A friend of mine has what she used to call a 90% husband. He would work tirelessly on a project, and then just before completion, stop. I will never forget beautifully redone floors with perfectly measured, cut, and painted baseboards…that weren’t attached to the wall. Easier to pick up and dust then put back, I consoled. Maybe that was the plan all along?
In my marriage the battleground has always centered on the staircase, so for the seven years that we lived in a four level split, we had ample opportunity to wage our attacks. Three staircases. Three opportunities to wait the other person out. How long could an item placed on the stairs “to go up” sit there before the other spouse will finally give in and carry it up the five steps to its home? The answer is, of course, infinitely. Until the end of time. Or the sale of the house.
Not every battle is waged in grand form in the center of the arena. You cannot discount the importance of all of the little skirmishes that occur throughout the house. I, for example, refuse to replace a roll of toilet paper immediately. Sure, I’ll go get a new roll and take it to the bathroom, but I then place it on top of the toilet paper holder rather than removing the old roll. Eventually I’ll actually remove the empty roll and replace it, but not if my husband gives up and gets to it first, and not before half (or nearly all) of the roll is used. I’m sure that with the proper amount of psychotherapy we could determine what personality disorder causes a person to be this special brand of lazy, but I’d like to think it’s genetic. My mom does the same thing.
In the early years of marriage my husband cured me of some of my most glaring transgressions (charming idiosyncrasies…) starting with the dropping of the toilet lid and the slamming of cupboard doors. If I’m being honest I probably slammed closed everything that has the ability to be opened, but eventually I learned that the people around me don’t enjoy loud crashing noises quite as much as I do.
There are some things, however, that cannot be fixed including my husband’s vision problems. He’s gone to the eye doctor regularly his entire life, yet no one has ever diagnosed why he cannot see the following objects: empty trash cans at the end of driveways, hairballs, envelopes with stamps that are sitting on the table near the front door, any item of any size or shape that is “missing,” and the line on the field trip permission slip where the parent is supposed to sign.
Like a good helper monkey, I take care of these issues myself. It’s the least I can do to thank him for eleven years of replacing toilet paper.
Where are the battle lines drawn in your marriage?