Can people really change?

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I have a tendency to be a bit messy. Like, when I make a sandwich I’ll forget to put the mustard away and things like that. I work at home so I can make the place a bit of a mess and my husband hates it. He wants the apartment to be clean all of the time. I know its a simple idea, “if you make a mess just clean it up”, but I just seem to gap out on it. As if I have tunnel vision about the other tasks I’m trying to complete, I don’t even notice the mess. We recently started a cleaning scheduled and a list of responsibilities which I am having problems following. My question is, can I ever change this about myself, and if I can should I do it even tho the change is purely for someone else?
I’m 29 and I’ve never been a “neat” person. My office space (at home) always has items on it from my various projects. My husband is even getting mad at me for that now, which is stressing me out alot.
I’ve started setting an alarm for an hour before he normally comes home, so I can make sure the place is clean. But today he came home early and I hadn’t cleaned the kitchen, he was very upset and yelled at me. Is this reaction normal?
I feel bad about myself often and its started affecting my work (time spent working is now spent cleaning or being upset)
I understand that he likes a clean home but, I feel like he is risking the stability of our relationship on this.
Please help

Category: Tags: asked March 6, 2015

4 Answers

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He was wrong to yell at you, there is no doubt about that. However, he is basically paying for you to stay at home and taking care of you and your home. That's a lot of responsibility to put on one person's shoulders. It is not unfair of him to expect you to keep a tidy home and have that be your responsibility while he works. I stay at home as well while my husband works and he said that it's frustrating to work all day, just want to come home to a clean house, and come home to a mess while you didn't keep on it all day. I would leave dishes in the sink, or let dust accumulate on the furniture. It made him feel unappreciated and unloved and once he explained that, it completely changed how I thought about housework. I'm sure your husband feels the same way, so my suggestion to you is to set an alarm to make the bed as soon as he leaves for work, set another alarm to check the kitchen, and set a few others to remind you to check on the house throughout the day. Eventually, you will become used to the routine and can surprise your hubby with a tidy home. That is a wonderful way to show him just how much you love him. Good luck!
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One other thing I forgot to mention. I noticed that you work at home and that you're having issues concentrating on it. I would suggest that you set aside a day or two to completely clean your house. That is the hardest thing. Once you do that, it's simply a matter of maintenance. Example, I dust and windex twice a week, clean the bathroom completely once a week, tidy it up twice a week, and tidy up the kitchen everyday. You empty the dishwasher immediately after it runs and then you can just load it until you need to run it again. As soon as you get to the maintenance point, it only takes you a few minutes to tidy a room up. Don't forget to make the bed every morning as well. :) I hope this helps. I believe that your marriage seems a little rough right now is because your husband is frustrated. Even if you aren't able to keep up on it completely, the fact that you're making the effort to change is going to take a weight off his shoulders. If he continues being rude, what I've discovered is that if you sit down and talk calmly, it can go a lot further then becoming upset. You both being calm and talking in a calm, non-confrontational tone can do wonders. If he becomes angry while you're talking, say, "Babe, I love you but I will not talk to you while you're angry and speaking to me that way." Then you walk away, leave the room, go for a walk, just get away from the situation. My husband and I say, "We need to stop. I'm getting mad.", and that seems to have worked for us. Good luck and I hope it gets better for you.
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I think the solution can be quite easy.

1- Make an effort not to forget to clean the house. If you need to set up alarms like Malrin said, do it. Or put post-its around the house, like on the fridge, to remind you to put the things you use back where they belong. After awhile, it will become natural. I think you can do this, it's not a huge personnality change, just a habit to take. They say you need a month to take an habit, so it might be hard the first weeks to remember you have to do it, but then it will get easier.

2- I'd suggest you have a talk about it with your husband as to make this into less of a big deal. Tell him you're ready to make an effort but he can't yell at you if you forget once in a while to fix everything. Tell him you understand why he wants the house to be cleaned (which I hope you do) but that you also work and are not used to tidy everything up so sometimes, it can happen that you forget about a thing or two although you'll try hard not to.

3- I think you should arrange your workplace the way you want. If it's not yet the case, try to decicate a room to your work so that you can do whatever you want there. My workplace is usually a mess too but I know exactly where things are and it actually helps me to work when I am in an environment where I am totally comfortable, which includes a little mess sometimes. Einstein said : "If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, of what, then, is an empty desk a sign ?"

I think this would be an acceptable compromise.
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I think you should open up to him about what you said on this article and explain how your trying and I think its unfair for him to think you will change in such a short time, but I also believe you can change and so can he: you both need to change and compromise you need to become neater and he needs to become more accepting and not take his stress out on you. Not cleaning the house is not something that ruins a marriage, not communicating and letting that build up as well as stress is what ruins a marriage. If its too hard for you to clean you should get rid of things that make clutter get rid of plates, and dishes you dont need, clothes, you dont care for, a laundry basket for your clothes, designated coffee cups things like that. Maybe you can't ever be a clean person but you can be a organized person. CHEERS and best of luck :D