things about marriage

Messy vs. Neat and Dirty vs. Clean

Are you a messy person? How about a clean person? These are two different things that often get lumped into the same category, but are in fact very different. I love hearing about the differences between spouses on various issues, especially ones that men and women tend to fall towards one side or the other.

Whit and I are not a stereotypical couple – by ANY means. We are very different from other people and I am not a typical “girl” with the usual pros and cons that come with being a wife. On the other hand, Whit isn’t typical either.

Before I married Whit I knew that he was neat and orderly. His room emanated the color blue, which was overwhelming in one sense, but everything was forever and always in its place. His bed was (normally) made, his desk had things put away neatly, and nothing was on the floor that didn’t need to be there. I, on the other hand, am a P on the Myers-Briggs scale and that makes me more of a laid back person. I can set something on the floor and forget it’s there three weeks later. It just doesn’t bother me. I think that both qualities, being clean and being messy, have positives. For example, I can function in a room with mess. I can move on with my life and get to other responsibilities. Of course, my mom always told me that I would be able to think better and be less stressed in a room that’s orderly, and I absolutely believe that.

Since being married to Whit, my proclivity towards neatness has definitely changed. I love to pick things up around the house because it makes me feel happier. This change didn’t occur until week after week of picking up my things so that Whit would feel happier; but now I do too. It’s kind of annoying because I’m more annoyed by clutter than I used to be! I loved not caring! I am still way messier than Whit though.

The other scale is cleanliness versus dirtiness. Whit would never leave his shoes or socks on the floor, but he would wash his towels once a semester if it was up to him. He doesn’t ever complain about crumbs on the floor or dust on the cabinets. Cleaning has always been fun for me, at least certain tasks. I love to see a visible change from gross, dirty grime to being sparkly and fresh. I do all the cleaning around our house, because I care more about it, and Cru gives me one day per week to spend at home cleaning and doing other such tasks.

Overall we have found a good balance, but it’s taken me three years to get used to picking up after myself. I still don’t do it automatically – I could never relinquish the freedom of coming home and throwing all my bags on the floor, but I enjoy tidying up before I go to bed or before Whit gets home if I’m there before him. I keep our home clean, but it doesn’t matter if I miss a week… or three.

The other thing I’ve had to change is cleaning before we go out of town. Another habit my mom instilled in me is cleaning the house before you go out of town so it’s nice and fresh when you return. We don’t always have time to do this, and Whit doesn’t think it’s important, so I have learned to only vacuum or sweep the floors if everything else is done and we have time.

What are your preferences for neatness or cleanliness? How do they differ from your spouse’s preferences?

One thought on “Messy vs. Neat and Dirty vs. Clean

  1. I am a neat and dirty person if I had to categorize. I can handle dirt more than germs though – gotta disinfect!! I just cleaned today cause we’re going out of town tomorrow 🙂

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