Every now and then we need to do some house cleaning. Usually, due to life’s ever expanding busy schedule and just because things pile up, we need to stop for a few minutes and clean up. We need to put things back where they belong, wash the dishes, mop the floor, clean off the clutter from the kitchen counters, put the gardens tool back where they go in the garage, and throw away all the mess that has been accumulating around the house. Ah, doesn’t it feel good?! Just cleaning up a little here and there can make the heaviness go away! It even feels good just writing about it.
How do we apply the House Cleaning 101 lesson to our relationships? Do we build up messy issues that tend to clutter things up? Do we leave unresolved sticky problems that, well, we just don’t want to get in to? Clutter in your relationship is worse than clutter in the house. In the house, you can just step over it. No harm no foul, right? OK! OK! Some of you ladies are not agreeing with that one. But my point is that clutter in your relationship is way worse because it robs us of the ability to be close and intimate with someone special that you really love. Clutter keeps you at a distance, alone and lonely.
So what clutter do you have in your relationship? This takes courage. Take some time and do some self-assessment of issues that you may have buried and need to discuss. What are some hurtful things that have happened in the past that aren’t fully resolved?
One simple exercise is to ask your spouse to honestly let you know the three or four things that you do, maybe out of habit, laziness, insensitivity, or whatever, that really bothers her or him. The person asking has to be vulnerable and open to hearing about themselves and they must have a willingness to try to understand the other person’s perspective. This is not a time for self-defense, but rather a time for self-appraisal: how do the things I do irritate you? How do they bother you or make you upset? I really want to understand how my actions make you feel. Then, ask your spouse what you can do to help improve the situation. What can you do to change? This is a very important part of a maturing relationship, when you can exercise personal growth and work at changing those things in your life that are having a negative impact on your spouse. By beginning to change these things, you can remove some of the relationship clutter and allow your relationship to become closer and more intimate.
House Cleaning 101. Try it! You’ll like the results.