Can you really apply cleaning methods for a good relationship? Of course you can! Or at least you could try keeping your relationship more clean than dirty.
Picture this: you’ve been dating for a while and your love story seemed to be directly taken out from glamorous Hollywood movies. So, seeing how good you are together and how well you match and click, you’ve decided you should give your relationship a long term chance. Maybe you got married or maybe you just moved in together and things started going down a milder path, as you both still enjoy being together, the sex is still great, your friends love you both and you found new peace together in a new apartment. But moving a step forward in a relationship, just like moving in a new house, requires a little bit of extra work, as you don’t want your shiny new things to get dusty or rusty too soon, don’t you?
So you live together now. But before you moved in together, didn’t the both of you use to do some cleaning? Sort out old and useless things, throw them out, get rid of lots of debris? Of course you didn’t bring all those old dirty boxes and bags containing stuff you never used or remembered you even had into the new house.
So let’s take a leap of imagination into this metaphor and think about the similarities between cleaning a house and cleaning a relationship. Making the new space more breathable and free means a lot of cleaning and throwing away stuff we don’t need anymore. Same goes for long term relationships and marriages that shouldn’t get suffocated by useless stuff, be allowed to go dusty and rusty too early, or ever. Vacuuming the floors is easy. But how can you air and wash off your couple life? Here are 10 cleaning methods for a good relationship you can try to apply.
1. Cleaning is a continuous process
You’ve vacuumed, dusted, cleaned the carpets, changed the sheets and got rid of the spider webs. Last week. This week the dust is back again. So weekly cleaning (or daily cleaning, in some cases – especially if you have a fluffy pet that sheds) is quite mandatory. And you both do it, each with his own house chores, without finding it odd that you have to do it on a regular basis.
Same principle goes quite well for relationships, too. Is one of you getting lazy and leaving the things that can be done today to be done tomorrow? That’s one of a relationship’s worst enemies. Have you both decided you’ll do the cleaning today? Have you both decided you’ll do something nice in the evening that makes both of you happy? Do it and don’t get lazy. Routine, postponing, procrastination – these are the sources of ‘mildew’ that attack a relationship and can’t be removed just by wishful thinking.
2. Cleaning works better with the right attitude
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If you wake up in the morning and the dishes are dirty, the floors need a serious mopping, the dust seems to have become your third room-mate and you look at this mess thinking that it’s the other one’s fault, then things are rather on the wrong path.
If you starting cleaning with a depressed and angry mood, you’ll soon end up thinking that if the other person would have tried to be more organized and more attentive to taking care of things around the house, you wouldn’t be in this dreadful situation right now. This situation is similar to waking up in the morning and realizing that there is something wrong with your relationship and suddenly becoming furious or down because you’re convinced that the other one has some guilt in all this.
Try this: instead of whining, complaining, and placing blame in a destructive manner, why not tell your partner every day at least one thing you appreciate about him / her? Next time you want to whine about the house not being clean enough, remember all the other qualities that make up for your price of admission, which internationally famous relationship consultant and sex columnist Dan Savage advises us all to bear in mind. Start the day with the positive attitude and dust will go away in the blink of an eye.
3. Cleaning means freshening the air
Few people believe they can do the cleaning without one or two open windows that help clean the air and refresh the atmosphere. The same thing can be said about cleaning methods for a good relationship. Couples face problems, both big and small, and for a wide range of reasons.
Most of the time they don’t talk about them and let them pass by themselves, believing that many will inherently vanish into thin air and disappear for good. Unfortunately, these problems leave some invisible traces that float around you, making the air in your relationship stuffy and giving you headaches, just as you’d get by sleeping in an oxygen-deprived room. Open a window for both of you, talk about the little issues that don’t let you breathe in peace, clean the atmosphere by taking some time for yourself, and talk things through.
4. Cleaning is team work
So this week-end you both agreed that some cleaning and ordering must be on the schedule, as you too lazy lovebirds have procrastinated enough. Split up the chores and responsibilities and you go, team! Did you accidentally step on something left behind on the floor by the other person? Is your partner shouting from the bathroom, going on and on about toothpaste caps and toilet seats? Are you moving the furniture while the other one is mooching about, arranging glasses on the shelf?
Cleaning can lead to serious fights that usually start with “you never…” and “you always…” A relationship, just as a cleaning day, certainly doesn’t function according to such principles. Team work means respect, accepting responsibilities and compromise, no matter if you’re working toward building a bridge or a marriage. And starting your sentences with the lines above is a mistake many people make, without grasping the long term negative effects it can produce. Replace “you never clean the toilet” and “you always ignore my needs” with “I think that we…” or “I’d like for us to…”
Just as the experts from Psych Central say
If communication cannot be improved, then there is no relationship to begin with. Being a couple means being a team and working on things together and growing together.
5. Cleaning means getting rid of the debris
Once in a while, some heavy-duty throwing or Spring Cleaning the Relationship is mandatory: old shoes, old food cans, old items that you just don’t need anymore, but stuff your house and give it a messy look. So, what do you do? Open the closets, take out the boxes, take out the drawers and start putting all the unnecessary junk into garbage bags.
A relationship also asks for some heavy debris discharge. What does that mean? Certainly not yelling at each other, with tons of reproaches, throwing old and unresolved problems into each others faces and digging out dissatisfaction, heartbreak and pain from the past. Heavy duty cleaning means talking about what you feel, what bothers you and the solutions you see to unaccomplished plans and unresolved issues. All calm and clean, as this exercise is meant to keep your relationship healthy, not put it down.
6. Cleaning means making room for new things
Why do we clean the house and throw away useless stuff? To make room for the useful stuff or to bring in new stuff! In a relationship, try not to forget to bring something new to it, as well as to value its most useful and pleasurable features. Any house sometimes needs a new carpet to replace the old one.
And every relationship needs a new hobby, a new adventure or a rebooted old routine to make it enjoyable again. In terms of making room for new things in the relationship and put the magic back into it, plan some activities together or plan your daily schedule so both of you can benefit from some quality time together. Intimacy, affection, respect, fun, and romance are kept alive and breathing by two people. Always remember it takes two to tango.
7. Cleaning means investing attention and effort into some areas
A house has many spots, areas, and corners that are easy to clean and put into order, but it also has lots of other ones which are almost impossible to access and clean out. Not everybody moves the fridge on a weekly basis to clean under it, but sometimes you just have to do it. It takes time, a lot of effort, some special cleaning products perhaps, some focus on the job, patience and perseverance.
In the same manner, some spots and corners of your relationship shine bright and smell like roses, while others, less accessed, less worked on, may become dirty and host mildew or even pests. So if you have a great sex life, communicate well, and are happy in the company of one another, but fail to see eye to eye when it comes to movie tastes or hobbies, this dark corner perhaps deserves some work. And this is just one of the many possibilities, let’s just leave it to the experts to analyze the bad habits that ruin our relationships. Identify that area of your relationship that doesn’t quite look like the most expensive, luxurious piece of jewelry in the world and start polishing those diamonds.
8. Cleaning means respect for the house and for yourself
You clean because you want to keep the house and the house appliances in a perfect state of esthetics, efficiency, and healthy functionality. A clean house means showing respect for the environment you live in, the objects you use, yourself, and the other person you live with.
So, in a relationship, respect is one of the main values that can be built on. “Please” and “thank you” are often forgotten, especially in a long term relationship, but using them doesn’t mean you are a hypocrite who just plays nice for the sake of politeness. In all seriousness, who, after 10 years of a relationship or marriage doesn’t occasionally forget to say “please”, before “get me a cup of coffee”
But using these simple words is not just about keeping social conventions. It’s about nurturing respect for the relationship, for you as a person and for the other one as a partner. They can work magic in an instant so don’t forget to mind your manners in your couple!
9. Cleaning means using proper cleaning products
We should have started with this one first, as it’s one of the most important cleaning methods for a good relationship. Do you dust the furniture with toilet cleaning products or with abrasive powder? Probably not. Just as you don’t vacuum the bathroom sink and you don’t clean the carpet with grease removing dish-wash liquid. Every spot in the house should be treated accordingly, in the right manner, with the right products.
A relationship goes pretty much the same way. Some situations can be solved with humor, others with silence, others with a serious talk. Universal cleaning products may work for windows and floors but they can also just make more of a mess if used improperly. The same goes for relationships. Don’t abuse the “I love you” until making it sound so mundane and dull and a universal cure-all for any situation. Similarly, you can’t just crack a joke about everything.
Dose your cleaning products right and choose the ones that fit best – and by products we mean words, attitudes and behaviors. Here are some interesting 10 Rules for Effective Communication With Your Spouse you’d like to take a look over.
10. Cleaning means getting some professional help
Is your house filled with bugs? You call pest control. Did you just move into a place that was last cleaned at the end of the Second World War? You call a professional cleaning service. Can you wash a stadium-sized carpet? No, but you can call specialized people, who will take the carpet out, clean it, and bring it back to you all shiny and new.
In real life, this means that getting some help in a relationship is just like hiring somebody to give you a hand with cleaning. They won’t do it for you for the rest of your life, no matter if this is how it looks at first, but they will be there to help you in your times of need. So getting professional help to make a relationship work is not a shame, nor a crime, not an act of desperation. If it is infected with pests, you need to get a pest treatment plan, follow through with it and get things done. Here are The 5 Principles of Effective Couples Therapy in case you feel compelled to do some research before denying help and its results and throwing away a precious jewel just because it got some rust on it.
Have you ever tried any of these cleaning methods for a good relationship? What other tips and relationship advice can you share with the rest of our readers? We’d love to hear more about your experiences in the comment section.