When Silvio and I first got married, I had all these romantic expectations of the kind of wife I would be and the kind of home I would keep. I would never lose my patience with Silvio, I would always have an immaculately clean house (and I would clean up Silvio’s things with great love), I would have a new delicious meal prepared every single day, and I would always make the choice to be happy no matter what.
….well, that was a nice story, but I’m human.
I think that even though my conscious expectations have relaxed a lot, I am still driven by those guidelines so that when I don’t meet them, I am controlled by guilt and a sense of failure.
I have a tendency to keep doing things until I can’t. My habit has been to keep, keep, keep going until I inevitably burn myself out and then I have to stop everything and recover. When I do, I start over and end up back down again.
When Silvio married me and saw this habit up close and how toxic it was to me, he urged me to take breaks. Even if it meant that the dishes stayed dirty on the counter for two days, even if it meant he ate nothing but eggs and leftovers. He wanted me to take care of myself and be happy. I had thought that taking care of him with every ounce of my strength was how I could love him best. Instead, loving him meant taking care of my physical and emotional well being so that we had a peaceful home. He wanted this for me because he loves me. But also, he will be genuinely happier if he has a happy wife than if he merely has fancier food.
My choir is doing two concerts this weekend, and so my week has been taken up by multiple hours a day away traveling and rehearsing. Once, I’d have scrambled to get everything done before I had to leave so that I didn’t get behind because of all this time away. I would then be burnt out at the end of concert week, drained from the going rather than filled by the music. This week has been different. I’ve worked when I had the energy to, but I’ve also relaxed and let be. I’ve enjoyed the music. I’ve enjoyed life and I’ve enjoyed Silvio.
I thanked Silvio the other day for teaching this to me, and for eagerly eating the same exact casserole every single day for a week. I thanked him for helping me to rise above my misconceptions about what makes a perfect home. He said, “My perfect home is where my wife is.”
That’s all that matters. My perfect home is where my husband is, where my family is. And while housework is necessary, the more I take care not to place it on too high a pedestal, the more available I will be to love my family in the way they need it most.