“The couple that chores together snores together,” I told them. As they laughed I blurted, “I’ve got to write a blog post about that!”
Because it’s true.
Working together, resting together
My wife is better at chores than I am. It’s not that she’s more skilled at the tasks. Some she is and some I’m more apt to handle.
She’s better at getting chores done. I see things that need doing and embrace the law of entropy. She sees things that need doing and gets in there to do them. Entropy has met its match in her. And so have I.
For me, though, it’s not a matter of facing defeat but in being truly well-matched. We work well alongside each other, whether for chores at home (I’m very good with a vacuum cleaner and can skim the leaves off a pool with the deftest of hands) or running errands around town. And that’s where we truly work side by side.
When we drive around town running errands we sit next to each other in the car. Working out the best route to take, which place is open first and which is less crowded later, how to make sure anything perishable is picked up last – these are all part of our chores as well.
Putting in the time together not only gets things done, but it brings us into close contact with one another, and we get to talk through what’s been going on in our lives through the week. When a married couple willingly – even eagerly – puts in that kind of time together in common cause it can’t help but lead to snoring together.
And by snoring together I mean they sleep with each other. Not with other people. Each other.
Putting in the work together is the manifestation of a commitment to one another and to the reality that what they are together is not just a couple but a single unit. As Jesus said:
“But at the beginning of creation God ‘made them male and female.’ ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two, but one flesh.” (Mark 10:6-8.)
A lot of people enter marriage not knowing what this “one flesh” thing means. I was among them. A lot of people then go through their marriages never learning what it means. I’m glad I’m not among them.
It’s not that I have marriage completely figured out and dialed in. It’s that I have learned over the last 30 plus years that marriage is not a matter of two individuals operating as co-workers but rather a matter of operating in union. It’s two people acting as one in a sense unknown in any other human relationship. (See, for example, Marriage Is Not A Democracy.)
When two become one, there is no room for another to enter the equation. The snoring together illustration is a reality in that when people put in the work of marriage together they will also put in their rest together, and it happens literally in the case of sleeping together. Sleeping with someone else is out of the question because it’s out of the union.
It’s that union that makes all the difference, and the union is strongest when it is sealed by the Holy Spirit. It’s our shared relationship with God that led us initially to look into a relationship with one another, and it’s that same sharing that leads us to do chores and errands together.
We like each other’s company and want to be together. This doesn’t mean we are joined at the hip 24 hours a day. Our joining is a spiritual matter. Rather, the physical time together is a companion of that spiritual reality, and it leads us into deeper joining as the years together progress. Time apart makes us appreciate more the time together, but it’s time together – whether at work or at rest – where love is planted and watered and grows.
Love is in the chores and love is in the snores.