The phrase “working on your relationship” has always been a bit of a puzzle to me. I mean, what, exactly, does “working on your relationship” look like? Going to counselling? Having date night once a week? Reading the same book and then talking about it afterwards? I’ve never really been clear.
Well, today I think I have found a new way to look at the whole concept.
One of the major issues in this household is keeping up with the housework. It’s hard to keep things clean – it’s a big house (1100 square feet in the south wing, 1300 in the north), and it’s a farm, so dirt comes in on everything (though we leave shoes at the door). Plus we have pets (with muddy feet and shedding fur), we have open windows that blow in dust, we have a wood stove and the concomitant ashes … it’s dusty and the floors are never clean, no matter how hard one might try. I do try, honestly I do, but it’s hard to keep up with it all and I am always budgeting energy and making trade offs. If something has to get left aside, truthfully, it’s probably gonna be the housework. And this annoys The Reluctant Farmer, who has a not at all unreasonable wish to be able to walk barefoot through the house without picking up a bunch of cat fur on his feet.
The Reluctant Farmer recently got paid for some of the work he’s done for Fire Services, and he decided to put some of that money towards “working on our relationship”. See, if there was a way for the housework to be done more easily, then I would have more energy (and therefore be less stressed and less apt to go over the edge into the craziness that takes me sometimes) and he would have less to be annoyed about (and therefore be more content and less stressed by having to bite his tongue, knowing I can only do so much but still wishing things were a bit tidier). This could only be good for our relationship.
So, for the price of a few counselling sessions, he purchased an automated floor cleaning machine. There is a new machine out that is basically a robotic Swiffer, the Braava. If you have fairly clean floors to start with (i.e. you swept up the bread crumbs and dropped pasta bits and just have a couple of days’ of pet hair and dust on the floor) it can, apparently, keep up and keep things clean by dry mopping and damp mopping.
My job would then be reduced to sweeping up the bigger messes (something I already have no trouble doing), doing a full and proper wash “every so often”, and putting a clean cloth on the little robot and sending it off to mop the floors.
Now see, *this* is what working on your relationship looks like: noting the things that give you headaches and taking action to mitigate the circumstances that lead to trouble.
I think I picked a good guy to marry.