Because my DH is a pastor, we have had numerous occasions to provide teaching and counseling on relationships. We dove right in to team-teaching a marriage class on the Song of Solomon, almost as soon as we got back from our honeymoon. Talk about a blushing bride! Only the ignorance of youth could have set us up for such awkward class material; but we bravely addressed issues of marriage, sex, parenting, money-management, and more, with couples that had been married longer than we'd been alive!
Through the years, we learned along with those we taught, life-lessons on relationships from a vast array of resources. One of our favorite authors is Dr. Willard F. Harley, Jr.. He has a huge web site called MarriageBuilders.Com that offers over thirty years of books, articles, and other resources he has written. Harley has put together a questionnaire of the ten most important emotional needs of spouses. As in any family relationship, there is a need for the provision of domestic support.
Domestic Support is not exactly up there in my list of most important emotional needs. It is much more important to my DH that the bed is made and the dishes done, etc.. He is the kind of guy that makes the bed in his hotel room, just so he can enjoy an orderly environment. When he comes home after a long day of work and starts to straighten and clean the house, I often feel guilty and resentful. (I must confess I usually have a guilty conscience, because I don't get very much accomplished on my "To Do" list!) I have learned that DH feels resentful when he has to come home and clean the house, because he thinks (or knows) I have been home all day doing nothing. He has a strong emotional need for a clean, orderly, clutter-free environment. It just helps him to feel more relaxed... less stressed. I guess maybe there is something to that "Feng Shui" after all!
Things changed dramatically around here a month or so ago, when I went back to work. I had to find employment, due to financial hardship. Life in Alaska can get quite expensive! I was only able to find a part-time job, but the hours are pretty easy to handle. I work only Monday through Friday, (even though it's a retail position!), and start at 9:00am, which is ideal for me. I usually work until 3:00pm, and some days until 5:00pm, and that is fine for the kids and for me as well. (My kids are older, and can handle getting home before me; they get themselves a snack and start on their homework.)
Let me tell you, DH has really stepped up to the plate, to support me through this time of adjustment. My job requires standing on my feet all day, reaching up and bending down, and pushing a cart around (I pretend I'm shopping, so it doesn't even seem like work!). It took my feet a solid week to stop hurting. When I got home from work, exhausted and sore, DH was already home, playing "Mr. Mom" for several days.
What a blessing it was to come home to a clean kitchen, and kids who finished their homework, and a husband who provided domestic support for me. (Even if he was doing it mostly for himself!) Lord, let me not take the little things for granted. I do appreciate him very much.