Messy Management – SJT Video

Treading into a mess

It’s good to be back to my weekly “Sloppy Joe Time” video spots. Today I’m sharing a candid moment where I blew it with my husband. And I’m asking for your help! If you have any suggestions for how to solve an impasse that you might have with your spouse, please let me know!

[Tweet “Sometimes we get so frustrated with our spouse’s refusal to budge that we bulldoze right over them! “]

Since this video is a follow-up to my Part 1 {Will you meet ‘my’ needs?}, which was also on independence in marriage, I’ve included it as well below if you have the time to view both.



What are some situations you’ve faced where you were in a “tug-of-war” with your mate? How did you handle it?


What helpful tips would you like to offer me and my man?


SJTcup3 editcircle


Linking up with – Marriage Mondays,  Making Your Home Sing,  Unforced Rhythms,  Sunday Stillness,  Sharing His Beauty  and  Playdates with God

16 responses to “Messy Management – SJT Video”

  1. […] It’s good to be back to my weekly “Sloppy Joe Time” video spots. Today I’m sharing a candid moment where …read more       […]


  2. ouch, girl!
    mmm … maybe it was what those tapes represented to him. his calling, the ministry, the effectiveness of his work, the unspoken need for validation or affirmation as a man or a pastor, something about the good ol’ days?
    i’d fall over dead before i’d throw a box of my man’s tools out ’cause I know he values them and they’re a part of who he is. and anyway, they’re his, not mine.
    gee, this would make fun dinner table conversation! when are ya comin’ back to NY? can’t wait. this is going to be fun!


    1. You are so right, Linda. The tapes meant much more than bygone relics of our past. But let me ask you, would you be tempted to throw out some of your hubby’s tools if he hadn’t used them in 25 years or more plus they added a layer of clutter to your storage room? Yeah, I know I sound defensive, and I’m really not. I just want to find a way to deal with an impasse and perhaps, letting his “sleeping tapes” snooze away like Rip Van Winkle is the respectful thing to do. Lol! But the pragmatic side of me says, we’ve got to figure out a way to declutter so we can prepare our house for the market. I don’t know! Yes, indeed! It would make for interesting dinner conversation at your place! I’d love to hear Tim’s take on all of it! 🙂 Hugs to you!


      1. I hear ya … And I don’t mean to make light of this challenge you’re facing! I guess we each have to figure out what’s worth going to the mat for … And what really isn’t all that important. I guess I’m thinking how patient Tim has been with all the boxes of my kitchen collectibles / junk that were taking up way too much space on our storage shelves for decades. Every once in awhile he’d say something and then he’d let it go. Sooner or later the spirit moved me and slowly I got rid of most of my stash.

        Bottom line … No easy answer, no one right thing to do except speak the truth with lots of respect and great heaps of humor. And use those savvy negotiating skills you’ve got up your sleeve!

        Love you, friend!!!!


      2. Oh, I know you don’t. Linda. I just “hunger” for ideas that would lift me above the personal agendas my husband and I both have. I know this particular area is going to bite us in the behind over and over this year as we declutter and prepare to downsize. And to add to the problem, it’s been a many year stymie between us. We’ve negotiated here and there, but nothing that’s yielded a peaceful answer. And we cannot continue to push it off, I’m afraid. Thanks for encouraging me, though by reminding me that I do have a few communication skills in my toolbox, girlfriend! LY right back!


  3. What about copying all of those tapes to cd, which take up so much less room. I used to be a pack rat with sentimental items too. But after watching my parents deal with the hassle of sorting through my grandparents “junk” I have become much less of one. I often ask myself, have I actually used this item in the past so many years or would my kids actually want to save this item. More often than not it’s a no to both. And sometimes I do want to save the items, but I pick out a few of my favorites. For example, cards from my husband. I don’t need every card he sent me. So I have sorted through and chosen ones with poems or special messages.


    1. Great suggestions, Andrea. I haven’t thought about the idea of transferring the tapes to CD. The only problem is all the work that’s involved in transferring and honestly, Gary doesn’t probably know how to do that. So it would be something I’d take on and add to my overflowing plate. That’s part of the dilemma here that is a peripheral issue–who does what and how much does it negatively affect me, “us” and ultimately Gary. It never seems like things in life are simple or cut and dry–like we’d like. And I totally get the mess of going through our deceased parent’s things since I’ve done that with both of mine and Gary has not–thankfully. It is an overwhelming job and one that I keep in the forefront of my mind–although it is somewhat easier for me the “not-so-pack-rat” of the two of us. But I have to say, I keep the sentimental things close at hand. Thanks for giving me a new angle to talk with Gary about, sweet girlfriend! You’re becoming a regular here in the comment section and I truly appreciate and feel encouraged by it! Let’s do coffee sometime soon!


  4. I don’t know what I love more, your spoken words and smiley face, or the hilarious captions you throw into these videos! 🙂 Wonderful truths found here. We can not come into marriage looking for the “whats in it for me factor” as Erik and I call it, and expect to have a healthy marriage. I’m going to share more on our own messy marriage in Feb as we go into our 12th year of marriage. 🙂 xoxo


    1. It’s so great to be able to comment on what I’m commenting about, Nicki! I really do see this from Gary’s angle and it truly bothers me that I was so callous as to throw out his things without asking him. In the moment it seemed like the right move. Those darn “moments” really get us every time! (I’m laughing because my quiet time this morning was on Peter’s insistence that he wouldn’t abandon Jesus. He was in one of those “this seems like the right thing to say” moments.) And yes, yes, yes! We cannot come at marriage with a “what’s in it for me” mindset. If we do we will fail because we cannot be divided or we cease to be a “couple.” I can’t wait to hear more about your messy marriage, Nicki! I know that infertility can be a huge factor in messing with our hearts, minds and marriages, but I’m so encouraged to hear that you are considering adoption. That’s been a part of my prayers for you, girlfriend. I think you will make one amazing mom!


  5. Hi Beth,
    We’ve faced (and still do) similar discussions through the years. Here is what I’ve concluded in both attitude and action. First, our home is not “mine” or “his” but “ours.” I always keep that in mind. It is not just a house full of stuff, but a home where we and our things are loved, respected, and safe. If a thief entered our home when we were not around and took some of our possessions that we would never see again, we would naturally feel violated. Similarly, one could feel the same if a spouse or family member took something we valued and trashed it without permission. (Ouch!) Personal examples: A few years ago when we we out of town, our neat freak daughter truly thought she was doing us a favor by cleaning out a closet while we were gone. Unfortunately for her, she did not get the thanks that she was expecting. What was clutter for her, was precious and still useful to me. Fortunately for her, the trash collector had not yet arrived to cart off the discards. She had good intentions, but they were not my intentions. Another: While on vacation in the Rockies, my husband bought a beautiful vase carved out of aspen wood. As we were deciding where to set it at home, I started removing a little tag hung by yarn around its neck describing its origin. He strongly disagreed stating that he wanted the tag left on for several reasons. I left the (tacky)tag on for several reasons. First, it was HIS. Second, if I would have removed it, each time I dusted it I knew I would see it as an object of disagreement rather than for the beautiful piece of art that it is. Bottom line: For whatever reasons, we hold on to things and we need to respect the owner’s decision to let go. Now for the action part. As a sentimental mini pack rat myself, I sympathize with Gary concerning the cassettes. I, too, have a collection of 30+ year old ones, as well as a cassette player which I never use. Just looking at some of them bring back wonderful memories which is why I still have them. We are also in the decluttering mode and here is what we do. Together, we decide if we can live without the item. If we can, it goes to charity or in the trash.If for any reason,sentimental or useful, one of us want to keep it, it stays at least for a while. During the “for awhile,” whoever is attached to it finds a place for it. Usually while doing that, papers, photos, books, kids’ projects, videos, toys, hobby things, etc, are looked at carefully to see if it is really worth the effort to neatly pack them up in containers and find a place to store. Maybe you could ask Gary to spend an hour or so each week culling through the cassettes and deciding which ones he really wants to keep or put on CD, which ones he might want to pass on to someone, and which he doesn’t want. Then suggest that he finds a nice container to store the keepers in. That respects his property and gives him the responsibility to safe keep them. Hope you find a compromise that works for both of you!


    1. I’m so glad you were able to catch this debacle before it had enduring ramifications, Donna. The only difference here was that I wasn’t doing this to please or help Gary out but to please and help myself out, sad to say! I like the idea of Gary finding a place for it. I think if he felt some of the negative issues that come part and parcel with sentimental clutter that takes up more space than we have room or need for, he’d get this more. It seems that you, Andrea and David all have similar suggestions about digitizing or putting it on CD. There are issues that come with that, though, as I mentioned in my reply to Andrea. But these are conversations and things Gary and I must face together. That’s where I want to certainly change my tactics. This may have been a longstanding “stand-off” in our marriage, from here forward I want to look at it together and not as opponents. Thanks so much for helping me out with your suggestions but for taking the time to care about our situation, Donna. It’s a treat to have you here in the comment section, my friend!


  6. Wow! I bet this was a hard video to record! Very well done — very honest.

    We live in a tiny tiny house and throwing stuff out is a constant process. No advice on how to encourage The Other Person to throw out their fair share I’m afraid.

    As Andrea suggests below, digitising the tapes might be a good idea. Digitising the tapes can even preserve or even bring out the “sentimental value”, because they become much more accessible — and safer (you can make three different copies and store them in three different places). If you have speech recognition software (e.g., Dragon Dictate) you might even be able to make transcriptions of the tapes (they won’t be 100% accurate but they’ll be good enough for indication of content). That might be a win all round: digital media take up virtually no space, the data is much more accessible, and it’s much more secure.



    1. Hey there, David! Glad to have your thoughts and suggestions on this problem. I do appreciate the encouragement on the video as well. It really wasn’t that hard to talk about or share. It’s actually harder posting it and getting feedback. My husband and I had worked through the hurt I’d caused back months ago, so it wasn’t something hanging over me. I suppose that made it easier to do as well. The problem lies with what to do going forward. I like the idea of digitizing as well as using my dictation app on my computer to transfer to mp3 files. That’s easier for me and less trouble than transferring them to disc. And yes, I say, for me, because I don’t think Gary knows how to burn a CD. He probably doesn’t know how to save them to an mp3 file either. Although that might be easier for him to learn or figure out. He’s savvy with computer stuff where he wants to be. He just hasn’t needed this. But it will be something we will discuss and I’m grateful for the many ideas folks have offered us today. I do plan on responding to your email to me as well. I’ve just had a busy few days lately. I’ll get to it probably late Wed or Thursday. Thanks again for your friendship across the ocean! 🙂


  7. Oh my gosh, do I love those footnotes at the bottom of the video. It’s as if you’ve already solved the “problem!” As a former semi-professional organizer (I never could figure out how to slap that “Professional” term on there when I had no real qualifications…anyway, this isn’t about me), I would suggest suggesting (how’s that for not being very sure of myself…hence the “semi” professional…oh, shoot I did it again, made it about me)…ANYWAY…suggesting to your husband that maybe he could keep some and oust some others. I know, you probably did that.

    When we downsized, I had to force my kids to get rid of a lot of stuff in the attic. Soooo many toys and dolls and trucks and games and PAPERS! I limited it to one box (okay, they turned into 3) each. I said I would not move all that stuff…I simply couldn’t! As they went along, they found it easier and easier to simply say, “Wow, this isn’t all that important. It’s cute, but I don’t know if I really want to keep it.”

    Sermon tapes? Well, that’s a whole different animal. Digitizing, as was already suggested, is a good option. Other stuff that’s physical, but sentimental could be photographed and those photographs put into a scrapbook (in your spare time) or scanned into a computer.

    My rule? If I haven’t even looked at it in 3/5/10 (pick one) years, I don’t need it. Get rid of it. Loved your video…hope you can reach an agreement! Maybe a realtor might get through to him.


    1. Ya know, Mary, that’s probably true (regarding the scrolling comments). I love playing the devil’s advocate too. Sarcasm is my native tongue–for which I am trying desperately in real life to overcome! It never seems to add anything positive when it’s done against anyone but yourself! But back to the question of organization, I’m glad to have your professional opinion in the mix. I have suggested that to him, Mary, but at the time, he wasn’t for that idea. He feels like he will never know what sermon he might want to do a little research on–thus all of the sermons stay! But I might approach that with him again. He might have softened on this whole issue after all the implications are slowly finding their way to the top of this mess! I also like the idea of giving him some kind of limit as a goal. Most of what we’re talking about here are the tapes. There are boxes of other ministry and office stuff that’s not sentimental. It’s just that both of us are so busy that the idea of adding another thing to either one of our “to-do’s” seems impossible. But it’s just a matter of “eating that darn elephant” . . . one bite at a time! Thanks for your wisdom, kindness and humor here, Mary! It’s been a blessing!


  8. Oh my goodness, I hadn’t seen one of your videos before Beth! This is great…thanks for sharing and being honest and straight-up! It was really fun to “see you” and not just “read you”, haha! Great video! 🙂


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