From a Friday a few weeks ago: Marriage and Messiness.

This week happened. And when I say that it happened I mean, "Wait, this week already happened?" With work, conferences, great conversations, late game nights, papers to write, community service, home groups, and "There and back again" travels, the hubs and I are stunned to find it's already the late hours of a Friday night. The best way Brett and I spent our time tonight was by taking thirty minutes (okay, 45-190 minutes) to clean up the strung out explosion of clothes, suitcases, and books littered across our bedroom floor.The result of a week well spent.

Home is messy lately...and all I can think in times like this is, Will my husband always help me clean up my messes like this? When will I have to start bribing him with back massages and date nights to the library? There are days when we don't feel like cleaning. And lately it has become the Stine way to just let it be... which is really hard for me cause if I had it my way everything would get messed up then symmetrically returned to it's color coordinated/pinterest-fashioned/super-neato spot.

Brett likes to remind me that we live in our home, which is why it's allowed to get messy. And we're allowed to leave it that way sometimes. And I like to pretend that I can't hear what he's saying.

I'm learning to let go of my Put-me-in-a-Martha-Stuart-magainze home... because it's not a real thing. I've learned to be at peace with dirty dishes piling up in the sink when my mom visits us. I've also learned that it's okay to not hastily clean up the nuclear wardrobe combustion in my room when we have guests over, but instead, to close our bedroom door so no one can see it. Whether people come over or not I come home after work and meticulously clean up the kitchen table where we (Brett) tend to dump OUR LIVES and every book in our (his) library. I'm still working on letting that last one go sometimes. But only sometimes.

Shauna put messes in their place a few weeks ago. Here's her dreamy way of saying what I mean:

"Everyone’s mess is different, but everyone has a mess.

Maybe people will see that your marriage is in a rough and prickly season. Or that all is not well with your kids. Maybe people will see that your financial life is strained to the point of breaking, or that you really have no idea how to cook because your family growing up didn’t gather for meals, and maybe that makes you feel self-conscious. Maybe when you look around the house all you see are the things that are undone, mismatched, chipped and worse for wear. I get it. There have been seasons when I’ve felt like our mess is more than I can manage inviting people into.

But this is the deal: the only way through is courage, vulnerability, connection. If you decide to keep your front door closed to keep people from seeing your mess, you’ll end up isolated behind those doors, and that privacy you think you so desperately need will become a prison of its own. People will never see the mess, but they’ll never see the beauty, either—the beauty of being known, seen, accepted, loved."

                                                                                                             -Shauna Neiquest

After a clean up, a slow dance, and a stab at watching Downton Abbey, Brett and I are retiring tonight with a big sigh and somewhat zombie looking bloodshot eyes that would make Hollywood run for it's money. I'm glad we cleaned just a little bit this week... and took time to keep our front door open and our mess available.

Stacie Stine

Design Jamboree, Denton, Texas, United States