The Messy Housewife and the Man Who
By Dr. Gary Smalley
Smalley Relationship Center
Betty was not the world's best house cleaner. Her home
was not what you would call clean before they had children, and
with three little ones running around, she had nearly given up
on their home ever being clean. Like what happens in many marriages,
her husband, Tod, had a different temperament. He was incredibly
neat and clean. Tod even kept his workshop, where he spent time
on his hobbies, so clean a person could safely eat off the floor.
Tod was so frustrated with his wife's sloppy ways; he spent much
of his time berating her for being a poor house cleaner. She would
always be messy and could never change. Tod
told her stories about how their house would soon become so messy
that their children would catch incurable diseases and the County
Health Department would come out and shut them down.
Tod was not placing high value on his wife. By painting a picture
of his wife with no window of hope or door for changing, he literally
boxed her in to viewing herself as the "world's messiest
housekeeper" that he thought she was.
Remember all relationships involve choice. What if, instead of
doing this destructive dance with Betty, Tod decided to honor
his wife? What if Tod began by choosing to note every time Betty
did something well and by periodically reviewing those praiseworthy
actions? "Betty is so affectionate to our children."
"Betty is a great cook." "I appreciate how much
time Betty puts into caring for our family."
Next, Tod could look for opportunities to honor Betty verbally—however
difficult that might feel, at first. "Betty, that meal was
delicious. Thank you for cooking dinner tonight." "You
made a wise decision when you sent Emma to her room. You are a
If Tod really believes Betty is a person made in the image of
God, as the Bible tells us, then he will take care not to demean
her or to devalue her in any way. If Tod loves and honors his
wife, he may find that over time, Betty will feel more motivated
and begin to keep the house cleaner. But even if she doesn't,
Tod can know that he is doing the right thing.
We honor others when we see them—and treat them—as
incredible gifts of God. Each of them has immeasurable value as
a unique, divine creation.
Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight
in honoring each other. Romans 12:10
© Copyright 2005 Smalley
Relationship Center. Used by permission.
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