I love a clean house, but I hate cleaning. I love an empty dishwasher, but I hate unloading it. I love folded laundry, but I hate putting it away. I love my kids enjoying playtime, but I hate picking up toys. I love squeaky clean hardwoods, but I hate mopping. I love a clear mantle, but I hate dusting.
Usually, when I clean, it’s in a frenzy of anxiety because it ALL has to be done RIGHT NOW, or else I’LL LOSE IT. One toy or trinket is out of place, and it sets me off into thinking everything is in chaos. That’s the Enneagram 6 in me. Luckily for me though, my husband is Mr. Calm Cool Cucumber Enneagram 9. He knows when I need help or simmered down, usually without me even asking. He knows days when it’s best to get ahead of the curve and get things accomplished before I actually lose it.
With multiple kids, work, everyday obligations, and the general craziness of life, my husband unloading the dishwasher is romance. Putting the laundry away (and my ultimate nemesis: pairing socks) is romance. Picking up Lego pieces before someone pierces a heel is romance. Mopping up after toddler sensory play messes is romance. Dusting the tippy top of the fan is romance.
My love language is acts of service. So when I see my husband loading up the dishwasher after dinner so I don’t walk into a dirty kitchen in the morning and LOSE IT, it makes my heart skip a beat.
Now let me be clear… this isn’t something that happened from the get-go in our marriage. It’s taken years of really getting to know one another deeply for us to get where we are. And let me also be clear that it doesn’t always happen. Do I sometimes LOSE IT because toddlers knock all the neatly folded laundry off of the Laundry Couch before it got put away in designated bedrooms? Yep. Have I woken up to a sink full of food-caked dishes even after having a stressful evening the night before? Absolutely. Have I nearly impaled myself on a stegosaurus left in the middle of the living room? You betcha.
But the days my husband help me steer clear of the anxiety LOSE IT phase, I am deeply grateful. Those simple acts of service give me butterflies knowing he’s doing it out of love for me. There’s something sexy about seeing your man with sudsy, pruney fingers bent over a loaded dishwasher of crusty Tupperware (and from that vantage point, I usually creep in to show him I acknowledge his love language of physical touch with a nice smack bottom).
It’s easy for me, and us as a family, to be bogged down with seemingly easy and endless household chores like taking the garbage out and Windexing tiny fingerprints off of the glass door. It can also be true what they say about love: that love fades. The magic can dissipate when you’re in the thick of diapers and tantrums and “the daily grind”. The honeymoon phase can seem like lifetimes ago. That’s why I’m so thankful to have a husband who not only loads the dishwasher but unloads it too. He follows through. He shows up for our family. He proves that he can still be the man of the house with a Swiffer in one hand and a handful of Hot Wheels in the other. I pray he never loses the subtle art of wooing me by standing at the kitchen sink.