When Derek and I were dating and first married, we would rotate where we would have Sunday dinner every week after church–either his parents’ house or mine. After dinner, regardless of whose side of the family we ate with, we would close dinner with devotions. Derek was usually the one to get the Bible for his family (he and my brother-in-law were the tallest) because it was kept on top of their refrigerator.
I once asked him why, because honestly, that seemed like a very strange place to keep your Bible. I’m not saying it was bad; I’m saying I didn’t understand. I was even more confused when Derek said “because it’s always been up there.” (I just asked him again tonight and he said “because that’s where it was.”) Our family had a shelf in the dining room where ours was kept, but I figured to each their own, right?
When we got married, we were gifted a family Bible from our parents. I still remember the passive aggressive back and forth Derek and I played in our first apartment and then later in our first home. I would put in on a shelf at night (and our old house had a little nook for that) and then after he would read it in the morning, he would put it on top of the fridge. I even remember finally getting really angry once that he kept putting it on top of the refrigerator; I knew I was being unreasonable, but he never really had a valid reason (to me) other than “this is how I’ve always done it. This is where you keep your Bible.”
We had other “this is how I’ve always done it” arguments too…how we vacuumed, how we folded socks (that was a doozy), and even how we picked up after each other. Future new husbands, I say this with complete permission of mine–do not, and I repeat, do not, follow your new wife around after she’s sat in traffic for an hour and a half on her way home from work picking up after her. Her shoes, her coat, her earrings…just leave them be.
We’ve been married for over twelve years, and we haven’t changed our minds on those things. We don’t fold any socks at all now, we do our own laundry(we don’t necessarily stick to typical gender stereotypes) and we pick up our own mess (always with the option to ask for help). We know who is best at vacuuming and who is best at organizing paperwork. We each have our own Bibles that we leave in our preferred spots (one on the dining table and one on the nightstand). We’ve really “resolved” a lot of these problems!
It occurred to me this past week after looking at the top of our refrigerator, that it is not as empty as I preferred it when we first were married. Now, it’s where I keep special art that I need to laminate, precious cookbooks from family members no longer with us, and favorite books that need to be repaired (we do have two preschool boys!). Most importantly, it’s where we keep all of our documents we are working on to bring our daughter home from Taiwan.
Derek still doesn’t know why his family Bible was kept on top of the fridge. Maybe his parents can fill me in after they read this. I have my own ideas though now, because I realized the top of our fridge is the safest place in our house for our most irreplaceable items. We don’t need to put things on display on a shelf, we can leave our Bibles or devotionals out where they are most convenient to us and our kids, and really, there is no wrong way to fold socks (okay, that’s categorically not true).
But the things that bring me joy?
Everything that is messily arranged with no particular order on the top of our fridge.