Marriage Interview 6: Blind to Clutter
Mandy and Sam met in college in 1988 and began dating a year later. They waited 15 years before getting married, and now have been married for 13 years.
One of their biggest problems is that Sam is “clutter-blind.” I know a lot of you have the same issue in your relationship because I hear about this often in my couple’s practice. One person wants the house cleaner than the other. The desire of each person can range from perfectly spic-and-span to messy and cluttered.
Deep Work or Practical?
Rather than dig deeply into the potential psychological issues of not noticing clutter, Sam and Mandy went the practical route: they hired a maid/cleaning lady to organize in addition to clean.
At times in couples therapy we need to look for the important nature/nurture components in the ways couples interact. Other times we need to hire a maid!
Your Family Didn’t Do it Like My Family
It is possible that they each grew up in a family where the amount of picked-up vs. cluttered was quite different. It’s also possible that the expectations of females and males were different in relation to cleaning up.
My husband’s mom was a feminist, so all the boys learned housekeeping. But the truth is that after our housekeeper starting coming, I said with enthusiasm, “Our house looks so much better, doesn’t it?” He admitted he didn’t really notice, but was glad it was better for me, and he would not feel so guilty about not doing more housework than he was! And that’s good enough for me.
Make it a Priority
It is optimal, though, to remember that what is important to your beloved be important to you as well. And there are many solutions to a given problem. Be creative!
Mandy’s tip for other couples
Always find the time to get away and reconnect with each other no matter how busy you are.
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