Wednesday, February 23, 2011

When annoying things are not all that annoying

I'm pretty decent at housekeeping - beds get made, dishes washed, counters wiped, tables and TVs dusted, floors vacuumed. But I'm constantly battling clutter.  Living with small children means living with clutter, but my husband is a clutter bug by nature.  He leaves shoes lying and clothing lying around; piles of papers everywhere; bags propped on radiators for weeks; things stuffed nonsensically into shelves and vases and bowls.  He must have three bowls of loose change spread throughout the house.  That just seems to me like an excessive number of loose change receptacles.

I like things in their place.  Coats hung up on the coat rack; shoes in the shoe cubby or the closet; clothing in the hamper; papers filed; bags stowed away in closets; junk mail shredded and bills filed; DVDs in cases.  We are so opposite in this way it is almost comical.  Surprisingly, this is not a huge source of consternation in our marriage.  We accept that we are different in this way.

I supposed it could pretty easily drive me crazy that my husband leaves his bathrobe on the radiator of the kitchen instead of hanging it on the back of our bedroom door upstairs, or that he leaves his work shirts draped over the arm of the living room couch instead of putting them in the hamper.  The same way it could drive him crazy that his shoes are never where he leaves them and I'm constantly putting his stuff away in the wrong places and what the heck did I do with his keys (hung them on the key hook, you're welcome.)

But, as I said, we both accept that this is a way in which we are different.  Neither of us is going to change.  He likes stuff lying about, easy to locate with a glance; and I like things organized and put away.  If I were to say to him, "Nelson, I really wish you'd hang your coat up on the coat rack," he'd say, "Yes, you're right, I know I should do that." This statement, however does not mean is is going  to hang is coat on the coat rack.  It just means he acknowledges that understands that coat racks are the right place for unworn coats.

I realize that it may sound like in reality I am annoyed by Nelson's errant shoes and coats and bathrobes, and okay, when I trip on the shoes that does annoy me, but really I feel like this silly stuff is just part of the collage of our marriage.  They are the background noise of our life together.  You know, those little bits and pieces of life together that add up to your relationship. There is a rhythm to it that I find immensely pleasing and I have to say that this feeling, while welcome, is somewhat unexpected.

10 comments:

Sprite's Keeper said...

Hee hee, John and I are just like that! I love organization and will purge (and sneak a purge when I know John will want to hold onto it even though he hasn't laid eyes on it in years) until the space makes me happy. Now, after all this reorganization in our house, I am after John to finally organize his new office space. The stuff has been sitting for days due to "no time" yet he happily found time to hang the tv in the guest room. Uh huh, no time, my ass..

Barbara said...

I love that post. The "background noise of our relationship" - what a perfect description.

I am quite messy and I suspect I drive my husb quietly potty - he never says though. Bless him.

Barbara said...

I love that post. The "background noise of our relationship" - what a perfect description.

I am quite messy and I suspect I drive my husb quietly potty - he never says though. Bless him.

Aimee said...

Excellent insight! DH and I are both more cluttery than we'd like, but it is the the background. Certain cluttery ways of his make me shake my head, and vice versa, but really, what's the point in being too annoyed? Love it, thanks!

Amanda said...

Did it take you time to come to this place of mutual acceptance, or have you always just let it roll? I ask because DH and I get annoyed with each other for many of the very same reasons, especially when we are tired and grumpy anyway for other reasons. I hope that one day we'll be able to just accept each other's annoying habits, but so far, neither of us is that enlightened.

Mrsbear said...

I love your perspective.

I find myself policing clutter quite a bit. It's amazing the way it reproduces. My husband's stuff ends up in stacks on his side of the room. I'm sure he'll do something about it once they dwarf the kids.

rach said...

I am definately similar to you! Except in the fact that I let those things bother me! Not all the time, but sometimes i just snap! just a little though haha. my husband has a bad habit of "shedding" when he walks in the door, shoes off in one place, pockets emptied in several places, coat in another. Im constantly going behind him putting his things away! GAH! hopefully i take something i read here today and store it away and use it for future patience! ;)

Pamela said...

love this.

Casey said...

Well said. And that, is why you guys have a good marriage that will survive the test of annoyingness. We're the same way around here, we both do so many annoying things that we look the other way about. Mostly.

Hannah Hammonds said...

We are the same way. I have given up trying to get Andrew to put things away. Its not something that's important to him, but it to me. He puts up with it for the most part and me too. I like how you can put it into words though.