we all have), why not call out the good qualities in them? Why not give our spouses "encouragement sandwiches"? When you have a complaint or problem to address, it helps to already have been encouraging and loving on your spouse before, and keep on doing it after, so that the complaint is easier to digest. When our marriages are dripping with support and unity, the trials and the disagreements are more easily worked through because of the trust and love built up as a safeguard.
We are better than ever before at telling each other our hurts, complaints, and disagreements. It wasn't always this easy, I'll tell you that much. Many hours of the silent treatment and tears led us to the realization that communication is ALWAYS the better option! But quite honestly I think that part of the solution has been learning how to work as a unit, remembering that:
Every time I see one of those dirty socks hiding underneath who-knows-what, I smile and remember all the little things he does for me day after day. It's true love, I tell ya.
Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.