He doesn’t like doing the dishes. He isn’t one of those got-it-together guys standing ready to fire up the grill for a family outing. Help around the house does not mean in the kitchen. That area is almost foreign to him—unless he hears his name called for mealtime.
Imagine my surprise today when my husband came into the kitchen unannounced and begin scraping leftovers from a large bowl into a small one. Then, after finding lids to fit each one, he put them into the refrigerator. I glanced at him and smiled, and turned quickly back to my dish washing lest I somehow stop this miracle in progress.
“I don’t know if I’m doing this right,” he said almost apologetically.
“I’m sure it’s perfect. Thanks.”
We finished our work and took a second cup of coffee to the deck to cool off and rest a bit.
“You will never know how very much it meant to me for you to make time to help me today. Just putting the food away was an encouragement. Besides that, I really enjoyed your company. Thanks again.”
It seems as the years pass, we have become more sensitive to each other’s needs and try to be helpful when possible. That’s a given for most families. Today he taught me by example a lesson I think we all could benefit from.
When offering your help, do not simply pick the things you enjoy and ignore the rest. For my husband, helping clean the kitchen ranks down at the bottom of his list—way down. Not only that, I know he had work of his own to complete in the other room; he wasn’t in the kitchen with me because he was bored.
Here is what I believe are three keys to (eventually) getting help around the home:
- When help is offered, take it as it comes. I will never tell my husband he covered my dish of scraps and refrigerated them! Neither will I spend time wishing he had done things a different way; my way is not always the right way. (Incidentally, that has been a really difficult lesson to learn for me. How about you?)
- Do not drag people kicking and screaming to help you. Ask politely for help when needed. If refused or ignored, make the best of it. Each year my husband seems to be more comfortable helping with the kitchen, laundry, or cleaning. I think asking him to do small things periodically for me in those areas has helped him feel more comfortable and equipped to help more. A man (or woman for that matter) does not feel secure trying to help in unfamiliar territory.
- Do not spend your time complaining about not having help. Be thankful for the abilities and resources God has provided for you and try to enjoy even the most menial daily tasks. Be thankful you have someone to share with and let them know they are more important that what they will or will not do.
A verse in the third chapter of Colossians comes to mind about now that seems to sum this all up:
“And whatsoever you do, do it heartily as unto the Lord, and not unto men.”
May your lives be enriched by those in your home and those you care for as you continue to bless others along the way.
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