These two rivals used to compete fiercely in this house. And what's worse, is that I used to think both of these competitors could win. And in the beginning of my marriage, they usually did, even though there was always a struggle.
After all, I am a complete and total neat freak--to a great fault. And my husband was..well, a guy! Hence the struggle!
But then came along baby #1. And while it took some intense training, I quickly learned how to still end the day in a nice tie...10 points Happy Wife, 10 points Spotless House. Everyone is happy.
Then came baby #2 just 18 months later. I was still in the habit of obsessively arranging each and every toy perfectly on the "toy shelf" with each part in it's respected place and all figurines poised perfectly.
So needless to say, the competition really started to pick up then! The house was usually "a horrible wreck" (meaning toys were on the floor and I hadn't vacuumed in 2 days). Before, I had only THOUGHT the battle was fierce. Now it was getting ugly...and so was Happy Wife. Spotless House usually ended up on top most days. I kept wondering...how can I bring this whole thing into balance again? But it was an uphill battle.
Then the bell rang (per say) and the Lord faithfully stepped into my corner and started to do a work in my heart. It was then He showed me a hard, cold Truth that I had been blind to for years. My house had become an idol.
In many ways I was worshiping and valuing a tidy, "showroom" house above all else and the sad part is, I didn't even know it. The physical state of my home was directing my mood and my heart.
I decided something needed to change...and it was my perspective. I needed to start looking at the eternal things and not the temporal ones.
2 Corinthians 4:18, "So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal."
It was STRAINING on my eyes, let me tell ya! I was so used to letting my eyes rest upon the temporary things! As I changed my focus, it was a difficult but it has been worth it--it's a much prettier view.
So by the time baby #3 came (again, just 18 months after the last baby), I was ready and prepared to do everything I could to make sure "Happy Wife" won every time. I was determined to keep my eyes on the eternal and not the temporal.
There were still definitely days when the gloves came out and fists were flying...But Spotless House and Happy Wife were learning that they didn't have to start every morning (and end every day) in a fight. In other words, I was learning the condition of my home did NOT need to rule my attitude.
So when baby #4 came onto the scene (yes, once again, just 18 months later!) I had really learned to master my flesh. I could logically talk myself into the fact that it's okay if laundry is sitting in the basket not folded, the dining room table hadn't been cleared off and all the linens and pillows in the house are in a pile in the living room for the conventional need of a "landing pad". I was training myself that those things were temporal and did NOT mean Happy Wife went on vacation!
Now that I have 4 little ones, there are often messes left here and there. More times than not there are dishes piled in the sink and laundry is still sitting on the couch waiting to be put away.
my husband has told me all along,
"I'd rather come home to a happy wife than a spotless house."
And if it's a Happy Wife he wants, I'm determined that Happy Wife is what I'm gonna strive to give him!