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My husband and I don’t have “smart” fights. In fact, I’m pretty sure a marriage counselor could follow us around for a month and have enough material for an entire book on how not to fight with your spouse.
We never fight over anything important or consequential. We fight about stupid, sitcom-type shit. Like the one we had last week.
One day last week I did the laundry. And I mean all of the laundry. I did about ten loads in a row, because it just needed to be done. Not all that unusual – laundry is easy to do. What I find difficult is the folding and putting away. And I put all of it away. Everything I washed that day, plus all of the other clean laundry lying around. I won laundry day.
I also cleaned off this little chest of drawers in our bedroom.
It has become the place where my husband throws his pants when he takes them off and is going to wear them again. It usually has three or four pairs on it. But for the past month, I’ve been taking those pants and hanging them up on the handy-dandy pants rack on my husband’s side of the closet.
And he wears them, and back onto the chest of drawers they go.
On that particular laundry day there were, amazingly, only two pairs that needed to be hung up. So I hung them up.
When my husband got home from work, I happened to be in our room. He came in, took off his pants, and tossed them onto the dresser. I asked – nicely! – if he could hang them up, because I’d done laundry all day and just wanted to try to keep it clear, that I wanted to put some framed pictures or something on there instead. Something to make our bedroom look a little less like dorm-room chic, and a little more like grown-ups live here.
Now, I am just as likely to throw my clothes around as he is. I don’t want to represent myself as some kind of neat freak dealing with a slob. It’s really the other way around. But I am slowly and surely getting this big, unmanageable house together, and I think it’s fair to ask that once I get a certain area clean and organized, it stays that way.
My husband, instead, refused. He just flat-out refused. He could have claimed that he was tired and just wanted to toss his pants there one last time. He could have made a case for why it made sense for the pants to live there. He could have thrown them on the end of the bed, which was still covered in clothes – his and mine. He could have approached it in one of many ways that would have avoided a fight. But he just refused. And it was on.
The fight was suspended when he looked around the room and said “I’ll tell you what: when the rest of the room is clean, I’ll hang up my pants.” And he left the room.
What he was really saying was, the rest of the room is a disaster, it will always be a disaster because you’re a shitty housekeeper, and I’m not going to jump just because you decided to keep this one tiny area clean.
The room is now clean. And tonight he came home to find this on the chest of drawers:
And this morning I woke up to find this:
This is exactly why we’ve been together as long as we have. ;-)
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