Russ frequently uses the expression “Teamwork makes the Dreamwork” with our grandkids and it certainly has been the underlying theme of how we approach tasks and chores in this home we have built together.
But team work also happens within the context of deep respect for boundaries and understanding where those rest with one another. After some encounters that produced tension, we fell into some natural boundaries for our marriage.
Basically if it is outside, it falls under Russ; if it is inside, it falls under me.
I mentioned laundry issues that resulted in a shrunken sweater yesterday, but I can also share about lawn mowers that had to go to the shop because one of us (me) who was trying to be helpful and mow managed to pull the dang string thing clean out of the gizmo where it is supposed to go in and out to start the motor.
Another thing I learned was that washing the cars was something Russ had certain ideas about and he learned that I had my own ways of running a kitchen, laundry room and cleaning.
So our “boundary lines fell in pleasant places” (nabbed that from Psalm 16:6 which isn’t what it is talking about, but in a way is….) and we respected those boundaries.
If Russ wanted to wash his car rags and there were items in the washer, he would ask me to let him know when the washer was free instead of assuming he could just leave in a basket or throw in the dryer and set the heat willy nilly.
I trusted him to mow when needed, and respected his request to not leave things on the grass as it turns it brown. If seed needed to be watered while he was away, I covered that task and so on.
We also have learned that seasons sometimes have caused us to have to shift the boundary lines. This seems to fall more on him than me, it would seem. For instance when my body has failed me in the past few years with back, shoulder and knee problems, he has graciously taken over the vacuuming.
He will shoo me out of the kitchen some times when he sees me limping and tell me to go ice my knee and he will clean up. Now any of you who might be tempted to pull the feminist card here and say he should, you need to know that I am a bit territorial about the kitchen and actually enjoy the tasks of cooking and clean up…so it can be hard to kick me out of the process. But he does it with kindness and love.
Since the garage falls under “outside” duty, he has been the one to declutter, rearrange and keep clean over the years. But he asks and so do I before we determine something is no longer needed.
Your house may run different then ours.
I have women friends who do not like to cook, or don’t like to go to grocery, or are handy dandy out in the yard with the mower and the paint brush. Some husbands are in the kitchen and some wives are painting the fence.
It isn’t the actual task that matters, it’s the respecting of boundaries and what areas each person feels to be something that is an individual responsibility as part of the team.
I think of a sport team.
Players have positions they must keep. Players are not coaches and coaches are not players. If everyone stays in their boundary and respects the boundaries of others, while being willing to help out as needed, it’s a beautiful recipe for winning.
We learned our areas by trial and error. Sometimes we had to speak up and sometimes our tense silence was the messenger that boundaries had been crossed. And we have had to learn to adapt and be flexible when a short season or a life shift causes us to reevaluate those lines and make adjustments.
Once again I say what I have been saying all along…we didn’t do it perfectly, we just did it consistently and life is smoother for the effort.
See you tomorrow friends! I have some chores to do on my side of the boundary line today <3