While I was in Tibet my husband joked that he would not clean the house until the day before I returned. I have no idea how things actually transpired, but when I arrived back home the house and yard were well kept. I complimented him on his hard work. He sighed and said, “Thank you. Do you have any idea how hard it is to keep this house clean?” Before I could say I might have a little clue, he went on. “It was crazy! I’d just finish sweeping the floor and it was dirty again. I don’t understand how that happens. And by the way, I just want to apologize for the toilets. I had no idea I dribbled as much as I do until I realized I was the only one in the house.”
I had to think about that for a moment before replying.
“Um, are you saying you thought I was the one… marking… my… um, territory, so to speak?”
He looked bewildered. “No! I mean, well, I guess I never thought about it at all. But it became obvious fast when I was alone.”
I gave him a hug. As much as I missed him while we were apart, I think we both came to appreciate the other more fully. For instance, when we travel he always shoulders the responsibility of keeping tickets and agendas in order. I just show up and enjoy. But when I traveled alone to China I became aware of how much organization and stress that actually involves. I had more than one panicked moment when I didn’t know where a boarding pass ended up in my backpack, or my passport wasn’t where I thought it was. It was an in-your-face lesson on easy he makes my life.
Yesterday, as I was doing my weekly housework, he offered to help. Before long I heard the vacuum cleaner purring and nuggying the carpets. It made me feel good to know that the effort of keeping the house in order has more meaning to him now. It has been said that travel broadens the mind. Who knew it can be a ticket to spousal admiration?
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