Dishes

I hate doing the dishes. Or, at least I used to hate it. Now, I kind of like it. Weird, huh?

When was a bachelor, I used to let the dishes pile up for days, even a week or two, at a time. If I did enough take out I could fit almost two weeks in the sinks at once. Use some disposable plates, I could take it even further. If I’d rinse off the dishes so nothing grew on them then it wasn’t so bad.

Terrible, right? Now you see what my wife had to deal with when she moved in.

For the first several months of our marriage I’d just keep on doing what I had done for years, and she would do the dishes for us. After a while she’d get miffed about it, but she never said anything. I was really selfish and didn’t do anything about it. Yeah, I know weak move.

But then, over the last five or six weeks, I have developed a sense of need to get the dishes done. I feel almost compelled to. You see, Lindsey has very, very little time free these days. I don’t have much free either, but because I do work from home a good bit of the time I am around more. I’d noticed what a stresser a dirty kitchen was for her, and unlike laundry or some of the other stuff around the house, she did not get any kind of stress relief or enjoyment out of doing it. So, I started making a point of getting it done for her.

She’s noticed and made little positive comments and compliments before, but today she took the time to look at me seriously and say, “thank you”. I am not doing the dishes all the time for the thanks, I am doing it to help her and show her I love her. But, it is always nice to be recognized, and know that it means as much to her as I intend for it too.

It’s a good feeling.

Excavating my past

In the spirit of getting to everything I put off during the school year, I went home to the ranch to (partially) fulfill a promise to my mother.

My room at home, where I was living for five months before the wedding, was a mess. A wreck. Disgusting. I’ve lived at home several times post college and it has never actually been cleaned out from high school. There were literal layers of my history– high school awards, college textbooks, sorority knick knacks, Turkish pillowcases, Starbucks aprons, African jewelry, items from my classroom, and then all kinds of wedding stuff. It was like excavating my personal past.

Before:

  

Brian and I have taken FOUR loads of stuff from the ranch. Today I completely filled Brian’s car for trip number FIVE. I still couldn’t fit everything in the car, which means there will be at least on more trip. But I did manage to turn the wasted space into a guest bedroom in three and a half hours. A small miracle.

After:

    

Brian and I will reach the three month married mark on Sunday. There’s still so much to be done to fully bring these two lives together. Well, the stuff from the two lives anyway… It isn’t done begrudgingly. It’s actually still all very exciting.

There’s barely room the car for me!

I still don’t believe it

My wife is the consummate hostess. She excels at making our home welcoming for our guests and at making it easy to be hosts. I love her gift of hospitality.

Part of this gift is her desire for me to be able to interact with our guests and not have to worry about the house or about details. She’s quite happy to be in the kitchen cleaning up after a meal and shoo me out to go entertain our guests. This is a great thing for me, right?

Except I have a hard time believing it. My wife and I are wired so differently that I don’t understand her sometimes. I wouldn’t be happy scrubbing dishes and cleaning up after everyone else. But she tells me she is. I ask her constantly, “Are you sure?” She always replies with a “yes,” and after the fifth time she starts to look at me like I’m a bit dense.

It’s a tricky thing, adjusting to life with a spouse. It seems an easy thing to do when the spouse is merely theoretical, when all you see when you here the word ‘wife’ is your own take on a Platonic ideal. But, when she’s an actual whole person with her own quirks and preferences, things can get a bit murky. And around here a murky view of this yields a lot of, “Are you sure?”

I must learn to trust her. To trust that if she wants help she will ask for it. To trust that when she enjoys something that I see as drudgery she is not lying to me. To trust my wife when she bucks the trends or expectations of others because she’s just wired that way. I must learn to not doubt her.