I have come to the conclusion that there are always things that we do which really annoy our spouse. Not major things, typically. More like annoying little habits. Or irritating mannerisms.
Not one of us is immune from such behaviors. Not you. Not my husband. Not even me.
Which is why I decided last New Year’s Day to take on an Attitude Resolution. I would choose one thing that Warren does that really bugs me… and let it go. Just simply let it go. Not let it bother me and just. Let. It. Go. That meant really letting it go. No snarky comments. And no announcement of my newly-acquired outlook. For to do either one would negate the entire premise of a changed attitude.
Additionally, I would choose one thing that I do that just plain annoys the hell out of Warren. It would have to be something that I do routinely and that really bothers him. I would need to rectify the behavior without any announcement of my corrected ways AND expect nothing in return.
Warren, who is a rather considerate housemate, has never formed much of a bond with the toilet paper holder. He is aware of its existence and its purpose, but seems to be incapable of replacing a used roll with a new one. It makes no matter what type of apparatus we have had to hold the toilet paper. A spindle between two brackets poses an obvious obstacle to the replacer-resistant. However, using a free standing holder or a stylish shelf have done nothing to encourage toilet paper replacement. For sixteen years, it drove me mad. I wondered if it was a sort of subconscious, passive statement of his love. Given the amount of toilet paper our family uses, this was the perfect annoyance for me to overlook for the year.
As for me, there was no dearth of irritating behaviors from which to choose. But I wanted one that, I thought, might make a positive difference in Warren’s daily outlook. Meaning–it would have to be something that I did on a daily basis. BINGO! Hair in the shower.
I shed. I shed something fierce. I always have. And my stray hairs would collect in the shower until I’d get around to tossing them in the trash bin. Warren finds it absolutely disgusting. And finding one of my “furballs” in the shower is enough to start off his day in a foul state-of-mind. Which made it the perfect challenge for me.
So here it is nearly one year later. I’ve learned a few things. I’ve learned that changing one’s behavior without any fanfare can be its own reward. Just knowing that I am no longer doing something that my husband finds aggravating makes me feel that I am sustaining a healthy relationship. Does this mean that all of our issues fall by the wayside because I do this one small act? Of course not. But it is a constant reminder to be more courteous to my life-partner. I’ve learned that engaging in private attitude resolutions can positively impact my general outlook. And I’ve learned that not replacing a roll of toilet paper is no more a passive-aggressive reflection of Warren’s love for me than forgetting to clean my hair out of the shower is for him.
As for Warren, it wasn’t so much that he noticed on a daily basis. Because, as he concluded, it’s hard to notice the absence of something. On those few occasions I forgot to remove a “furball,” he realized that it had been some time since he’d seen my hair in the shower. And that it didn’t irk him nearly as much.
So here’s to a New Year. Wonder what attitude resolutions I can work on in 2013.