Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Hospitality: Washing the laundry

More rainbows
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Practicing hospitality regularly is important to me, but it's a hundred times more important to my husband. For him it's about extraverting, about evangelism, about building community, about serving others, about training our children. All (except extraverting) things that I value, just that I might treasure the opportunity to practice them once a week whereas he could easily book our calendar to practice them twice a day. So he washes our laundry.
One of the many lessons we have learned about each other in the past 8.5 years is that I am much more capable of saying "yes" to an opportunity for hospitality if I am not stressed by a build up of tasks that need to be completed in maintaining our home. I find it easier to have guests over if I'm not wondering whether my daughter will have clean socks in her drawer when she needs them. Although it's not directly related, it is part of my job description and more urgent in my mind than inviting SoandSo to dinner tomorrow night. When he runs a load of laundry for me, the incomplete task moves toward "done" (even if I do still have to fold and put it away), making it that much easier for me to add on all the extra tasks that need to be completed if we're going to have guests at our table. He washes our laundry out of love for me and out of recognition that his service toward me makes it easier for me to practice hospitality more often.
There are other things which I value more than my husband values them, and steps I take to make it easier for him to say "yes". For example, for every improvement in the food we eat that costs us money (Real Salt costs significantly more than store brand), I try to implement a change that saves us money (cloth napkins have almost completely replaced paper in our home) (or at least when I'm not pregnant and energy is more valuable than money). He might not see the value yet of the extra dollars spent on that higher quality food, but he's also not seeing our budget escalating out of control because of it.
A really important point to take note of: I do not feel, nor have I ever felt that my husband is manipulating me into doing what he wants me to by running our clothing through the washer. I consider rather that he has listened to my concerns and is acting to address them, out of love for me.
Instead of being upset that someone in your life won't let you spend time/money on what you consider important, take the opportunity to listen to that person's concerns and address them. How can you serve that individual who is so important to you, making it easier for him/her to help you, or even simply allow you, to live out your values? If the concern is money, how can you cut costs? If the concern is time, what chores can you take off of the other person's plate? What is the expense which your husband/wife/housemate/family/whoever considers unacceptable and how can you reduce the cost of it? In other words, how can you express your love by acknowledging and placing a high value on the other person's concerns? It might make it possible for them to give you what you've been asking for.
Linked with Works for Me Wednesday, Encourage One Another Wednesday

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