Q & A

A Clutterbug, a Workaholic and an Insanely Jealous Wife

After three years of marriage, my wife turned into an incredible clutter-bug. She buys tons of junk and never gets rid of anything. Life is more and more stressful because we're overrun with stuff and can never find anything. We can't even clean properly because of mountains of clutter. The mess is threatening our relationship. What should I do?

It seems odd that your wife would suddenly change. More likely, you were always somewhat opposite in housekeeping style. But during courtship and your honeymoon stage, you were probably fascinated or amused by each other's idiosyncracies. It's when you live with them over a long period of time that habits get on your nerves. Remember why you fell in love in the first place? Your differences are part of the joy and blessing of coming together. If you turn your wife into you, life together won't be nearly as much fun.

So keep your sense of humor and keep in mind that your wife's personality and style are different—not bad. Some people are neat; some aren't. One woman told me that her family life changed the day she heard me say, "No kid in America ever died of a messy room." "I quit picking on my kids," she told me. "When I realized that neatness was a minor issue, my personality changed and I was able to be close to my kids." Housework is not an issue that should be allowed to erode your marriage.

If you tend to be more organized, perhaps you can help with clutter control just by getting some closets and storage spaces organized. Shelving, labeled files in file cabinets, a system for sorting the recycling—having a place for things to go often helps contain the clutter. Head to one of those "organization" stores and splurge!

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Jealousy; Marriage; Organization; Work
Today's Christian Woman, Winter, 1998
Posted September 12, 2008

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