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Toilet Seats and Dirty Socks

Every woman has her pet-peeves about being a wife and homemaker. Most often pet-peeves are little, insignificant things that really should be of no consequence to us. They wouldn’t matter so much if it weren’t for the fact that they are present and persistent day-in and day-out. It seems like no matter where you go there it is staring you in the face, taunting you and scraping away at your delicate nerves.

Pet-peeves. We all have them. Even the most adoring and doting wife has something that gets under her skin. And most often it is centered around the person we love the most – our husbands!

For many women it may be the simple fact that their husband is always leaving the toilet seat up. This seems to be a common complaint among women. Fortunately, this is one that doesn’t really bother me too much. After growing up in a home with 6 brothers, it was just common knowledge to me that guys don’t put toilet seats down. And really, why should they? Having the seat down is for our convenience, not theirs. How many of us women would be at fault if we had to remember to put the seat up when we’ve finished, so that the men in our family wouldn’t be inconvenienced?

This particular complaint is not a pet-peeve of mine. But I certainly have others that make up for it. Dirty socks would probably be my biggest one – especially when they’re all inside out.

Here, living in a village in Africa, all our clothes are washed by hand, which means I have to touch and handle each and every one of my husbands dirty socks, roll them right-side out, and wash them in a bucket of water which very quickly turns brown and grimy.

That is definitely a pet-peeve of mine. The thought of having to wash the socks really bothers me. It makes me cringe when I see him taking off his socks or when I find several pairs piling up in the laundry. I loath having to wash them and will often put it off several days, doing all the other laundry long before getting around to doing the socks.

Sometimes I feel like asking him to wash his own socks, or to make a remark about how he really should flip the socks right-side out when he’s done taking them off. Sometimes, I feel like being “smart” or sarcastic to try and drive the point in. But is that really loving or respectful? And would it really make a difference? Sure he would try for a while to make an effort in this area. . .but it’s not a habit that’s going to be easily broken, because it’s not a habit that he’s disturbed about. If anything’s going to change in regards to this pet-peeve, it’s going to have to be something that changes on my part.

And change it has!

Something happened recently that has been changing my feelings and perspective on this matter, and it all started when we received word that one of our friends – a fellow missionary – has died of a heart-attack. He was still fairly young and his death was very sudden and very unexpected.

The next time I was doing laundry I found myself thinking about the wife of this man – now a widow. My heart ached for her. I imagined her having to wash her husbands clothes, crying all the while because it would be the last time. I wondered what it would feel like, and suddenly realized that even with how much I loath washing my husbands socks, if he were to die and there would be no more of his clothes to wash – there would be a huge void in my life.

So now, as I turn his socks right-side out and begin scrubbing them in a bucket of grimy water, instead of cringing and getting upset, instead, I find myself very thankful, grateful, and happy that my beloved is still around to be dirtying them.

Every wife has her pet-peeves – putting down the toilet seat, picking clothes off the floor, handling his dirty socks – whatever it is, it’s time to turn the cringe into a smile, and the sigh into a word of thanks.

Thank you, Lord, that my husband is still alive and with me! And as annoying as these little “peeves” can be to me, thank you that they can also serve as reminders to me of how blessed I am to still have him in my life!