When I was first married, I strived for sterility. I wanted a clean house with washed laundry—and as much ordered chaos as possible in a family busy with three boys. This sterility seeped into my sexual relationship with my husband. My motto was, "We can make love—if the kids are asleep, the house is clean, and we're both freshly showered and in bed in a tidy room, with the lights down low and candles lit. Oh, and did you get your hair cut recently?" The problem was that the chance was slim to none that all these conditions existed at the same time!
Even if we were able to accomplish everything on my "must do before sex" list, we were much more likely to drop wearily on the couch instead of passionately into each other's arms.
Something had to give. I couldn't keep up with all my requirements and have the energy for intimacy. I needed to simplify.
Then a thought occurred to me: What would Chuck think if I suddenly let go and pursued lovemaking when things weren't perfect, when the dishes were left on the table?
This wasn't going to be easy. I needed a role model. I chose Eve.
I know, Eve ate the apple. But before that unfortunate moment, she stood in the garden, God's choice for Adam's partner. More than any other creature, she was pleasing to him in every way. I wondered what she had that I didn't. Then realized it was the other way around.
Eve didn't have a house to keep squeaky clean. Or a shopping list or one too many tasks to perform.
She lived with Adam in beauty among the animals, with pungent odors and earthy surroundings that offered trees for shelter and a bed of grass for comfort. There they found the beauty they needed in each other, setting the stage for them to enjoy God's gift of intimacy.
Was it possible I could expect less and get more? Less housework, more physical touch? Less tasking, more romance? What woman in her right mind would choose otherwise? But as an exhausted mother with young children, I wasn't in my right mind, so I needed to practice.
I started small. My initial thought, What if I let the dishes go until morning so we could get to bed earlier? was quickly followed by, But having a clean kitchen always makes me feel so much better.
Finally, my "right mind" kicked in. Really? A clean kitchen would make me feel better than if I spent the next hour with my husband, connecting in a God-given way designed to draw us together? Sorry, Jan, no kitchen can ever be clean enough to surpass that!