The last few weeks have been rather interesting at our house. Between recent illness and “boundary testing” among the girls, I’ve been finding it difficult to keep up with the housework, grocery shopping, meal preparation, and life itself.
Whether it is an issue of pride, a need for control, or something slightly resembling martyrdom, I rarely ask for help. After all, if I send my husband to do the grocery shopping, he might (heaven forbid!) choose the wrong brand of ketchup or purchase the bananas too green or too ripe. If I ask him to throw in a load of laundry during his next trip down to the basement, perhaps he’ll wash the clothes using too warm of water, resulting in some minor shrinkage of a few precious articles of clothing. And how can I be assured that he’ll remember to disinfect the doorknobs and light switches adequately if he tackles the bathroom cleaning this week instead of me?
However, in light of recent circumstances, I’ve had no choice but allow him to help me.
For instance, we’ve recently settled on a plan that he will be in charge of dinner every Tuesday evening. Tuesdays end up being one of my longest days since it is a day I spend at work and then pick up the girls from the sitter’s afterward. This means he gets to decide what we’re having (only fair since he’s the one making it!) and even if that means spaghetti three weeks in a row, I’m okay with it.
Last Sunday, I actually wrote him a list, entrusting him with the complicated task of picking up a few items from the grocery store. That same afternoon, he cleaned the bathroom while I took care of changing the sheets on the beds.
And guess what? The world did not end. The food he brought home from the store was completely edible. The bathroom sparkled. We didn’t go hungry on Tuesday night. Even more importantly, I was a bit more rested and my husband felt good for contributing.
So again, I ask myself (and you, if this happens to sound familiar): why is this so difficult? Is not one of the blessings of close relationships (such as marriage) not only companionship but also the sharing of each others' load?
Are not my husband and I components of the very same household, working for common goals, such as daily sustenance, cleanliness, and the Christian upbringing of our children?
When I really take a step back and analyze this situation, I think I would have to say that the main reason I don’t ask for help more often is largely due to the fear of inconveniencing anyone else. I figure that it would be far better if I would simply proceed in completing the task at hand myself, even if it means added stress and exhaustion – ultimately leading to a mother and wife who is too spent at the end of the day to even think about engaging in any enjoyable activity or meaningful conversation.
What I’ve failed to realize is that by allowing my husband (and others, for that matter) to support me and lighten my burden, I’m actually giving him a blessing, too: the feeling of being needed and relied upon. I often find myself feeling “recharged” and inspired after serving someone else. Denying my husband the opportunity to help me has resulted in him missing out on that same feeling from the person he loves the most.
I have to admit, it’s been frustrating lately not being able to successfully keep up on things in my own mind. But I truly believe that God has brought this time to our family for a number of reasons, one being to teach me that it’s not a bad thing to have to rely on my husband for support – both physically and emotionally. In fact, it’s really quite a wonderful thing and something He actually instructed us to do.
Carry each others' burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. ~Galatians 6:2
I find it rather ironic that in my first post this month regarding our relationships I focused on becoming a “more suitable helper” to my husband. But over the course of these few weeks, God has also been showing me the importance of allowing my husband to be the same for me.
How much easier would life be if I simply allowed my husband to help carry my burdens as God intended?