With my 5 year anniversary just around the corner, I have been reflecting on half a decade married to a man that drives me nuts (and not in the good way). Anyone who tells you marriage is easy is lying. And if they tell you their marriage is easy, they probably have significant marital problems behind closed doors. Nothing in life that is worth having is easy.
But all of that said, marriage has a lot of benefits when you put the work into it. My husband and I could probably never be married to other people. He’s the only person in the world who would find my OCD habits endearing and I know that I’m the only person in the world that could tolerate half of his bad behaviors. Not only do I tolerate them, but I find them hilarious and thus may or may not encourage them.
But what about those terrible and annoying habits that make you want to punch your spouse while they are sleeping? We all see little things our spouses do that bug us and make us want to shout, “Is it so hard NOT to do that?!!!”
I’m going to share three of the little things that pile up on my irritation scale until the scale tips from “that bugs me” all the way to “if you don’t knock it off, I’m going to throw things at you when you’re not looking” and how I have learned to let it go.
1. My husband never folds laundry in a way that allows it to actually fit in our drawers.
True, I could follow him around and re-fold all the laundry, and I did do that for a number of years. But all that did was serve my irritation and feed it. So, I now open my drawers and think, “That was sure nice of my husband to do laundry and put it away for me.” I may do it through clenched teeth, but he is never going to suffer the OCD I do and it does well to see it as a blessing to have a spouse that helps in that way. Besides, in a week all of those clothes will be dirty again and I’ll be able to do the laundry and put them away my way. Seven days is not that long a period of time.
2. He insists on throwing dishes in the dishwasher in the most haphazard manner. This means that all of four things will fit before it has to be run.
I have spent most of our life together trying to show him how to load the dishwasher in a way that makes everything fit. He has never once been able to take those lessons and use them. What he does instead is load the dishwasher his way, then asks me to “work my dishwasher magic” to make everything fit before we run it. It saves me from being mad that we spend all that extra energy and water running a half full dishwasher. And you know what, he just doesn’t have an eye for it and that’s ok.
3. He leaves his dirty clothes on the side of the bed, on the floor… And the couch, in the living room, on the stairs, and any other surface that will hold still.
He leaves his work shirts in the garage and his clothes anywhere and everywhere he can. I spent a year mad. I spent two picking up after him and being mad about it. I spend weeks trying to force him to pick up. When all of those things failed, I had to come up with a solution that would lower my frustration and get him to stop leaving stinky dirty socks on the stairs. The rule stands that if it’s not in the hamper, it doesn’t get washed. This means that when he comes to me and says, “Why don’t I have clean work shirts?” I can say, “They weren’t in the hamper.” This doesn’t stop him from leaving his clothes everywhere, but it does mean he’s more conscious of picking them up.
The point is, being mad at your spouse for things like not doing the dishes your way is silly. There is always going to be a reason to look at your spouse and say, “Oh, man. I married that person on purpose.” Heck, I say that 100 times a day, and it’s ALWAYS sarcastic. I look at pictures of my husband and think, “I voluntarily said I do… What was I thinking?” But I said “I do” because he makes me smile. I think he is hilarious and, frankly, he could be doing much worse things than folding laundry is a spastic manner. It may have taken me a bit of time to figure out how to meet in the middle on these habits that drive me nuts, but I figured out how to make it work. He has enough endearing qualities that these little annoyances are more than worth putting up with. And there is no reason to let our relationship suffer over such insignificant things. When I look back at our years of marriage, I don’t remember all the times he loaded the dishwasher “wrong,” I remember all the laughs we had and the times he made me happy. And that’s what really matters.