Deciding What to Change
Several years ago, I arrived home late from an out-of-town trip. As I slipped quietly into bed, I noticed a note on my pillow. I slipped into the bathroom, thinking it must be a love note from my wife. As I turned on the bathroom light, I read in large print on the cover page of the note: “Things You Can Do to Save Our Marriage.”
This got my attention.
When I turned to the next page, I saw a list of 24 items. At the top of the list, in the number one position, was “Clean Your Office.”
The next day, I got up early and spent most of the day cleaning and organizing my office. By the time I finished, it was perfect. My wife was impressed by my efforts, and so I thought I would not have to worry too much about the other 23 items.
I kept my office clean for a few weeks, and then asked my wife for some feedback. Her response was clear and to the point: “Nothing has changed,” she said.
“But, what about the office?” I asked. With that, she just looked at me in disgust and walked away.
What I have found since then is that, even though the cluttered appearance of my office may be a frequent grumble for my wife, its cleanliness has almost no correlation to the quality of our marriage. My office can be a disaster at the same time our marriage seems wonderful, or it can be very clean and organized even when our marriage is experiencing frustrations.
I found that the issue at the top of the list was not necessarily the most important one to change. I also found ...