When we were first married I naturally took over the task of laundry lady. It was only right really. Who could expect a reformed bachelor to remember which frilly top was dry clean only/line dry only/cold water only/wash inside out and upside down while standing on one leg only. It's kind of ridiculous.
(Now-a-days I only have two kinds of tops, those with spit-up stains and those without, and they all get washed in the same load.)
Each week I'd dutifully sort, wash, dry, and fold the clothes. I would put my clothes away while leaving my husband's clothes in nice neat stacks on the end of the bed for him to put away when he got the chance. He rarely got the chance. It's not that he's lazy or sloppy or anything like that! He just didn't think to stop and put his clothes away. Most often they got moved to the top of the dresser or the floor when we were getting ready for bed at night. It was slightly annoying.
Of course, I could have just put them away for him (I knew where he kept his socks), but I didn't. It just wasn't fair. They were his clothes. I'd taken the time to wash them. The least he could do was put them away!
Then one day as I was folding clothes and resenting my role of housewife/cleaning lady, I had a come to Jesus moment.
God created me to be my husband's helper, and I was pretty lousy at it. Sure, I dutifully cooked, cleaned, and laughed at all his jokes, but in my heart, I still held on to the idea that marriage was supposed to be fair. I thought that we should serve each other equally, and subconsciously, I was keeping score, trying to keep things even.
Now let me tell you, this is a disastrous was of thinking. It's downright dangerous! If we are looking for our marriages to be fair, then we are inevitably going to be discontented and frustrated. No matter how well we balance the scales of work and service, there are days, weeks, maybe even years where the work load just isn't going to be fair.
This is particularly true when it comes to having kids. Let's face it. There is nothing fair about carrying a baby for 9 months, suffering through 12+ hours of labor, and then having to get up at night to nurse while my husband sleeps peacefully by! It's just not fair, and it never will be!
But then again my husband could say the same thing. I wear PJ's all day, watch Veggie Tales whenever I want to, and get to take an afternoon nap all while he goes out to make a living and support my ice cream habit. That doesn't seem fair either.
But what happens in a marriage when we let go of trying to keep things fair? What happens when we stop thinking about what we deserve and instead start thinking about how we can bless and serve each other?
Well I'll tell you. Love happens. Joy happens. Peace happens. Those things that makes a marriage last happen.
When we let go of our pride and embrace our calling as a help meet, we'll find ourselves ever so slowly becoming a little more like Jesus, more like the one who gave up fairness when he came to earth and sacrificed himself to clean up our mess.
Who knew being a wife was such a noble calling?
An excellent wife who can find? She is far more precious than jewels.
The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain.
She does him good, and not harm, all the days of her life."