Look sweet, smell sweet, be sweet....

I've been dying to share this idea for ages now.....but I'm also a bit nervous about putting it out there. It's been such a huge blessing to our marriage and family life. It doesn't happen so often at the moment, but when it does, it's so fantastic! It's also quite radical and completely the opposite of the usual concept of a wife's job description. Be prepared to feel uncomfortable :)!

A few years back I had a life-changing experience. A lovely Titus 2 woman held a Bible study at my home and a few of the more mature ladies from our parish came along which proved to be such a blessing! The other blessing was the teaching in the series called 'Philosophy of Christian Womanhood' which was rich and wonderful teaching on being a godly wife and mother.

One of the simplest and most effective tips I gained from that course was this: When your husband walks in the door from work- Look Sweet, Smell Sweet, Be Sweet.

When I heard this from PCW, I imagined things from my husband's point of view....

Scene One: After a busy day at work and a 40 minute commute home, he lets himself into the house and almost trips over toddler with a grimy face and a very full, stinky nappy hanging well below where it should be. He can hear shouting directed at the toddler......then the wife stomps out looking stressed, flustered and in a temper. The baby's on the mat on the floor, bellowing and dinner hasn't been started yet. The dried washing has been thrown on the couch so there's nowhere to sit.

Scene Two: After a busy day at work and a 40 minute commute home, he is greeted at the door by his wife, who although is holding a baby who's fussy, smiles at him and gives him a ten-second-kiss. The toddler, who's just been bathed shouts, "Daddy!" and throws himself at his dad, ready for a quick rough-and-tumble before eating dinner. Dinner's ready and warm in the oven and the dry washing, although not put away yet, is placed neatly in the basket ready to be put away.

....and decided that if I had to choose, I'd choose to come home a smiling wife and children. Things may not be perfect, but a bit of effort on the part of the wife to make sure the chidlren are clean and dinner's ready if not underway makes a HUGE difference. I thought that as a husband, I'd at least appreciate the effort that my wife had gone to to make things nice for my arrival home. Even something as simple as coming to the door to say 'Hi' is such a little thing that makes a big difference.

I'll be the first to admit that some days, I just can't get there. I forget to put meat out to defrost, dinner's burned or the children are so full-on and I'm so tired that I just can't look bathtime in the face! Some days Ben comes home while I'm breastfeeding the baby......or he gets greeted with tears instead of a smile. But it's been my practice since 2007 to try my best and make home a nice place to be for my husband when he gets home.

Some days I make it and it's a wonderful blessing to our family. Others I don't and it's a bit ordinary. I'm saddened to hear about wives who are so busy wrapped up in how bad things are for them, staying home with the baby, doing all the cleaning and cooking and so on, that they forget about their husband's side of things. Who wants to come home to a grumpy, complaining woman, smelly nappies and no dinner? How can you expect your husband to enjoy being at home and help you out around the home when there's no effort made to make it enjoyable?

OK, so that's the house looking sweet and children looking sweet, smelling sweet and hopefully being delighted that their dad is home.....so what about you, the wife?

I'm still working on this one!! Most days, I greet Ben while still in my clothes I've worn all day and you can imagine how clean they are by the end of the day after working in the kitchen and wrangling little ones. Yup. Not very.

So, I think about five or six times in the past four years, I've taken a few minutes to brush my hair out, check that my face is free of dried food, baby drool and/or snot and throw on a clean T-shirt. Some days (about two, I reckon), I've managed to put on a dress and shoes and make up. I'm going to be honest and say that I felt like a complete idiot doing the dress-and-make-up thing....but the look on Ben's face when he walks in the door and the softly whispered "You look gorgeous!" over the children's heads is worth all the effort.

I'm blessed with a shift-working husband (yes, you read that right: it's a blessing) and some days he's home after the children are in bed. Some days I choose to be a cow and complain about doing 'rush hour' on my own. But when I choose to use the time between lights out and arriving home time to make coming home a delight to the senses, it's such a wonderful blessing and it's exciting surprising Ben! All I can manage at the moment is a 'normal' dinner by candle-light with soft music playing and changing out of my 'mummy clothes'. That's on a big night when everything goes well during the day! As the children get older and sleep better, I've got some great ideas to bless him with - can't wait to try them out!

My challenge to you is: What sort of home does your man come home to? Is it chaotic, noisy and messy? Or is it (generally) calm, peaceful and tidy-ish?

Some practical tips to help with doing this whole thing.

I read about one wife who has a 'Daddy Alarm'. About an hour before her husband is due home, the alarm goes off, which reminds her to get the children to pack up their stuff, get bathed and ready to welcome their dad home.

Another wife I read about has a husband who hates 3/4 pants. She likes them. So she changes out of them for when he comes home. No big deal. He doesn't see her in them and she can still wear them during the day.

The same woman explains to her children what she's doing when she disappears into the bathroom for five minutes and the children follow, curious! Dressing nice for their dad to bless him. It's great modelling!

One woman asked her husband what he likes her to wear (whoa......that's a big one, isn't it?). But why not? Is it really a big problem to chuck on that red dress that he likes for a couple of hours in the evening? Some men like their wives to look swish with make up, others prefer their wives fresh-faced.......this may seem a bit, um, weird - and I found it weird asking Ben - but it was such a blessing.

It took a little while, but I ended up getting the same treatment in return and let me tell you, it's just....nice.....when you're both scrubbed up a bit and looking schmick. Even if it's just to eat a normal dinner together after the children are in bed.

I'm well aware that this is completely opposite to what society tells us about our roles as wives - "I work hard all day around the children so he should just be happy that he gets dinner cooked for him at least!!" and I'm also aware how odd and old-fashioned it sounds to 'please your husband'.......but I've found from personal experience that having an attitude like that steals so many wonderful times from your marriage. The 'woe-is-me' pity party is a lie that steals joy from marriages. And marriage is designed to be a blessing - rich and fulfilling.

And I must stress that some days WE JUST DO NOT GET THERE and this is OK. Take it easy on yourself, especially if you've had a big day. Sometimes a smile and a ten-second kiss will make all the difference. And they're free as well as requiring minimal effort.


Look Sweet, Smell Sweet, Be Sweet - it'll add so many wonderful blessings to your marriage and therefore your life.


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