You think I kid. But I don't. The #1 key to harmony* in my and Kevin's relationship is apartment cleanliness.
I have always felt a sense of satisfaction and peace at maintaining a clean, tidy home. I love the feeling after I vaccuum and polish the floors, clear and store the clutter, scrub down the bathroom and kitchen, and very importantly, wash all the dishes in the sink. Granted sometimes I would go embarrassingly long in between cleanings, but at least keeping the place clutter and grossness-free has always been a priority.
Now, when Kevin moved in, by far the most obvious problem we had adjusting to each other was our *drastically* different approaches to cleanliness.
It was war royale. For example, I can't stand a sink full of dirty dishes. He admits that this does not bother him (horrors).
(oddly, these look like clean dishes placed in a sink, but point is that a sink full of dishes drives me nuts)
I like to put my clothes away. He likes to use his clothes as floor covering. I like vacuuming up after our pugs. I don't think he realizes that they shed. It started to feel like this:
Source (huh, maybe I should buy this book)
It's not that Kevin doesn't appreciate the cleaning that I do--it's simply nowhere on his radar that something is messy. I think he's missing some kind of brain chip (I'm sure he would say the same about me). Things that I consider gross and unbearable don't bother him in the least, and most of the time he's not even conscious of it.
I tried backing off, he tried helping out more--it worked to a certain extent, but there was still a significant amount of tension. After one fight too many, Kevin suggested hiring a housekeeper. I balked. I thought it was indulgent, unnecessary, and a sign of laziness. I told him that I had time to clean and was perfectly capable of doing so. In perhaps one of the wisest moments that Kevin has had, he responded:
"Mina, it's not whether or not you have time to clean and can do it, it's a matter of how you'll feel about me after you do it."
He was so right. No matter how much I understood that he would never be Mr. Clean, I also understood that I would never, ever be the type of person to do all the cleaning for someone else and not resent it.
So we hired A to clean the apartment, and I am absolutely in love with not only the wonders she works upon our apartment, but also with how she has benefited our relationship. It's something that we don't have to argue about (much). I still do most of the housekeeping in between the times that A comes, but Kevin has his own chores (taking out trash and recyclying, walking the dogs multiple times a day, etc.).
Anything you did for your relationship that has brought significant peace?
*I say this is jest. Of course there are other things that make our relationship go 'round. I mean, we do all sorts of things together, like watch TV and surf the internet side by side.