A Tale of Two Piles

A few weeks before Tom and I were married, I happened to look in his closet at his apartment.  I knew at first glance that I was in trouble.  I had never seen anything so organized and co-ordinated as that closet.  Every shoe had a stretcher in it to keep it in good condition.  Shirts were in one area, hanging in order of color.  Pants were in another section of the closet, again, in order of style and color. I had recently sat through a class on becoming a wife of noble character (Psalm 31).  I knew after that class that in some ways I was setting myself up for alot of failures before I saw any victories.  The closet confirmed it.

The only thing that Tom and I ever argued about, disagreed about or fought over in our first year of marriage was my lack of organization and cleaning skills.  Let me say up front that I knew exactly how to keep an organized, clean house - my mother's house was always neat and tidy and she taught me how to accomplish every task.  So it was an issue of character, not knowledge.  I had good intensions, but too often other things seemed more important than doing laundry or the dishes. 

The first pile was a mountain of laundry in the closet of our first apartment in Philadelphia.  I would have never guessed we even had enough clothes to make that pile grow to such heights.  But grow it did.  And day after day one week, I just ignored it, always thinking I would get to it later in the day or the next.  I don't remember the exchange.  Let's just say Tom made it very clear that that was an unexceptable way to live.   I wish I could say I humbly repented and we never had another such exchange.  But then this would be the tale of one pile.

The second pile was every dish in our home in Kenya.  Now you know already that we didn't have much there.  But we had enough to fill the counter surrounding both sides of the sink.  And unfortunately, the way the apartment was designed, the first thing every person saw, even before they entered the front door, was the kitchen.  It was next to the hallway and built with a wall of glass windows.  One day we were having some old friends over and for some reason I had not gotten around to doing the dishes.  So when Dave and Ann walked in they were greeted with our mound of dirty dishes.  I am sure I was embarrassed.  But Tom was more than that.  He was angry (and if you know him, Tom doesn't get angry easily).  We had another exchange.  This time, I can say I really did get more humble and I worked hard to make sure I did the dishes quickly after each meal.  And for those of you who are thinking that Tom should have been helping me, let me explain that he had begun doing alot of the laundry by hand at that point, so it was my character, not his, that was in question.

Here's the thing, though.  In that first year of marriage we moved into one apartment together and just as we were getting settled, we sold most everything, packed up and moved half way around the world to another apartment.  We left everything that was familiar and we were among the oldest members of the mission team that was in Nairobi.  There were 2 other young married couples.  So we didn't have alot of support from older, more mature married friends.  I believe God blessed us and helped us because we both tried really hard to love and please the other person.  We both looked long and hard at what the Bible taught us about how to be married and how to treat each other.  Later on we did have help and we have always benefited from that.  But those early days were amazing and I have to say that when I read this blog to Tom we both laughed so hard that we cried. I wish the same for you... 
Lori Ziegler3 Comments