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J and I are having the BEST time cleaning the house together on Saturday mornings.

I know.

I approached him with this proposal a few weeks ago in desperation. Try as I might (and, oh, FlyLady, how I tried!), doing more than the barest maintenance on a daily basis wasn’t working. My problem is not time, but energy. I have to choose what I’ll do in a day, and when it comes down to it, it’s more important to both of us that I meditate, pray, exercise, journal, go to health appointments, and read (all of which consume massive amounts of energy) than it is for me to shoulder the full housekeeping load. Neither of us was willing to give up any of those deeply important activities for me, and J was getting worn out playing catch-up in the evenings, so we agreed to try doing all the housework in one fell swoop over the weekend.

It worked. The burden doesn’t feel only half as big now, it feels one-tenth as big. There’s just something about the energy of working together that makes the whole thing FUN. J blew me away when he turned to me this Saturday and said with feeling, “I really, really like this routine. I love doing this with you.” What?!

That just goes to show how wrong a girl can be. I felt like I was proposing some kind of drudgery, something he would resent.  (I’m always afraid of J resenting me; it’s just one of my things. I hate feeling like I’m not pulling my fair share of the load, whatever that is, and I think I must be externalizing that judgement of myself. It’s crazy.) But there we were, working together, putting our shoulders to the plow, and enjoying it.

So, on Saturday mornings these days, we sleep in, we cuddle, we saunter up the street to our favorite breakfast spot and enjoy an oh-so-leisurely meal with fabulous conversation, then we stroll back home, roll up our sleeves, and start scrubbing. One-and-a-half hours later, we’re done; the apartment is gorgeous. And somewhere in there, even the paperwork gets scanned, filed, mailed, or whatever else it needs! Now that is a miracle. I’ve been looking for ages for a way to make a paperwork routine for myself, and then — poof! — it just happened. It felt so natural to toss it in, and now that I’m doing it every week, it’s a piece of cake.

Then we get to enjoy the fruits of our co-labor. We admire our apartment. Sometimes we improve it a little. This weekend we installed wall lamps (photo coming). Or we watch a movie. Or meditate together. Or have friends over.

It puts a big smile on my face. I’m so thankful for this simple gift. What is it about working with someone you love that’s so satisfying and rewarding? And it’s not just about physical labor either! When J and I work together on our relationship or communication or just areas of personal growth, there’s a similar spirit. What a great gift. What joy.

This routine may not last forever; perhaps this is just a season, but it’s a season I want to notice and appreciate as long as it’s here. I want to remember this feeling and use it for my encouragement. One obvious application is the prospect of parenthood, the Great Unknown that, when I listen to what most people want to tell me about it, scares the pookie out of me. Yet, what is good parenting but partnering with your Love to accomplish some of the greatest work of your lives? What could be a more rewarding and satisfying co-labor than to help these strange little beings, these fascinating people who are so not you, begin developing into the glorious people God created them to be, and at the same time, to plunge headlong into the fire yourselves on that very same Quest?

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