It’s finally spring!!! That means its time for some “spring cleaning.” I’ve already finished spring cleaning my desk at work and now I’m working on getting our apartment in shape as well. I was going through a bunch of old boxes, cleaning the baseboards and brushing down those corner cobwebs, when I began to think about spring cleaning other areas of my life. The purpose of spring cleaning is to literally “get your house in order.” I bet that many of our marriages could benefit from a little spring cleaning as well. Are there some dusty corners in your marriage that need to be given a little attention? Any lingering cobwebs in your bedroom that need to come down? Any resentments and problems being pushed into the back of your emotional closets? If there are, maybe its time for you and your spouse to do some spring cleaning. Here are 10 ideas for spring cleaning your marriage:
1. Dust off resentment. Its time to dust off the longstanding resentment you’ve let settle on your relationship. Dusting can be the worst chore because it pushes around old dirt that can agitate your marriage allergies. However, if you choose to let this dust continue to settle, it only piles higher and cause more damage to the health of your marriage. Clean it up today so that you can breath clean air.
2. Clean and open the windows of your hearts. Its time to wipe the slate clean, open up the lines of communication and share the love that’s in your hearts. Your spouse should be able to look through a clean and/or open window and see everything you hold in your heart for him or her. Keep these windows clean and open by listening, connecting, sharing, empathizing and praying with one other.
3. Clean out your emotional closets. Have you been putting your feeling into words or throwing them into the back of your emotional closet? If we don’t clean out our closets the things within only pile up and we’ll just keep trying to shove them back in, never really dealing with the mess. Eventually, the issues will come bursting out when we least expect it. You don’t want to find your marriage buried under a pile of old emotions and hurt feelings. If necessary, obtain a professional organizer (Christian marriage counselor or trusted mediator) to give you the tools to help clean and organize this mess.
4. Discard old habits. Do you have childish behaviors that are becoming old and gross in your marriage? Are you finding yourselves not fighting fair, nagging or whining? Its time to start doing something about these issues today. It takes 28 days to let go of an old habit. Both of you should work together to throw out old habits that cause conflict in your marriage. Be each other’s accountability partner in this effort.
5. Get out the polish. Remember that the same things it took to “get” your spouse are the same things you’ll need to do to “keep” your spouse. Polish your marriage with generous coats of loving behavior. Give your spouse a card for no reason. Do something kind and considerate for them that takes a little bit of strain off of their day. Remember that your marriage is your most important human relationship. Keep it shiny and brand new.
6. Rearrange the furniture. Often we can settle into a routine that makes us feel like “an old married couple.” Shake it up by doing a little rearranging. Try a new restaurant. Take a weekend vacation. Set a monthly date night. Take a class together. Do anything that helps avoid having a marriage that is dull and repetitious.
7. Vacuum up harsh words. Have you said or done something to your spouse for which you know you should apologize. Don’t just sweep your problems under the rug or even worse, let them lie exposed while you both just walk past them glancing at your mess each day. Make it right. Let your spouse know their feelings matter to you.
8. Get rid of the clutter. Our days can be so occupied by work and other obligations that we can misplace our marriage in the priorities of life. If you don’t have time to connect with one another then you have too much clutter. Try scheduling in some quality time with one another even if you have to wake up earlier in the morning or get the kids in bed earlier at night, make having one on one time with your spouse a priority.
9. Sort through unmet expectations. Its time to start being realistic about meeting your spouse’s needs. The only way to do this is to sort through expectations you may not even know your spouse has. You may be surprised at what you spouse has to say. Maybe meeting their needs isn’t as difficult to meet as you might think, maybe it is… Whatever the case, be willing to give a little extra effort when it comes to your marriage. Only God can meet all of our needs, but its healthy to exchange our desires with our spouse and give the necessary encouragement to help avoid hurt feelings.
10. Don’t forget the bedroom!!! Are there cobwebs around your marital bed? Its time to start clearing out things from your bedroom that don’t involve sleeping or love-making. This list includes television, laptops, or any other device that causes distractions. Don’t forget your children! Do not make your bedroom the place where you go to have arguments or disagreements. The bedroom should be your private, love nest where you can sleep, relax and love together. Start communicating what the two of you can do to clear out your bedroom and feel more intimate. Remember, sex is a very important part of marriage that seeks to honor God. Preserve it and treat it with the respect it deserves.
Happy Spring Cleaning,