There was a day when people invested time and energy in cleaning their home from top to bottom each and every spring. I know because we lived next door to a dear woman for 12 years who did this faithfully each year. Her name was Mrs. Schrum. I was so impressed with the amount of effort she put into cleaning the surface of all things horizontally and vertically in her home. It was nothing short of inspiring! And did her house smell fresh and clean.
She even washed all the walls. I had never heard of such a thing. But then, I was raised quite spoiled. I didn’t have to do any cleaning growing up, which I wouldn’t recommend for anyone. It has made my responsibilities much more of a challenge as a wife and mother. <sigh>
Why am I bringing up all this talk of cleaning?
Because I think our marriages could learn a thing or two from Mrs. Schrum. We would do well to pay close attention to all the nooks and crannies of our relationship.
We want to provide you a quick check list of spring cleaning tips for your marriage. Cut it out and refer to it often, not just when the birds are chirping and the flowers blooming!
- 1. Clean the windows – make sure you are being transparent with your spouse about, well – everything! There should be no secrets. Open the windows and let the fresh air in. Do you welcome outside inspiration from friends, teachings or books?
- 2. Move the furniture and clean underneath – is there anything in your marriage you’ve lost and forgotten? Ways you used to romance each other. Kindnesses you used to show before life got so busy? Plan to elevate these things back into your everyday life. You will be reminded how much you enjoyed them before they got shoved unknowingly under the couch.
- 3. Sanitize the bathrooms – there is no more intimate or private room in the home than the bathroom. And it is the one room that should be cleaned the deepest and the most often. So too, with our sexual intimacy. ( yes, I’m really comparing our sex life to the bathroom. lol) Pay close attention to your ways and keep the marriage bed pure. Make love often and watch your relationship shine!
- 4. Polish the furniture – Dust reveals places no one has touched recently. If dust is accumulating on the furniture, it is one of the first things guests notice in a home . May your marriage be dust-free. Celebrate often all God has given you in your marriage. May there be no areas in your relationship where the dust of neglect has had a chance to settle.
- 5. Mop the floors – this is my least favorite household chore. It requires one to bend and stoop, push and pull, wring and flex. It’s hard work! I liken this to being willing to do the things your spouse doesn’t enjoy as a way to serve them. Tom has mopped many a floor to bless me because he knows I don’t like it. Are you willing to stoop down and do something to bless your spouse in this way?
- 6. Clean and organize the closets and drawers – many useful things are stored in places where you can’t see them. We shove them back in place when we’re in a hurry. It produces clutter and chaos instead of order and beauty. When was the last time you sat with your spouse to talk about your schedules and your priorities? Sometimes having another help you organize your time gives a new perspective you wouldn’t have thought about on your own. Try setting aside some time–take out all the things in your “closet” that are making your life feel cluttered, and ask your spouse how they would reorganize the mess.
- 7. Air out pillows in the sunshine – our pillows are used everyday. They need fresh air from time to time to put the life back in them. The saying goes, “a clear conscience makes a soft pillow.” Be sure to keep your conscience clear. How can you tell? If there is anything that causes your heart to skip a beat when you think of talking to your spouse about it. Don’t delay–air out what’s on your mind. You’ll sleep better and your marriage will be guarded as a result.
- 8. Sanitize phones and door knobs – these are the things we use daily to open the doors of communication. Deal with what’s in your heart before attempting to talk with your spouse about what’s in theirs.
- 9. Clean light fixtures and ceiling fans – It’s hard to imagine what our life would be like without electricity. It is a gift we often take for granted. In the same way the light of the Gospel affects everything we do, both personally and in our marriages. It’s easy to take this gift from God for granted. Regularly pray together in an effort to not forget the gift we’ve been given.
A metaphor, if I may?
When you’re cleaning out the hootch
start with the weapons locker
’cause guns that shoot are final proof
in a game that sure ain’t soccer.
Strip ’em down to all the bits
and hand-clean every one.
Don’t over-oil, and check the fits
when you headspace the machine gun.
Every round should be bright and clean
and the mag springs all renewed
Don’t forget a barrel-flashlight-beam
to check each land and groove.
You don’t win firefights in a dream,
but by being a link in the chain called TEAM.
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