A recent conversation reminded me of something I learned from a client a long time ago. She, preferring tidiness in the home, described the stress of living with a husband who preferred to drop mail and clothes wherever they landed, and leave dishes in the sink to “soak.” I, being a neatnik, said something like “That’s not very considerate of him.” Her reply? “Or maybe it’s not considerate of me to lobby for tidiness which makes him uncomfortable.”

The lesson? Just because I prefer tidiness doesn’t mean it’s the more virtuous living style. For my client, it did require finding a way to live together with her spouse, somehow satisfying the needs of both. Not an easy task, I’ll grant you. But best resolved with respecting each person’s viewpoint as legitimate. Just as we appreciate the ‘good enough’ parent, life may require us to value the ‘good enough’ relationship.

It’s a lesson that can generalize to things close and distant, individual and group, even politics. As far as I know, she and her husband are still together, continually searching for the balance, but finding peace and love worth the effort.

Posted April 13, 2012 by Mona Gustafson Affinito in Uncategorized

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6 responses to “JUST BECAUSE I PREFER IT …

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  1. I love this. Finding the balance appeals too me.
    I also remember suggesting to a NOT-neatnick in my therapy that she could get a corner of her self somewhere in the house, and be intensly disorderly for one week. When it was allowed, and consciously witnessed, it sort of dissipated. her husband was very happy about it:-)

  2. Great idea.

  3. Okay, stop MESSING with me! When do you peek into my study? Balance is what it’s about. I’m trying to remember it and to work on it.

  4. My mother was an extremely tidy lady. So tidy she’d get up in the middle of a party to wipe a cobweb off the ceiling. But she had the messiest closet you can imagine — partly, I suppose, because the closet was small and her wardrobe fairly extensive. But I think also it’s typical — everyone needs that touch of “opposite” in their lives. Or have I just been reading too much Jung lately? http://www.amazon.com/Jung-Bible-Wayne-G-Rollins/dp/0804211175/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1334338464&sr=1-1

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