It might seem strange, but spending decades around couples and cleaning supplies has taught us more than a few things about what makes a happy marriage. We’re not saying we’re marital experts–we’d defer to people like John Gottmann for that–but we’re pretty sure there’s a connection between how couples handle challenges like housework together and how long they’re likely to stay together (and like it). To put it simply, a good vacuum cleaner can be one of the best investments you make in your marriage. But for it to do its best work, both spouses need to use it. We’ll go into detail below.
First of all, what makes a good, long-lasting marriage?
Most of what we’ve seen among happy couples who have managed to stay together for decades can be summarized by Gottmann’s seven principles. It’s funny, as before we came across the 7 Principles book, we’d put together a list for ourselves of what most couples that seemed genuinely fond of each other (before and after kids) usually had in common. A friend then introduced us to the book and the ideas were basically the same, although we’d called them different things.
In our experience (and apparently in Gottmann’s), the happiest couples are essentially the ones who are the strongest friends. They strengthen their friendship by learning about each other inside and out, by working to be kind and nurturing toward each other, by working to meet each others’ emotional needs, by listening to each other (especially important for the male partner), by solving fixable problems, by learning to laugh at the unsolvable ones, and by seeking a higher purpose together.
To use an example of a couple we got to know well over the course of a round-the-clock project cleaning their bed-and-breakfast…they were in their 40s with three children. They were busy with clients, but they kept close track of each others’ work schedules and took time to call or text each other messages of support during the day. They had hectic schedules with their children’s schooling and extra-curriculars, but made time to check in with each other each evening to make sure both were emotionally healthy. The husband was particularly patient and willing to consider his wife’s thoughts when she felt they needed to spend more time helping their middle daughter transition into middle school. They balanced a budget for saving for a new washing machine together and accepted that the wife was always going to have more trouble remembering to fill up the gas tank when it got close to empty, although she’d keep trying. They ended many evenings discussing plans to take the kids to more national parks each summer.
In short, they were subconsciously living the seven principles nearly every day of their lives. Working with them was a pleasure and an experience we will never forget.
Second, how can a vacuum cleaner help clean up my marriage?
The couple we described vacuumed, yes, but their greater “vaccuum” was their bed-and-breakfast and the way they equally managed the responsibilities of couplehood, parenthood, and work. Unlike in so many families where one partner (typically the mother) did the lion’s share of parenting and managing household chores, the couple found a balance that left both feeling honored and respected, which maintained and strengthened their friendship and bond as a couple. They worked, in other words, as a team.
You don’t have to run a B&B to experience this bond in your marriage. You can experience this closeness simply by consciously creating a balance in household tasks that leaves both partners feeling honored and respected. If you clean by vacuuming, this might take the form of both partners being responsible for vacuuming. Or it might not. Perhaps you work better with one partner vacuuming and the other being responsible for washing the dishes. Or perhaps you switch each week or each month. Or perhaps there’s a primary vacuumer but the other partner is simply willing to step in whenever asked by the primary vacuumer. How you set up things doesn’t really matter; what really matters is that you set things up in a way both partners find fair. Because a sense of fairness leads to both partners feeling respected, which leads to a natural closeness and increased willingness to do things with and for your partner. Which leads, unsurprisingly, to a positive feedback loop and a happy marriage.
OK, you convinced me. What’s a good vacuum for my home and marriage?
If we’ve convinced you, and you’re ready for our vacuum recommendations, we’d recommend vacuums that both do a good job cleaning and are easy to use. Naturally, they should also last a long time, as a vacuum that breaks every few years will cause more financial and emotional stress than one that works for the next 25. So which kinds of vacuums fill these three needs?
If you’ve got a large budget, the best we’ve yet found is the Miele Complete C3 Marin. It costs roughly $1,000, but it’s one of the most reliable machines on the market and is capable of cleaning high-pile, medium-pile, and low-pile carpeting in addition to any kind of hard wood or solid flooring. However, at its price range, there are a number of families out there that simply might not be able to consider it without stretching themselves financially. This is where the Complete C3 Calima comes in. It costs hundreds less but offers a similar cleaning experience, and we’d easily rate it as the best household vacuum under a $700 budget. You can’t go wrong with either, and both will keep you happy for years to come.
That said, if $700 is still too much, at the $400 and under price point, you can still get a vacuum cleaner that will clean circles around anything you’ll find in a department store while lasting for decades longer: the Miele Complete C2 Limited. In our books, it’s the best vacuum under $400 and a good fit for families with children and pets and mortgages.
Want the best? You can buy the Miele Complete C3 Marin here. On a medium budget, you can buy the Miele Complete C3 Calima here. On a small budget? We’d recommend the Miele Complete C2 Limited here. Finally, you can buy the 7 Principles for Making Marriage Work here. It’s our standard gift at weddings for couples.
If you find our research on PMC helpful, you can follow our efforts to keep maniacally reviewing home cleaning tools by shopping through our links above. We promise to keep fighting the good fight against every horror children, animals, and grown, yet messy humans can inflict upon a clean home.