Eight Ways to Spring Clean Your Marriage
No matter how long we’ve been married, all of us need to spring clean our marriage often. I wrote this several years ago, but the principles still apply to marriage, individual hearts, or any relationship:
Is It Time to Spring Clean Your Marriage?
Rebecca Barlow Jordan
Just as a house needs a thorough spring-cleaning after a long, dormant winter, so do our marriages. As we sweep out the cobwebs in the neglected corners of our lives, we’ll discover a new sparkle and shine. Here are eight ways to freshen up your marriage:
Develop a plan for your cleaning ritual. What areas will you attack first? Personal disciplines? Attitudes? Neglected appearances? Habits? Expectations? Communication? List the goals you want to accomplish in your marriage. Be specific. Without a detailed plan, you’ll miss some hidden corners.
Sort through accumulated expectations. Most marriages begin with hidden agendas of his or her expectations. If a wife expects her husband to continue romancing her after the honeymoon and he fails, resentment may follow. A husband who secretly longs for a wife like his mother may set himself up for disappointment when his wife exhibits the opposite behavior. Be realistic with each other about meeting needs. Although God is the only one who can meet your total needs, a mutual exchange of longings and wishes will encourage give and take and help avoid unnecessary hurt.
Discard old habits. Keep a journal of old personal patterns and childish behaviors. Note negative emotions and describe your feelings. Ask yourself, “Could I be taking this situation personally? What does God want to teach me here? Did I in any way cause this?” Even housecleaning experts need extra help to destroy unwanted, moldy habits and to filter out compacted dirt.
Mend the tears of broken relationships and hurt feelings. A stitch in honesty and forgiveness will save years of unraveling. Love is eager to settle differences. Godly love is neither blind nor faultfinding. True love sees weaknesses but rallies to cover them with strength, compassion and encouragement.
Clean out forgotten closets. Family therapist Dixon Murrah says, “Secrets destroy family unity.” Though you may hesitate to reveal hidden skeletons to your mate, remember that marriage intimacy is based on honesty and trust. As you share your family background, open your heart to the negative hurts as well as to the joys of your past. It is always easier to deal with the known than the unknown. And when you understand the “whys” of your mate’s compulsive behaviors or peculiarities, you’ll find a greater capacity for gentleness and love.
Replace worn-out clothes of bitterness with new garments of praise. This will require time for personal discipline with the Lord in prayer and Bible study. Meditate on His Word daily, and you will find your marriage adorned with new beauty.
Vacuum up the spills of harsh words and thoughtless deeds. During emotional or physical stress, even the best of marriages suffer temporary dysfunction. Chart monthly cycles if necessary, and plan your activities accordingly. After years of premenstrual syndrome suffering (I used to call it pre-monster syndrome), I finally learned to prrogram my schedule around high energy days.
Polish your marriage often with generous coats of compliments and caring behaviors. Continue this maintenance program daily, not just at once-a-year spring-cleaning time. Catch your mate doing something noteworthy, and give word gifts of praise. Exchange caring behavior lists with each other… the things you’d each like your spouse to do for you.
No matter how perfect a housekeeper you think you are, stop and spring-clean your marriage often. You’ll improve its value by 100 pecent.
“Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life” Psalm 139:23-24 NLT.
What about you? What areas of your life or marriage need spring cleaning? What other “spring-cleaning” tips would you suggest? Which ones are the hardest to do? Please share with us in the comments below. You will not be hounded, prodded, or automatically added to my mailing list if you do so. And your e-mail address does not show to the public, only the name that you use. Feel free to send this blog to someone or to repost on social media, but please do so with the buttons below. If you want to repost any of my blogs on your own blog or website, please contact me for permission first.