I was listening to Dave Ramsey on the radio yesterday, as I often do in the car. I like Dave for many reasons but one of the main reasons I listen to him is for his insight into marriage. I know it sounds odd to say that I gain marriage insight from a financial advisor on the radio…but I do.
Dave tells it like it is in an easy-to-understand way. When he talks about his marriage to Sharon Ramsey, his devotion and commitment to her flows thru that microphone and out onto a radio audience of bazillions. You can tell just by the way he talks about her and their marriage that he adores her and that they have a very real relationship.
Yesterday, one of Dave’s callers was a woman who was having a “discussion” with her husband about their home. From the story she told, the husband, wife and three small children have a 1200 square foot home. Needless to say, they are cramped. Husband is gazelle-intense about having the house paid off in 6 years. Wife (a SAHM) is feeling the need for space and wants to buy a larger house yesterday.
Dave, in his wisdom, unravels more than just a financial situation with this caller. He understands that a home to a woman, especially a home maker, is vitally important. The condition of the home is a direct reflection of her, much like work is for her husband. Since she spends the bulk of her time with the three kids in the small home, she feels this issue in a more pressing and personal way than her husband.
It’s then, that Dave shares something that struck me. He said (I’m paraphrasing) “I’m a guy. I have no use for décor. I could live under a bridge and be happy. However, my wife, Sharon needs our house to feel like a home. She needs our home to be warm and well-decorated. She needs our home to be comfortable and inviting to others. These things identify her as a home-maker.”
That term makes me feel like a failure. I don’t think I have ever felt like I make our house a “home”. My mother was and remains a true home-maker…so it’s not like I don’t have an understanding of the concept. I know what a made home feels like…I just don’t know how to get there from right here.
I thought that would change when we moved from an apartment into our own house a year ago. But now, I look around and I feel like we live in boy-world. Pure function. We have yet to shake that “college dorm” functionality. The things that make a house “homey” are still missing. The thing is…I can’t even put my finger on what those things are exactly. I just know it feels like it’s missing to me.
In my head, I know that “homey” and warm can not be achieved by hiring a professional decorator and re-creating the latest Pottery Barn cover, even if my budget had room for that…which it certainly doesn’t.
J and I have discussed this…well, I talked through it with him sitting across the table from me…I don’t think he “got” it, but he was kind enough to listen and nod at appropriate times. He knows I love this house, even with all its quirks and those things we lovingly refer to as its “character”. In a sense, maybe this isn’t about the bones of the house, but about its nature and its people.
So here and now I admit that I haven't tried as hard as I should have to pursue this. Today, I am resolving to become more of a home-maker. Even though I don’t have much of a clue how to start.
It’s just one of those things…I’ll know it when I feel it. And then, we'll all be home.