Sunday, November 11, 2012

Marriage 101.2

As I have already mentioned my marriage to Jarrod works really well! (click here for that post) It is simple and secure. This is, in large part, thanks to him. 

I would like to mention another little trick we have stumbled upon over the years. Once again, Jarrod earns the trophy for this one and anything I might contribute has been thanks to his example. 

It’s the little things, you know the little things I am talking about? The towels on the bathroom floor, the empty toilet paper roll. I guess we can call these the pet peeves. Sometimes pet peeves start out as a simple silly little thing that people joke about in a marriage but often times they become sources of frustration and resentment over the years. Well we have a few of those. Let me begin by cataloging all of my pet peeves that Jarrod does...

Just Kidding, that would kind of defeat the purpose of this post. But as an example I love shoes, in theory. They are cute and fun and when you wear a children’s size like I may or may not (I’ll never tell) they can be fairly economical. In reality I HATE shoes and they are off my feet the minute I realize I am home and don’t have to be wearing them. Sometimes this is right at the back door. Other times on the floor in front of the couch. Often times under the kitchen table, and I don’t even realize I have taken them off. Sometimes I think I should just get an extra long table cloth and that could just be my closet. It sure would make the chances of finding my shoes in the morning increase. Unfortunately one of Jarrod’s pet peeves is, shoes strewn all over the house. Hmmm, what a predicament. 

Along similar lines are the chores. Wether you set down and divvied them up or they just became assumed over the years most partners have at least a few chores that are “assigned”. In our house my husband shows off his big strong muscles by taking out the trash... sometimes. Other times he forgets, often he is at work and the trash can overfloweth and the diaper is way to stinky to leave sitting out for the next 4 hours. In the early years of our marriage this use to bug me to no end. I’d go to throw something away, open the lid of the thrash can and be reminded for the dozenth time that day, “Oh yea, the trash can is full.” Then the agrivated thoughts would come up all over again. “Couldn’t Jarrod tell that it was nearly full on his way out the door for work this morning, remember that I am 13 months pregnant and take it out?” This lasted for awhile until I had the brilliant idea to take the bag out of the trash can myself, tie it up nice and tight and fling it on the floor next to the back door, (which sure showed him even though he was not there to witness my tantrum) for him to take out later. One day in the midst of building a trash bag pile in the corner of the kitchen, (yes we are incredibly wasteful people who throw away an alarming amount of stuff in one day) something ocucrred to me. Jarrod left the house early this morning, after packing his own lunch, getting his own water bottles filled, and kissing me good-bye as I snuggled down into our nice warm bed. And I was angry because he had the nerve to not go lift the lid on the trash can predict how much we would throw away and take out the trash as a precautionary move. The nerve! 

Maybe Jarrod didn’t notice the trash can. Maybe, just maybe he wasn’t trying to make our marriage miserable and uncomfortable by going on strike and refusing to take a bag out of the trash can. Could it be?

I did a little experiment. I pulled the liner out of the trash can, tied it up and walked a few feet to the big trashcan outside. And you know what, I lived to tell about it! I began to do this more and more. Instead of the resentment towards Jarrod growing like I thought it would, it slowly and quietly died. There were no more mazes of full trash bags lining the back of the kitchen, reminding me of how I had been “wronged”. I did not have to smell stinky diapers hanging in a grocery sack on the back door knob. The really crazy part, I don’t think Jarrod noticed one way or another. He had been so clueless that the trash was such a problem in our marriage that he did not even know it was something that needed to be fixed. I had gotten mad at him for no good reason, I got upset when he did not read my mind or take my hints and I let it fester. 

I began to apply this new thought to all those little pet peeves that I had. Was Jarrod trying to tick me off by leaving clothes next to the bed or could it be that it was the most convenient place to throw them after a long day at work? In a short matter of time I found myself going through my day smiling as I worked around a pile of clothes in my room. Reminding myself how lucky I am that my husband is willing to work until he is beyond tired so that I can stay home with kids. Taking out trash became just another thing I did when it needed to be done and Jarrod was not around. I have even been known to take out a bag or two when he is home but is in the middle of playing with a kid or his favorite team is playing football. As it turns out Jarrod has been doing this same sort of thing all along. He could have pitched a fit about shoes EVERYWHERE but he stepped around them or carried them to the closet if he was on his way. 

When you stop and realize, wether it is a spouse, a friend or, dare I say it, the person who cuts you off in traffic that likely none of these people woke up determined to ruin your day and likely are oblivious to the fact that they have. It makes showing a measure of grace and letting them “off the hook” a little easier. 

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