You hear over and over and over again – “it’s the little things” that make a marriage or partnership work…the coffee your partner brews for you each morning or the neck rub he/she gives you each night. The small considerations we do for one another…taking out the trash, picking up the dog poop, making the bed a certain way – these are the kind of daily considerations that contribute to a successful marriage.
We’ll talk about those some other day.
I also think it’s the seemingly small things that can drive you absolutely bananas in a marriage. While not necessarily capable of causing a signficant rift in your relationship, certain small things can, in the immortal words of Amanda when I wrote a similar post on the matter, make you stabby.
I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately, ever since we had central air installed in our house. Firstly, thank all Gods S. convinced me this would be a good idea. I’ve spent most of my life without air conditioning and despite some pretty wicked seasonal allergies it isn’t something I would have advocated for when so much needs to be accomplished around the house, but S. insisted we would need it this summer now that E. is old enough to dash this way and that and he was right. Central air offered tremendous relief during our recent heat wave and ensured we all slept well. It has, however, emphasized the different temperature tolerances S. and I have – an
argument converation that has occurred off and on since our first six months of dating. In more recent years I’ve mused to myself, friends and even on occasion to S. directly that the best-case scenario for us when we retire is living side-by-side in apartments somewhere, each with our own thermostat while the worst-case scenario is retiring in totally separate environments, not separated or divorced so much as finally comfortable with the temperature.
The AC does an amazing job of keeping our house cool, and for that I am grateful. Where our differences surface, though, is at exactly what temperature it should be turned on and when it should be turned off and the windows opened for some much-needed fresh air. I love the feel of the breeze blowing through open windows in the summertime – something S. could take or leave, I think. S. is much more sensitive to heat, as well, and requires a particularly cool room to sleep in, which means unless I get the whole pajama/sheet/blanket ratio just right AND he doesn’t steal the covers from me in the middle of the night (and yes, sleeping and marriage will certainly be a marriage Monday post down the line) I end up much too cold. In the summer. During heat waves. Which is ridiculous. And also an entirely privileged problem, I realize.
Temperature – it’s something we constantly have to negotiate. It’s just one of many little things we work through on a regular basis, not nearly as taxing, say, as moving households or even states (both of which we’ve done) but certainly more frustrating than choosing what’s for dinner. Other little but rage-inducing things include our different approaches to grocery shopping, how the laundry is washed and folded, and arguing over whether or not certain frequently-used kitchen ingredients like salt and oatmeal should be left on the counter or not (I am firmly in the yes camp on this – S. is not). For the most part we are able to adjust to one another’s needs and desires and maintain a harmonious home, but there are times when, after a night of shivering in my sleep and realizing it’s because S. stole all the covers, and then finding neither the coffee or the oatmeal where I left them the day before that, yes, I feel absolutely stabby.