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Wifey Wednesday: Smiling Socks--Love from the Dresser Drawer

It's Wednesday, the day when we talk marriage! I introduce a topic, and then you follow up either by commenting or by writing your own post and then linking up! This summer I've asked a few people to guest post to give me a bit of a break, and this Wifey Wednesday is brought to you by Cari Kaufman from Strings Attached Ministries.

This week our Marriage Champions discussion group focused a very heavy topic, you ready?….duh-duh-dun….household responsibilities. And while at first, it may seem like small potatoes in the land of marriage enrichment (I mean we are discussing difficult topics like communication, conflict management and sexual intimacy here), what we discovered is that “neglect of home and family” is second only to “mental cruelty” as a stated reason for divorce. That’s right, household responsibilities are no small potatoes in marriage.

I don’t think that revelation came as a surprise to most of the women in the room. I pray that it didn’t come as a big surprise to most of the men. Get this: it is estimated that 86% of all marital conflicts are over division of labor in the household. 86%! More than money, or disciplining kids, or sex- more arguments are over who is going to do the dishes tonight. I knew it was a big deal, but I was kind of floored by the numbers.

As we were sharing about the common stumbling blocks that interfere with a healthy relationship, there were several that caught my attention. But I think my own personal revelation as I was telling a story about socks really drove home what this whole Marriage Champions thing is all about in a nutshell. It’s about how we show love. I know, deep epiphany, right? But hang with me here.

137/365: Disappointmentphoto © 2010 Madzia Bryll | more info (via: Wylio)
Early on in our relationship, Charlie and I had a huge fight about laundry. This one was a yelling, screaming hissy fit (for my part anyway).

Over socks.

Yep, I almost walked right out the door of the home that God had made for me….over socks.

It shouldn’t have been a big deal. Charlie approached me very gently with a pair of socks in his hand. A pair of socks I had carefully smoothed, rolled and folded together with the happy little smiling face shining out at him. He said calmly and sweetly, “Hey, Sweetie, do you think that you could not fold my socks like this? It stretches the cuff and they don’t stay up as well.”

To Charlie, this was a reasonable request. He was even helping me out by lightening my load a bit…he certainly didn’t expect the total meltdown that ensued.

“I guess the way I fold socks is not good enough for you! Do you know how long it took me to do that!?”

The conversation just went downhill from there. Then I proceeded to dredge up all the other recent discussions on laundry we had had in the last few months. (He and I do it very differently, to this day.) Charlie, for his part, reeling in the shock of my explosion, disengaged. Ugh! Not a good move. Disengaging only fed my anger and we began a vicious feedback loop which only went away after a four-hour cool down period.

My point to my ramblings is this. None of that was about socks.

It was about love.

You see my Daddy was a navy man. From the time I was a little girl, I had learned to fold socks with little smiley faces. It was how he taught me, and how he liked (and still likes) his socks folded. I don’t know if my mom likes to fold socks that way, I just know that she does. Because it is not about socks…It’s about love.

When Charlie rejected the way that I folded socks, in my mind, he wasn’t rejecting the socks…he was rejecting me. My love. My service. My smiley faces. He had no idea. To him it was just a sock that wouldn’t stay up because the cuff was stretched out. To me, it was an act of love. You see, it wasn’t the tip of the iceberg (doing laundry) that sank the Titanic. It was the huge hunk of ice beneath the surface of the water (my emotional attachment to that task) that ripped the hull in two.

Of course, at the time, neither of us understood that the laundry wasn’t the issue. It wasn’t until we started to do research on healthy marriages and put the effort into understanding our relationship that we were given the tools to identify the real issues behind the seemingly little things that can hurt or build a relationship. I encourage you to do some research and soul-searching in your own marriage. You’d be surprised how many tiny little things your spouse does everyday to say, “I love you!”

Now, what advice do you have for us today? Have you struggled with differences in doing household tasks? Or do you have something else to share with us? Write your own Wifey Wednesday post that links back to here, and then leave the link of THAT POST in the Mcklinky below. Thanks!

From Army officer to stay-at-home mom to professional speaker, Cari Kaufman's experiences give her a unique perspective into everyday life. Cari is using her ministry, Strings Attached Ministries, to bring groups and teams together to common ground to build up women’s ministry groups all over the world. Cari lives with her fabulous husband, Charlie in the heart of Northwest Arkansas and they have two amazing children, Alexander and Elizabeth.

Follow Cari on Facebook, Twitter, or visit her website for more information on booking her to speak to your group.

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At 9:24 AM , Blogger Kelly said…

Yeap... that sounds like us lol.


At 1:21 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said…

Socks? Our problem is that they are always dirty... and my husband is particular and wants them put on wire stretchers and hung to dry instead of in the dryer.... Need to work on having the sock drawer full instead of empty! It does show love...

Denise in Saskatchewan.


At 2:11 PM , Blogger Iva said…

I linked this week - interestingly enough, it's about staying connected, no matter what. Although I didn't address socks in my blog post, I could have :o)

So glad that my husband and I aren't the only ones who get into tiffs over stupid things (which are only stupid to the outsider - deep down, they are significant)


At 2:15 PM , Blogger Tessa said…

So my husband and I have different love languages (surprise!!) and we often miss each other on these little things. I do recognize that there are certain things that he does for me and I try to remember to thank him for them. But I'm very clear on telling him what I do want from him. All I want is for him to plan a coffee date once or twice a month. I've been begging for that for.... years now. (I'd plan it but his work schedule can be rather erratic.) I get that he doesn't really feel the importance of it but at least he knows what I want from him. When asked what he wants from me he basically says "if you don't know then I'm not telling you." Then he goes on feeling unloved but doesn't tell me what he needs from me to help. I desperately want him to feel loved, like he's the most amazing husband in the world and that I respect and cherish him. But I don't know how! Any thoughts or suggestions?


At 7:14 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said…

That's a tough one. You know, generally what we want shows up in what we do. You've said that you are very specific about what you need (and sounds like he hasn't really heard that), but how does he come through for you? What does he do or say to show you he cares? It's likely those are the things he desires for himself.

Many times we think that we are communicating effectively, but we just aren't getting through. If your husband is a "SHOW me you love me" kind of guy, then it's likely that even though you have been clear in TELLING him what you need, it's all still Greek to him. Look for ways to SHOW him what you need.

I know that working around difficult schedules is difficult (and perhaps that is part of his problem as well), but perhaps to see you working it out is exactly what he needs to feel love AND you will be showing him what you need as well.

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About Me

Name: Sheila

Home: Belleville, Ontario, Canada

About Me: I'm a Christian author of a bunch of books, and a frequent speaker to women's groups and marriage conferences. Best of all, I love homeschooling my daughters, Rebecca and Katie. And I love to knit. Preferably simultaneously.

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