Pick Which Wife You Want
By Sabrina McDonald
One of my favorite memes says, “My house isn’t messy. These piles are great ideas waiting to happen.”
My house has piles! There are piles on the couch where I study. Piles of research in my office. There are piles of unfinished crafts in the workroom. Piles of dishes in the sink and piles of dirty clothes in the laundry room. When I ran out of space for my book-hoarding piles, I started stacking them next to a chair. (That way people think it’s trendy decorating.)
I aspire to remove the piles every week, but with kids and a husband contributing, I never catch up! Someone said, “A perfectly kept house is the sign of a misspent life.”
Yes! I have words to write and memories to make. Still, those piles stare at me, mocking me.
Recently, my friend Merry gave me some ease. Early on in her marriage, she felt the pressure to have an immaculate home, clean mannerly children, and a thriving social life. I’m guessing it’s like any of us feel, no matter our gender—pulled nearly apart by our various hats and priorities. But she was practical enough to realize the impossibility.
So she gave her husband a hypothetical choice. She said, “Imagine you can choose what you want. You can have a spotless house; delicious, home-cooked meals; or well-adjusted children. But you can only have one. Which one do you want?”
Sure—on the good days, Merry’s family may benefit from all three. But establishing spoken priorities helped arrange her life around what mattered most to both of them.
They're all important, and if I had unlimited time and energy I'd pick all three. But I don't.
And neither do most of us.
Jesus agrees. In Luke 10:40-42, Mary sat listening to Jesus while Martha begrudgingly tackled the housework. Martha said, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”
And He said, “You are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her” (NIV).
BOOM! Mic drop.
My friend’s husband knew what was good. He chose well-adjusted children. So, when Merry threw a frozen pizza in the oven, she didn’t apologize. Or when the cups ran out because the dishes ran over, she didn’t hear “Loser!” screaming in her head.
I don’t know about you, but that makes me feel pretty good about my piles.
The good stuff: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. (Luke 12:34)
Action points: What chores make you feel guilty when you skip them? Are they worth it? What kind of expectations does your spouse have about practical priorities? How can you help him or her lower these expectations if necessary? If Jesus talked to you instead of Martha, what would He say?
Visit the FamilyLife® Website