“I love being married. It’s so great to find that one special person you want to annoy for the rest of your life.”
~ Rita Rudner
Before a couple is married, it’s easy for them to think living together with another human being 24/7 will be a breeze. After all, if they could survive growing up with people with whom they had no prior input as to whether or not they cohabitated, then living with their spouse by their own free will should be a cakewalk.
But as any couple married for a month or so can tell you, reality soon sets in. What were once viewed as endearing quirks and habits while dating become annoying habits that must be fixed (yesterday if at all possible).
Men who were once content to do one load of laundry a week (because if it all fit into the washing machine at once, it was a load) suddenly see their laundry baskets multiplying and being designated for things like ‘whites’, ‘darks’, and ‘delicates’ (though they do appreciate the last basket).
Women who once assumed it was easy to keep a living space neat and organized (because they had picked up well on the lessons of their mothers, unlike certain other siblings . . .) suddenly see piles of laundry left mere inches from the clothes hamper, toothpaste globs in the sink, and mysterious piles of paper reaching alarming heights on the kitchen counter.
Even my husband and I, who had a 1-1/2 year engagement, found we had some adjusting to do after we were married. We had still managed to falsely assume we knew all there was to know about the other. After all, I already knew I knew Jeff would not stop pestering me if I ignored him. Ignoring him was (and is still) the equivalent of issuing a silent challenge: How far can he go before I will snap or crack or gave up trying to reason with him?
And Jeff knew I would start random conversations with him. In my defense, they are not random to me as they are things I have been thinking about for a while, and that we have had prior conversations about. How much context does the man need for a conversation any way?
But, you guessed it – we still had some things to learn about each other. For instance:
- I would have to deem the house to be an appropriate level of clean (think “ready to be photographed for Martha Stewart Living Magazine”) before we could have any sort of company over.
- Jeff would wear an item of clothing once before tossing it in the laundry hamper.
- I would ‘build up’ to asking him a favor instead of simply going up to him and asking him to do something in a normal, calm tone of voice.
- Jeff would manage to get the bath mat very wet after taking a shower.
So on and so forth would these things go, sometimes to the point of almost driving one of us round the bend before we would at last address the matter.
And you know what?
I have not changed all of my annoying tics. I’ll still start ‘random’ conversations with Jeff or veer off into a store at the mall because something has caught me attention without telling him where I’m going. Jeff still gets that mischievous sparkle in his eyes when I try to ignore his pestering, because even after 17 years of marriage it’s still a challenge for him to see how far he can push things. And he still leaves a wet bath mat behind him after he showers.
But I am much more relaxed about the house looks (some days, at any rate) before deeming it ‘worthy’ for company. And Jeff has learned he can wear his shirts more than once before they need to go in the wash. Because learning to live with someone involves learning how to compromise, how to change those true ‘sticking points’ so that your home is a relatively harmonious one.
And it is worth it.
Question: What quirky habits inhabit your marriage?
EdiTOR’s Note: Our family recently delivered our third child. As such, some blogging buddies of mine have graciously offered to write a series of guest posts to allow my family to spend a little time together – away from this blog. I’m deeply grateful for such friends, and I hope you enjoy their writing!
This guest post is from Michelle Woodman, who writes about the goings-on in her small corner of the world at This Time Around while procrastinating researching her in-the-works novel. You can also keep up with her random tweets at @crosscribe.