Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Wedded Wednesday- The Bathroom

Wedded Wednesday is a collaboration
of married bloggers sharing their inspirations,
anecdotes, struggles and thoughts regarding
the amazing union of two separate people, as one.
Head over to Marital-Bless to see more Wedded Wednesday bloggers.

Having to clean the bathroom is pretty much the bane of my existence. I HATE cleaning bathrooms, even more than I hate wearing shoes, which as I discussed in the previous post, is a lot. Early on in our marriage, Justin agreed to take over the bathroom cleaning, because he said that he didn't mind it all that much. Looking back, he probably agreed to this task because he figured that it was something that he'd only have to do every six months {I am only marginally joking about this}. When he discovered that the bathroom cleaning duties would come up every week to two weeks if we're pushing it, I think he quickly began to hate bathroom cleaning too.

And the bathrooms quickly started to not be cleaned. And when Justin did "clean" it, it wasn't ever all clean at the same time. He'd clean the sink and the toilet. Then two weeks later, he'd clean the floor and the mirror. I'd ask about the sink and the toilet, and he'd sigh and say, "But I JUST cleaned those!" I'd try to explain that the whole bathroom, top to bottom, generally needs to be cleaned every two weeks. But I honestly don't think that the whole bathroom was clean at once in the first year that we were married.

So one day,  I was thinking that Justin was busy, and maybe I could bless him by taking over this task for him this time, and that maybe he'd grumble less when it was his turn to do it the next time. Yeah, that didn't work at all. What happened instead, was that I ended up cleaning the bathroom 89% of the time. And I was pretty darn angry and resentful about it. Because Justin had made that commitment to me, and he hadn't followed through with it. And if I couldn't count on him to follow through with the little stuff, how could I count on him to follow through with the really big stuff?!

Next, I figured that maybe ignoring the situation entirely would solve the problem. Maybe if I didn't bug him about it, he would just do it. That didn't work either. After that, I asked him if there was a different household chore that he would rather do, and he assured me that no, he was happy to do the bathrooms. But they STILL DID NOT GET DONE.

We had a few heart to hearts about Acts of Service being my love language {and yada, yada}, and eventually Justin agreed to take over the bathroom cleaning again. For the most part, he's done an okay job about it, though still, they bathrooms are almost always clean in segments, rather than all at once. But let me tell you...our bathrooms are WAY overdue for a good cleaning. Way, WAY overdue. Justin has been promising me for WEEKS that he will clean them. Without fail, every Friday we'll discuss our plans for the weekend, and Justin will want to go visit all of our relatives and be running all over the place, and I'll always say, "We can go anywhere you want, as long as you promise me that this weekend you will actually clean the bathroom."

Justin will always say, "I can totally do that. And if I don't, I want you to nag me about it." In fact, this very situation is what Justin was referring to in his answer to the worst part of being married (the nagging, even though it's usually deserved) in the Justin Says post two weeks ago. I was nagging, because yet another week where he had promised that the bathroom would be 100% top-to-bottom clean, but it wasn't. And friends and family would come over to visit Lizzy, and would inevitably ask to use the bathroom, and I would inevitably cringe, and say, "It's probably really dirty, and I'm so sorry."

Now? We're still in this odd stalemate of Justin promising to clean the bathrooms but not doing so, and me not wanting to give in and clean the bathrooms either, because he promised that I wouldn't have to, {and I am beyond stubborn}. It's kind of bizarre, because Justin will spend hours cleaning other parts of the house. It's almost like he will clean ANYTHING other than what really needs it.

Again, I was starting to become very resentful. My thinking quickly turned to things like:

He NEVER helps around the house. 
I can't EVER count on him to follow through
Why are everyone elses' needs more important than mine
Why can't he be my partner in this? Why do I have to do it alone?

But Justin recently had to go out of town for work. Just before he left, I pinched a nerve in my back. And let me tell you...caring for an infant 24/7 with a pinched nerve, is a HUGE task. And I began to realize how much I rely on Justin for little things....

Babe could you bring me a burp rag? 
Would you mind picking up milk on your way home? 
Could you take out the trash for me? 
I am exhausted and covered in puke, could you figure out something for dinner? 

I have never been so happy to see Justin as when I picked him up yesterday. I really didn't realize just how many little things he does on a day to day basis that make things flow easier. It kinda made me swoon. And will maybe, just maybe, get me to think about something other than our messy bathroom.

For a day or two at least.


  1. Isn't it crazy how we always focus on those things (cleaning the bathroom) but then when they are gone we realize what a huge help they are when they are around? I have to make myself step away from the situation and truly think about it before I start to "nag". Jesse's pretty good at doing things, but I usually have to ask. I guess sometimes it really is the small things that matter most :)

  2. I can definitely feel you about taking some small failure to follow-through and letting it blow up into he NEVER does such and such and he NEVER will be reliable etc... I also find it really difficult to break out of this cycle once it starts. On a side note, how does Justin feel about being discussed on the blog? My husband kind of feels weird about it... Do they get used to it eventually? :)

  3. I love that he made you swoon-that's super cute!

  4. I've very often found myself in those same thoughts. There was quite a stretch of time in which Tony seemed to find time to do everything other than that which I asked him. Talk about making your spouse resentful!

    They really are supporting though, aren't they? Good reminder! I hope this weekend and your pinched nerve are different!

  5. you've written this so beautifully, friend.

    the shift in perspective ... when we take our eyes off of the details of complaint/let down/unmet unexpectations ... and look up to see the blessings, gifts and abundance.

  6. I do the exact same thing that you do. I focus on the little things and make them into something bigger. First, its that he didn't put the dishes away. Then, I stew about it and that little thing becomes something bigger. It's nice to get the reminder that I need to step back and remember all the wonderful things he does for me and that no one is perfect. Thanks! Great post!

  7. boy I really feel you on this one! I used to have such a hard time with this and eventually I just started doing it and was resentful in the process. Since getting really sick two years ago and then subsequently recovering, the relationship dynamics have changed immensely. We've each fallen into a routine of our tasks but if either of us sees something that isn't done, we just do it, granted this often results in the other person getting mad at that person for doing a job that wasn't their own to do when they should be relaxing (this would be how hubs reacts) but overall, it seems to have reached some sort of happy medium. I'm sure once we add kids to the mix it will change dramatically again. Hope you start feeling better soon!

  8. It's so nice to see that other people go through the same things! I felt like I was in your little story because I've been exactly where you are!

  9. You should totally get a flip notes! They are so fun and have so many designs! =)

  10. When you get married, you are no longer two people looking at each other, but rather one person looking out at the world.
    Sometimes marriage requires doing 75% of the load, while other times you can enjoy 55%. But always figure on doing over 50%. If you are both doing this, it becomes easier.
    I never really understood the whole give your spouse some jobs and then nagging until they were done. If the two of you really are one, could you imagine nagging at yourself for not doing a task like you might do to your spouse?
    You have to understand that men see the wall, while women see the spider on the wall. Men see the big task while women refine that task.
    That is why men like to take on a job that can be done and not repeated. They mark it off their list and move on. Repetitive tasks are hard for a guy to understand, because they are never done.
    Try setting up a competiton where you each take a bathroom and see who can clean theirs faster. Or try teaming up to get the bathroom job done as a team. Ask your spouse to do the toilet and floor, and you will come by and do the mirror and sink, so you can get the job done and enjoy the rest of the weekend together.
    A task or chore jar is also a great way to get stuff done without placing blame. Each spouse picks one or two tasks out of the jar and then you can spend the rest of the weekend hassle free. Make sure to include some free passes in the jar.
    I think a another good approach is to thank your spouse when they do something, rather than point out what they have not done. In fact, if you go out of your way to look for things they have done that you can thank them for, you will be surprised how much they actually do!
    We treasure the time we have together because there is never enough of it. Neither of us likes fighting or nagging, so we try never to do it.
    When we were first married, we visited some relatives that had children. We noticed dirty bathrooms, places with dust, and some rooms with neglect.
    It was hard for us to understand until we had children of our own. Face it, sometimes the chores will just have to be overlooked or delayed when you have kids in the house.
    The kid years will pass quickly and you want to enjoy them while they are there. So you do the best you can to keep things clean and hope the guests understand.


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