Saturday, February 28, 2009

I'm a clean freak married to an inveterate slob, my husband. Sometimes murderous rage arises, divorce comes to mind or separate domiciles...but then lonliness would be an issue. Then it all dissolves with other concerns until the next time arises. What should I do?

Talk with your husband, preferably when you're in a calm state of mind, about how you need more help with housecleaning (rather than telling him he has to help you) and enlist his help in coming up with a solution that addresses your need.

Negotiate. Perhaps there are things you do that drive him crazy and he'd be willing to make changes if you would too.

Consider the responsibilities your husband does take on (hopefully there are some and if not perhaps this needs to be explored) and let him know you appreciate his efforts.

Hire someone to come in regularly to clean and tidy up the house. If you can afford to do this you can turn your attention to other matters and take some negative energy off the relationship.

From a more psychological standpoint what are the thoughts that are running through your mind during and leading up to the murderous rage feelings? How are you interpreting the fact that he hasn't kept things neat and clean? Is he sending you a message, and if so, what? Who was responsible for keeping the house clean and organized in your family of origin and what kind of impact did this have on you? The answers to these questions may reveal deeper issues for you to reflect on personally and/or to begin a more intimate conversation with your husband.

Consider what having the house clean and neat does for you. For instance, for some people a neat, clean and calm environment is a way to manage anxiety. Others are unconcerned and unaffected.

It's always good to think about how important this issue is when considered in the context of your whole relationship. What if your partner is not going to change in this respect? If you value your partner and your relationship is good in many ways is it wise to continue to be invested in his changing? Or would it be better to work toward acceptance of your differences and finding ways to dissipate your anger and any arguments that arise from it?

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