It’s the little things that’ll drive you (and your spouse) crazy

Even in the best of marriages there can be little things about your spouse that drive you up the wall. My wife does things that annoy me, like load the dishwasher haphazardly. And I do things that annoy her, like come home after work.

The fact is, every relationship will be full of tiny annoyances that interrupt the pleasantries of day-to-day living. Maybe you occasionally (very occasionally) forget to wipe your feet after she has just got done mopping. Or maybe your spouse puts the silverware in the dishwasher with the handle up, when everyone knows, (it even says this in the Bible), that the handle should be down, so that the dirty part that you eat off of gets clean.

The question is: Are these minor nuisances really worth getting a divorce over?


I mean, no.

Not even if she does things that drive you to the brink of madness, such as leaving the kitchen drawers open. If I ever get involuntarily put into a living arrangement where I’m denied the use of sharp utensils, it’ll be because of this.

So I try to prevent it. After Marie leaves a drawer open, I’ll slam it shut real hard — just to get the point across. This is followed by her slamming (and locking) the door to the master bedroom. She knows how to get a point across too.

Trying to correct your spouse’s irritating habit can be touchy. The whole drawer thing is something I once gently tried to bring to her attention. This is how I pictured it playing out in my mind:

ME: Hey, Honey? Would you mind shutting the kitchen drawers when you are done? I’d really appreciate it.

HER: Why certainly! And I apologize for those times I haven’t. Would you like to make love now?

In reality:

ME: Hey, Honey? Do you mind closing the cabinet drawers when you’re done?

HER: Cabinet drawers?

ME: You tend to leave them open.

HER: Is that so?

ME: Um. Yeah. Sometimes, I guess.

HER: (aggressively) And that bothers you, does it?

ME: (starting to get frightened) Come to think of it, not really. Say, how was your day?

HER: Well you want to know what bothers ME? I’ll tell you WHAT BOTHERS ME. FIRST, YOU ALWAYS ...

Early on, my wife learned an important secret to marriage: When it comes to spousal fighting, the best defense is a good offense. Or a strong smack over your husband’s head with a spatula, which should be easy to find since the drawers are open.

So apparently I’m not perfect. For example, at breakfast I dunk toast in my coffee. She finds this disgusting. I’ll always remember the first time I did this in front of her. Judging by her reaction, you would have thought that instead of toast, I was dunking a live squirrel.

Her mealtime quirk I discovered while we were dating is that she has to compartmentalize her eating. At, say, dinner, she has to first eat all the peas, then all the potatoes, and THEN the steak. This particular quirk caused at least a 10-month delay in the marriage proposal.

For my part, I’ve been told I leave the toilet seat up. Sharing a bathroom with a brother growing up, and living with guys all my life, I hadn’t realized this was a problem. Apparently, however, there are some people in this world who just sit down on things without looking at where they’re sitting first.

Still, it’s an impediment to our marriage, which is why I’m going to try to improve. I’ll have Marie write down, on paper, a list of all the annoying things I do. (This may involve several trips to Office Max.) Then I’ll take that list, study it and display it in a prominent location where I’ll always be able to see it.

Like inside a cabinet drawer.

Reach Steve at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).


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