Monday, January 5, 2009

Whose House Is It Anyway?

On a beautiful summer day almost ten years ago, my husband and I set up housekeeping. Well, I set up housekeeping. I planned the color schemes, put up decorations, and positioned the furniture. My laid-back husband went along with all of this and life was grand. Until.....until we decided to repaint the living and dining rooms. I envisioned delicate floral wallpaper, transforming the utilitarian rooms into Victorian showcases.

"No." My husband cut my dreams short with a single word. I was a bit stunned. He went on, "I hate wallpaper. It's a pain to put up, and it doesn't look nice as long. We'll paint the rooms."

After a momentary grumble, I could see his point; and I wasn't eager to try out our novice wallpapering skills in my Victorian-style rooms. After all, there was an existing border in the room. I could work with that. My plans switched to soft, feminine paint colors.

"How about a light rose or a periwinkle blue?" I began musing aloud.
"We'll just paint all the rooms an off-white neutral color. We're not going to be here forever, and neutral colors sell better," was my husband's reply to that.

With a sigh, I conceded another excellent point. Off white paint with the floral border that was already there. O.K., I could live with that. But he wasn't finished...

"We'll have to remove or paint over the border that's there. If I try to tape it off when painting, it will ruin it completely since it's already peeling off here and..."

How is it that practical husbands can so easily kill dreams? Being the meek and submissive wife that I am, I smiled sweetly and said, "O.K., Dear" pitched a Christian fit. I was the lady of the house and chief decorator! How was it that my husband, a mere man would even want any say in the beautifying of our home?

The Lord began speaking to me as He has a way of doing. "Whose house it is anyway?" He probed gently. I sighed, "Well, of course it's Yours, Lord, but what does that have to do with anything? I mean, You want us to have an atmosphere of beauty, right? That's my feminine calling to make our home a place of beauty." "So it's My house and yours? Where does your husband come in?" Ouch. I was speechless before the Lord. Which was right where He wanted me--finally listening so He could talk for awhile.

A secular author I read once, called a man's habit of leaving his newspapers strewn on the floor, his shoes in the middle of the room and his coffee mug on the coffee table "marking his territory". Since I don't believe in evolution, I find that a bit demeaning, but there is some merit to it being his home, too.

On a strictly financial level, even if you and your husband pay for your home by making equal amounts of income and putting half each toward the mortgage payment and upkeep, shouldn't he at least have a say in decorating half of the rooms? How many of us wives--working for pay or working at home--let our husband have full control of the planning for 3 out the 6 rooms in our home, or 6 of the 12? That's only fair, right?

The end of the story is that there isn't an end to the story. Our home and our marriage are dynamic. The Lord is always working on us and changing us. Presently, our living room and dining room are painted off-white; however, the kitchen is wallpapered, my husband has his own den in the basement (decorated with brown paneling and carpet--very utilitarian), and I'm picking out soft, feminine paint colors for our upcoming bedroom paint job.

Most importantly, I try not to grumble when I pick up stray socks because I'm gently reminded again that it's his house, too. It's freeing, really. Instead of grumbling and immediately wiping up muddy footprints on my newly mopped kitchen floor, I can greet my husband with a passionate kiss and ask how his day went. Which sounds more fun to you?

What are your ideas for making a house an "ours" house? Please share in the comments!


  1. I kind of have this issue. More along the lines of my husband says that I cannot decorate as well as he and he is going to arrange things. I agreed as long as the kitchen is totally mine. He works hard outside of the home and when he comes home he wants this place to be his refuge (as do I) so he should have it as he likes.

  2. My hubby tends to not care much about the decorating aspect of our little home, but I do try to take into account that there is a man living in the home;-) So, I put feminine touches about, but try to keep it comfortable for him.

    The hardest thing I find is dealing with messes and clutter..that not only my children leave, but that my hubby will tolerate. It stresses me out and I'm not sure how to appoach it in a proper way. I don't want to be the "nag" or sound like his mother, but I also need to find a way to get my home's clutter and mess under control. Any suggestions? :-)

    By the way, wonderful idea for a blog and I sure am glad Kelly pumped it:-)


  3. Hello, I heard about your new blog from Kelly at Generation Cedar. Looks like you have a great thing going! I'll be checking in often :o)

  4. Hi there! I also heard about you from Kelly at Generation Cedar. You're off to a lovely beginning.

    I might have a little less of a challenge in decorating, for two reasons: one, I don't much care for frilly-fussy schemes, and two, we're a military family who moves too often to do much changing in any place we live!

  5. As much as I'm a feminist, I think I'm much more easier to handle than you housewives and here is why.

    As long as my walls are not bare and my floors are covered with carpet, wood flooring or tiles. I'm happy. I really hate wallpaper.

    If I were married, my husband could do what he likes with the flooring and walls as along as the floor was somewhat easy to clean, I'm happy.

    You see I refuse to be a slave to any man. He must put all his dirty washing the laundry basket, I will never run around after any man. Also, he would met flames of fire from messing up my mopped floor, he would never do it again. I can't understand how you housewives allow your husband to be messy pigs, honestly. Your men need to be house trained. It's not only about being the main breadwinner it's about respecting their homes and the person who looks after it. Messing up a clean home it's not respecting it or respecting the person who looks after it.

  6. Sarah said, "As much as I'm a feminist, I think I'm much more easier to handle than you housewives and here is why..."

    I disagree that you would be a wife who is "more easier to handle".

    This comment: "Also, he would met flames of fire from messing up my mopped floor, he would never do it again."


    "Your men need to be house trained." not sound like they come from a woman who is "more easier to handle."

    God's idea of a marriage is not about who is going to dominate, but it's about "Submitting yourselves one to another", each giving to the other, creating harmony and meeting the needs of both.

    Some husbands have a preference about how the house is decorated, and some just turn all that over to his wife. Jennifer's husband had preferences - and they were wise choices, under the circumstances - and Jennifer was wise to give in. Don't you think that took much more self-control and maturity than blowing up about it?

    I do.

  7. Tammy you need to re-read my post and understand it. Obviously, you failed to see there were two separate parts.

    I am more easier to handle, as I said originally, I'm not fussed about my wallpaper or my flooring:-) I would never explode over wallpaper or flooring, it's meaningless.

    Tammy, I would train my husband to treat my house with respect and not mess it up when I've just cleaned it! It's not about domination, it's about Respect. I wouldn't turn up at your house and turn everything upside down, that isn't respect, even if I was paying all your bills. It's rude for a husband to just throw things all over the place, just because he knows his wife will pick it up off the floor. I would ask him where his manners are.

    It's a sad thing that you cannot see the difference between respect and domination.