My husband and I purchased a brand new HE washer and dryer set in November of 2013. We inherited our previous machines from the kind people we bought our first house from as newlyweds. I was excited for this new set to join our family. I pored over the manual carefully and followed the instructions perfectly. I wiped the inside of the washer after every use and ran the “tub wash” cycle every month. There was not one load where I forgot to clean out the lint trap. These were my beloved companions, because just as the sign in our laundry room states, “This house is filled with endless love and laundry.”
Over time, the newness wore off, and I began to slack.
The tub wash cycle became optional, and I have not wiped down the inside of the washer in at least a year. I still love my washer and dryer, but the pride and determination I had in the beginning lost the battle with real life. I made peace with minimizing my effort and convinced myself that as long as I made sure to use the proper high-efficiency detergent, I would be doing my part.
Over the past month, however, more suds have been present throughout the wash cycle. Assuming I put in too much detergent, I tried to be more careful with the quantity. The clothes still felt soapy when switching them from the washer to the dryer, and even though I found it peculiar, I never investigated the reason. Bringing a handful of wet clothes to my husband, I asked him to smell them. Even after being washed on the sanitary cycle, they still had the aroma of dirty clothes. I accused our washer of dying and never once assumed I was at fault.
For the first time in a while, I paid attention to the bottle as I was pouring laundry detergent into a new load. To my horror, I discovered it is not the specific kind that is acceptable for use in our washer. How could I make such a mistake? How could I become so complacent in my washer ownership that I stopped checking to make sure I was using the proper detergent?!
At some point, the new becomes old, and history proves that I do not handle that transition well.
- In 2006, Jason and I bought a puppy to satisfy our parental desires. I promised to walk him twice a day and bathe him weekly. Those goals lasted a couple years, but then came children along with a slew of excuses. Walks and baths are more of an exception for our dog rather than the rule.
- In 2011, as I was pregnant with our third child, we bought a brand new minivan. I was determined to take care of it. In fact, I went to the store and purchased leather wipes with the plan to wipe down the inside of the car every night before I went to bed. I maintained my determination to own a tidy and clean car for a while, but ultimately I stopped bringing in everything from the car, causing coats, papers, toys, and snacks to clutter the floor. The wipes had dried out before I could use the whole container.
- In 2014, I made a very convincing case of why I needed a seventy-nine dollar dress. My husband was less convinced but still agreed to it. I was so proud of my new outfit and couldn’t wait to show it off. I carefully removed the tag with scissors and studied the care instructions on the inside. Hand Wash Only. The first couple washes, I handled the fabric with great delicacy, but after the fourth I realized my bathroom sink isn’t ideal for washing clothes by hand and figured the delicate cycle on the washer would suffice.
This pattern in my life of never treating the old as well as I treat the new is sadly undeniable. What implications does this have on my marriage? I thought I would always respect my husband, but over time, I’ve allowed compromise to seep in. I thought submission would be easy, but after a couple times the novelty wore off, and I wanted my way more often. I used to delight in speaking to my husband in his love languages, creatively showing my love, and planning days of adventure. Over the years my own love language has taken precedence, my love for him is evident in the same routine ways, and days of adventure seem like a thing of the past. I still love my husband. Truly, I adore him, but over time, the new has become old and I no longer treat him as I should.
I want to be the wife who works just as hard at being my husband’s girlfriend as I did when I was only his girlfriend. It takes effort and sacrifice that I want to make in my heart but often choose not to make in my actions. Even though my attitude isn’t marriage-breaking, it isn’t sacrificial, and its foundation is mediocrity.
I must treat my husband with the intimacy that reflects the length of our marriage but couple that with the newness, excitement, and appreciation of our newlywed days.
How have you treated your husband throughout the years of your marriage?
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