Mr. and Mrs. Clean

cleaning couple
Laura Perez

For years it has perplexed me that someone as domestically challenged as I am could be driven with manic urgency to clean every nook and cranny of my house due to a simple change of season. I attributed it to some mysterious hormonal imbalance similar to that which compels pregnant women to nest. What else could possibly explain the springtime surge of domesticity that drives me to destroy dust bunnies and floss the tines of my comb?

Then one spring day as I tracked footprints in pollen dust while walking to my pollen-covered car, I had an epiphany! I realized it's not hormones; it's an allergic reaction. For all its loveliness, springtime in the South also has its aggravations. Without realizing it, I was simply responding to all the irritants coating my world.

Marriages, too, can be plagued with irritants. Busy schedules, family obligations, financial pressures and child rearing can lead to a season inundated by annoyances. You might find your marriage dusted with bickering or hurtful teasing. Don't panic!

All marriages need a spring-cleaning from time to time. That's why the Word of God tells us to shake out the pollutants and bring in something fresh. "Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you" (Ephesians 4:31-32). With that in mind, spring-cleaning your marriage can be as simple as decluttering, polishing and making room:

Declutter
• Remove grudges you've been storing. Write each on a piece of paper. Forgive the grudges you've held, then throw the paper away.
• Agree on at least one thing each of you can give up to minimize the stress of your busy schedules.

Polish
• Shine up your appearance for one another like you did when you longed to catch each other's eye.
• Make your communications sparkle by talking face to face.

Make room
• As a reminder that you chose one another, find space to display keepsakes or pictures from your courtship.
• Spend time alone together every day. Connect with and pray for each other, making room for God to clean and build in both of you.

Your marriage, like your home, needs a seasonal cleaning to sweep away the irritants that settle in. Whether you need a dusting or a deep spring-cleaning, the result of your efforts can be refreshing!

Kim Wier is an author, humor columnist and conference speaker.

Did you know couples are 30 percent less likely to get a divorce if they get some sort of premarital training? If you or someone you know is planning to marry, check out Focus on the Family's Ready to Wed curriculum, and then prepare for a marriage you'll love!

This article first appeared in the March/April 2012 issue of Focus on the Family's Thriving Family magazine.
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Copyright © 2012 by Kim Wier. Used by permission.

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