Everybody has certain stories they love to tell. They’re stories that are part of us, part of our lives, part of who we are. So, those who know me well or who have followed me in cyberspace will already know the story I’m about to tell. I call it the story of THE LONG AND HAPPY MARRIAGE.
The Long and Happy Marriage
Once upon a time, way back when I was growing up, a story was published in the Reader’s Digest about a couple who’d been happily married for a long, long time. As this happy couple celebrated another anniversary, the reporter covering the story asked the smiling woman, “What’s your secret for a happy marriage?”
“The list,” she quickly replied. She went on to explain that when they were first married, she told her husband she would make a list of ten things for which she would always forgive him. “It always worked out,” she continued. “Whenever he did something that annoyed me, I’d give it a little thought, then nod, and say, ‘Lucky for you, that’s one of the ten.'”
Naturally, the interviewer’s next question was: “What was on that list?”
The woman blushed, then shrugged. “Well, you know, I never actually got around to making the list…”
And the moral of the story is…
Everybody has annoying little habits, or does things that irritate a spouse or partner, but how many of those things are actually worth fighting about? Not very many. As people like to say today, Don’t sweat the small stuff. And sometimes folks go on to add that, “It’s all small stuff, really.”
Well, maybe, or maybe not. Some things are worth fighting for, but most of the problems we face in relationships day by day are probably little things we could learn to live with.
As I was thinking again about the story of THE LONG AND HAPPY MARRIAGE, I wondered what “forgivables” would be on my list of ten things if I were to make one.
I have to admit, it was a bit of a challenge. I’m very fortunate to have a loving, understanding husband who really doesn’t annoy me too often…or maybe it’s just that I’ve grown so accustomed to his quirks that I don’t even notice them.
OK, so my list. In no particular order, I will always forgive my husband for:
- Leaving things on. The television is on day and night — but that’s partly for the parrot — and my husband seems to believe some awful catastrophe will strike if the light above the stove is ever turned off. He’s heard that burglars don’t bother houses with a porch light burning — even all day. He never shuts off any lights. It never occurs to him to shut off radios or fans, either. Oh, well. Honey, I will always forgive you for this.
- Forgetting the laundry. I should be glad he at least thinks of laundry. I just wish he’d finish what he starts. He’ll throw a load of dirty laundry into the washer…and walk away without washing it. Or, he’ll wash it, then forget it’s there. I’ll find it a few days later. Sometimes he does get a load washed and into the dryer, but then forgets to turn it on. (You’ll notice he seems to have problems turning things off and on.) Once in a while, he will get a load of laundry washed and dried, but that’s as far as it gets until I start looking for something and find the wrinkled mess in the dryer. But, I love him. I can forgive him for this.
- Not putting a trash bag in the wastebasket. Now, first of all, my husband is very “old school”. In his opinion — with which I happen to agree — a woman should not have to mow the grass, nor should she ever have to take out the smelly garbage. On occasion, I do take out the trash, but only if he’s not there to do it. I always get out a fresh trash bag, too. But he’s got a habit of…well, forgetting, I guess. I think once he gets outside, he gets distracted or something. So, I forgive him, and I put a new trash bag in for him. It works for us.
- Setting the toilet paper on the floor. This one, I can’t really figure out. We neither one care if the roll goes “under” or “over”, so that’s not the problem. He’s always great about getting a new roll when the old one runs out. But instead of putting in ON, he puts it on the floor. Why? I don’t know…but, yeah, I’ll forgive him.
- Ruining my menu. I plan our meals carefully. I make sure to include a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables, different proteins, and healthy multi-grain carbohydrates. I even post the menu on the refrigerator so he’ll know in advance what I’ve got planned. But he can’t help himself. Now and then, he’s got to stop at the store to pick up milk or bread, and he’ll fill an entire shopping cart with things that aren’t on the menu. He’ll bring home a whole ham, grab a hot, rotisserie chicken, or load up on frozen pizzas because they were on sale. And don’t even talk to me about the hot dogs. I’ve not only forgiven him for messing up my scheduled meals, but for our anniversary last month, I bought him a hot-dog storage container. If he’s going to buy them, at least now he has a place to put them.
- Channel Surfing. I’m not much of a television viewer, but hubby is. Now, with the wonders of satellite TV and the availability of hundreds of shows on hundreds of channels, he can always find something to watch. Or, more like 5 or 6 things to watch. All at once, of course. With remote in hand, he’s flipping back and forth between his half-dozen shows, and my head starts spinning trying to keep up. For the rare occasions that I watch a show, I’d like to actually watch it. I guess it’s my problem, not his, so I forgive him. Of course, we’ve got a DVR, so I can always hit the “record” button and watch what I want when I want…which is when my husband isn’t home with his hands on the remote.
- Blocking my car in the driveway. He does it on purpose, and I know he does. He knows it, too, and he knows that I know it, but he’s a little on the possessive side. He just likes to know I’m safe at home, and that’s where I like to be, so I forgive him when he blocks me in and then says, “Honey, you’re not planning to go anywhere, are you?” No, I’m not. If I were, either he’d gladly move out of the way, or he’d offer to drive. No problem. I’ll forgive him.
- Promising to do things “later”. He’s such a kind, sweet, loving husband, and he’s always so helpful. He knows I’m busy, so he’s quick to say, “Don’t worry about doing the dishes, honey. I’ll take care of them.” Or, “I know I made a mess on the table, but I’ll pick it up.” Or, how about, “I’ll take those folding chairs out to the shed later.” He fully intends to do what he says…later. It’s just that his conception of “later” and mine aren’t quite the same. So, I smile, do it myself, and forgive him. I know he really was going to do it…later.
- Ranting and raving. Thank goodness, he never rants and raves at me. But he does rant and rave to me, which is almost as upsetting. Things annoy him, especially if it’s hot or he’s tired. He’s learned to control his temper when he gets angry, but then he comes home and all his pent-up frustrations spill out in a torrent of four-letter words — usually shouted, of course. I’m surprised that parrot of ours hasn’t dropped a few f-bombs. She’s certainly heard enough of them. I hate it when hubby gets upset, and I always wish I could do more to calm him down. I guess it helps to have someone who’ll listen to his rants and raves, so I forgive him, and do whatever I can to help.
- Unscrewing light bulbs. OK, we’re back to the lights again. He never turns them off, but he usually keeps half of them unscrewed in each fixture. “To cut down on electricity,” he says. I have to laugh. Honey, turn them off. That’s how to save on the light bill. But, no, that would be too easy, I suppose. Instead, I have to live with light fixtures that always look as if half the bulbs are burned out. But, I’ll forgive him.
While I can poke fun at him, I know I have just as many — probably more — little quirks that he’s got to forgive. I hope his “forgivables” list might include forgiveness for:
- Leaving cabinet doors open. Hey, I’m short.
- Saving empty boxes. You never know when you might need one!
- Cramming junk in the drawers without sorting through it.
- Eating rice cakes in bed. Sorry about the crumbs, honey.
- Leaving half-finished cans of cola sitting around.
- Buying plants for “my” garden — for him to plant for me.
- Calling him at work because I don’t know how to switch between the television and the DVD player.
- Needing him to change the cartridge on the printer because I can’t figure that out either.
- Not throwing out the wilted flowers. He buys me flowers. All the time. I love them, but I get busy and forget to throw them out after they’ve wilted and died.
And my number one most annoying habit for which I hope he’ll forgive me:
- Collecting pepper seeds. I have this thing about peppers. Green peppers. Red peppers. Orange peppers. Yellow peppers. I can’t cut one open without saving the seeds. Yes, I’ve planted some, grown plants from them, got peppers from them, and saved those seeds, too. We have pepper seeds everywhere. I save them in baggies, I put them in jars, I roll them up in tissue, I try to hide them…it’s an obsession! I can’t help myself!
Honey, please, forgive me for the peppers!
Now, it’s YOUR turn. I want to hear about YOUR list of “forgivables”.
What foolishness, foibles, faults, and flaws are YOU willing to forgive?
Leave a comment and you’ll be entered in the August giveaway.