Marriage Quirks

Marriage is fun when you’re with the right person.

With the wrong person, it becomes a special kind of hell that can make you want to gnaw your own leg off to escape, but that’s a topic for another day.

We enter relationships with people, hopeful and dazzled by the idea of them and who we imagine them to be, but there is no way to sustain this level of infatuation over time.

It’s my opinion that you can’t really know someone fully until you’ve lived together under the same roof, and I’m a proponent of a good long test drive before exchanging vows and promising forever. This wasn’t a popular idea in my Christian family, but my life my rules, for better or worse, and I have a 50/50 marriage success rate. Pretty standard in America today, which is not to say I’m particularly proud of that track record, but it is what it is.

You shit with the door open? No way, I shit with the door open too. Soul Mates!

You shit with the door open? No way, I shit with the door open too. Soul Mates!

Once the cohabitation begins, you gain full access to all of the personality quirks that you might have been hiding during that dating/honeymoon phase. In a good relationship, you will discover things that make you love each other more, and in all relationships, you discover everything that annoys the shit out of you about this person. If the two balance out, and you can avoid eating soup together in an otherwise silent room until the end of time, you’ve probably got a chance at sustaining a real life together.

I’m lucky to be married to a funny guy–and I mean really funny.

There are some quirks to our marriage though, and I know I’m about to get in trouble when my otherwise light-hearted husband mutes the television, looks over at me and says in a serious tone, “Sweetie…” Whatever he is about to say is going to piss me off or hurt my feelings because it is usually some constructive criticism, or a reminder of something I have forgotten to do.

Here are a few of those quirks:

  1. The Fart Quirk: I’m not going to go into great detail here because fart jokes aren’t for everyone. I hate to break this news to any men who like to pretend otherwise, but women fart too. And I was raised in a house full of men, so I think they are hysterical, and I don’t typically go to great lengths to hide mine after the honeymoon period is over. The problem is, I’m married to one of the only guys in the world who doesn’t think farts are hilarious. Something about one of his three older brothers gassing his morning corn flakes on a daily basis during his youth, but he will get up and go to the bathroom when he has to float an air biscuit. Of course, I appreciate this, but I don’t feel the same obligation to him, and I’m constantly grossing him out. I know this isn’t the most attractive quality in a woman, but it’s me. Ripping ass when I need to is an important key to my overall relationship happiness.
  2. The Annoying Song Quirk: I guess my husband hears music in his dreams because he wakes up every morning with a song stuck in his head. Before he leaves for work each morning, he comes over to say goodbye, skillfully avoiding my terrible morning breath and kissing me on the forehead. Then he’ll usually give me the song of the day. And I will sing that song all day. I beg him not to do it, but he’s 50/50 on listening to my requests. Some of the worst ones are: The Cure, Friday, I’m in Love, John Michael Montgomery, Sold (Grundy County Auction), The Clorox song (Mama’s got the magic of Clorox), Toby Keith, Red Solo Cup, and that stupid Hippopotamus Christmas song. This morning it was a little Darius/Hootie, Wagon Wheel. I’m still singing it. Mix this in with the music on every single toy my daughter owns, the hot dog song on Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, and the Super Why alphabet song, and I’m completely lost in a life soundtrack that makes me long for deafness.
  3. The Last Dish in The Sink Quirk: Prior to my experience of milking myself every three hours for six months to feed my baby, I never cared that much about dirty dishes in the sink. I did them when the sink got completely full. When I worked, I didn’t often cook, so this was not as gross as it might sound. We didn’t have a lot a dishes. But after hand washing pump parts and bottles 9 times a day, dishes in the sink make me twitchy now. I can’t stand it. I clean as I go, and even if the rest of the house is a complete disaster, I can feel accomplished if the kitchen is clean. My husband had a habit of leaving his cup in the sink at the end of the day, and it made me unreasonably furious until I finally told him, and he stopped. Now he’ll only leave it there if the dishes in the dishwasher are clean. We are both much happier, but it took me a while to even notice he stopped doing it, and that was embarrassing because I was still making jokes and taking little digs at him long after he had already stopped doing it. I’m pretty observant sometimes.
  4. The Last Load of Laundry in the Dryer Quirk: To be fair, I have my own annoying habits, and maybe the worst one is leaving the last load of laundry in the dryer, pretty much every single time. It’s usually the whites so neither of us ever have clean socks in our drawers, and we have to dig through dryer a lot. What can I say, I hate matching socks. My husband almost started World War III over here the other day when he went to do a load of his own laundry and I let him because he can work the machine as well as I can. But when he was ready to transfer that load into the dryer, last week’s whites were still sitting in there. He asked me, “What should I do with these, baby?” Of course, I said, “Why don’t you try folding them?” But this stuff is my responsibility right now–that’s the deal we have. I don’t have to work or wear heels every day, so the laundry is my thing. Just like picking up dog poop, taking down the trash, and digging my wedding ring out of spider holes under the cabinets are his things. When I return to work, housework will once again become the fight producing wasteland it tends to be in so many other marriages, but for now the roles are clearly defined, and there is comfort in that. He threw them on the guest bed, and I folded them the next day when I felt like it. No big deal.
  5. The Toilet Seat Quirk: I know, this complaint is tired, but a new twist on the toilet seat issue between men and women occurred for us while I was pregnant. I was peeing no less than 12 times a night; I needed the seat to be down, and it wasn’t. I fell in a couple of times which was remarkable considering the size of my ass during that period. I finally snapped on him, which takes me awhile to do. And with his logical, reasonable engineer mind, he made me play a game I hate when I’m being unreasonable that we now call, “Which is More Likely.” I was convinced that he had just started leaving the seat up to piss me off. The truth was, that he always leaves it up and I had never noticed because when you grow up in a house full of men, you become skilled at putting it down or avoiding their bathrooms all together. So he won this argument hands down, and proceeded to educate me that it was much more likely that he had always left the seat up, not that he had just started doing it after years of sharing a bathroom purely to torture me while I was hormonal and pregnant. I really hate it when he’s right sometimes.

Anyone have any fun marriage battles they would like to share? Did you win the battle or lose it?

*If this post sounds familiar to my long-time readers, it is. I edited and re-worked it a little, and I hope it flows better now. I have new material coming soon, but I’m working on some other things and about four people read this the first time. Thanks again four people!
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51 thoughts on “Marriage Quirks

  1. I love this post because 1. I love your stories and I think this is such a truth about marriage and how it goes when it’s with the “right” person. 2. I agree, living with someone gets some of those unknowns out of the way and also lets you know if you’re wasting your time. I found this out just in time with my past relationships and even though one of us was hurt in the end, we didn’t end up wasting more time than necessary.

    • Thanks, Lauren! I know plenty of people who have managed to make it work without living together first, but I just didn’t happen to be one of them. I’m glad you enjoy some of my stories. I feel like we bond in a super mature way over farts a lot. Haha! Cheers to being in happy relationships.

  2. I was fortunate to not marry till I was inn my 30s, and we lived together for several years before that.
    Whenever one of her quirks starts to upset me, I just remind myself that I have plenty that piss her off too.

    Usually we just say something snarky and follow it with a kiss.

    And theres no way its a completely silent room if two people are eating soup.

    • That’s how we try to deal with them too. We tease each other, and try to do better next time. I think about matching the socks every week, and that’s what matters right? Hahaha!
      Two people in a room eating soup or kettle chips with zero background noise…it’s basically my pet peeve nightmare.

  3. I am one of the four… I also re-blogged this post on soulfoodwords. I haven’t been writing myself lately, huuummm in quite a while actually, so when something like this makes me laugh out loud and has to do with relationships, I share. Smiles for your day… men, hate to love them, so much fun and nerve wracking at the same time!

    Natalie

  4. Pingback: Marriage Quirks – Re-blog from Rich Full Life | soulfoodwords

  5. Funny story. my husband and i have been together for 13 years and married for almost 3 but since the beginning of our relationship if i tell him he is wrong about something he will go to great lengths to prove that he is right. well about 11 years ago we got in an argument about pork rinds I’m sure i spelled that wrong but oh well anyway he said they were made of pork fat and i said no they are made of pig skin, so he decided to prove me wrong he was gonna make some homemade. (We didn’t have internet at the time) so he had the oil going in the kitchen and was ready to cook but he walked away and when i went in the kitchen the oil was on fire. i screamed for him and he came running and quickly covered the pot with a plate everything was fine, not hhe took the plate off of the pot and the oil exploded onto his hand so we rushed to the hospital. his hand was nothing but a big third degree burn, and then the doctor informed him that i was right they are made of pig skin that’s why they are called pork rhinds. so he very painfully learned i was right. he still tries to prove me wrong about everything, but i always say remember how the pork rhind incident went down.

  6. Really funny stories! Well, my track record is great so far but my husband’s is not…so one thing I think I did right was get my hubby after he had been burned before, so everything I do never really bothers him! But he does have quirks. He too leaves his mug in the sink even after he watches me empty the dishwasher. And we have a sock issue at the house too. The quirk that bothers me most though is that somehow since I have been staying home, I get that constructive criticism over really dumb things like, did you feed the bearded dragon veggies today? And then “the look” if I forgot. Or if I run out of something in the kitchen, like fruit, I get the look like it’s a character flaw. He probably doesn’t mean it that way, but I feel the tsk…tsk….the good news is, we never really get super angry for dumb reasons and don’t hold resentments. I think that’s key!

    • I think it’s so important not to get too angry about these types of things. I feel that a lot too since I’ve been staying home. Like nothing is good enough, and every reminder is a criticism, but when we communicate about it, that feeling generally falls away quick. (You reminded me of another quirk too–even though I stay on top of the dishes/dishwasher, my husband HATES the way I load them. Ha!) But thank you so much for reading, and for sharing your experiences today :)

    • Any time, Christie. It’s good for me to turn these over and look at them in a humorous way instead of getting annoyed in the moment by them. Glad you got a laugh from it.

  7. I thought that fart game story sounded familiar. :)

    I know all about the song earworm thing, but not from my husband. My 13-year-old is ridiculously chipper in the morning, and he’ll inevitably sing some song that stays with me all day. One time I had “Hey, hey, we’re the Monkees” in my head for a good week.

  8. I HATE dishes left in the sink. I usually end up doing the dishwashing, and the sink is my work area. Leave the dishes on the counter so that I can get to them at my discretion. Anything in the sink just gets in the damn way!

    • I’m glad I’m not the only one with the dishes issues, Cutter. I’ve tried to relax about it recently, but I still have a hard time going to bed if the sink isn’t completely clear. Thanks for chiming in today!

  9. Oh, the ends and outs of marriage. Relationships are a lot of give and take, accepting, and adjusting expectations. My husband loves to do laundry, but never folds clothes. Oh, it drives me crazy. We’ll have a big pile of wrinkled clothes in the corner we call the clothes blob!

  10. I can certainly relate to #2 and he throws my name into the songs to irritate me even more. Plus these songs go on all day long, really dude! We do the battle for the sheets every night – gets really old after almost 10 years of marriage – hello! sleep sacks I am starting to think – ha! We do the driving game as to who is going to drive when we are both together. I do not know why he bothers because he hates my driving and hangs on for dear life every time – just let it go already. I am still learning quirks pretty much every day and see no end in sight any time soon – oh well – here’s to picking your battles! Great Post – needed a good laugh today too – Happy Weekend:)

    • The sheets and driving quirks are great examples too. Your comment is cracking me up too and reminding me of more of ours that I didn’t even think of to include! Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts, and I hope you have a great weekend too :)

  11. Just passed the 19 year mark, and I am still the neat freak. Nothing has changed much in that time, and yet it has. Settling into something like a warm sweater of a partnership can be satisfying in so many ways. We’ve slowed down in many ways, and yet gotten started in others. Parenting is still new to us, six years in, and will probably still feel like that in another six. Or twenty six.

    Quirks will always be there, and those are usually the things that first endeared us to our spouses. There can be no way at all to not have something irk us about our partners. It used to cause me grief, but then realized that there are many things that cause her grief and she is quite patient with (or not – and that’s when I get clearcut opinions on what’s on her mind, ha ha). Accepting that this is who I chose to live out my years with brings me comfort now. Coming home to a dirty house doesn’t give me the steam whistling from my ears. I just think “oh, my time to shine”. Or something lame like that…ha ha.

    Great post.

    Thanks :)

    Paul

    • It’s always nice to hear from those further down the road in marriage. I feel like I’m in one that will go the distance this time, because with each passing year, the love grows deeper and more nuanced.
      I love your warm sweater comparison. And I think you have a healthy attitude about the quirks and frustrations that universally exist when you’re sharing your life and space with someone.
      Some good life advice, although cliche is to pick your battles with each other and it sounds like you’ve learned to do that. (I’m still learning :) )
      I appreciate you reading this one, and for your thoughtful comment!

  12. I have no plans to marry. Ever. Okay, that should read I have plans to not marry. Ever.

    But back when I did still think that was the path I was going to take, I swore I would never live with my intended before we got married. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with it, in fact I think it’s a very wise move for a lot of people. But I know me, and I knew that one day the only thing that would keep me from walking out the door one day in a rage, quite possibly forever, would be my marriage vows.

    Which, even though I was raised Catholic, has absolutely nothing to do with religion and the fact that Catholics don’t do divorce, and everything to do with the fact that I need and value my space and can go nuts over things like you’ve described. Literally.

    I think in the end I arrived at the smart decision for me, which was just to steer clear of ever living with anyone.

    After that ramble, the dishes thing? OMG, the whole kitchen. . . With my parents, that was something I had to learn to back away from completely, because I was quite literally driving myself mad. OCD and other people in the kitchen (not to mention my temper) don’t make for a good combination. Same goes for the bathroom. ;)

    • I totally get what you’re saying. There are so many reasons why people are choosing to not marry these days, and it’s a different set of reasons for everyone.
      My own religious upbringing ensured that I stayed much longer in my first marriage than was probably healthy for either of us out of fear of failure and judgment.
      Living with anyone is a challenging thing, especially if you have OCD. Committing to it for the rest of your life, is not something that should be done lightly :)
      I appreciate your comment here. It makes a lot of sense to me.

  13. “It’s my opinion that you can’t really know someone fully until you’ve lived together under the same roof, and I’m a proponent of a good long test drive before exchanging vows and promising forever.”

    YES. I thought my ex and I would not stoop to the same level others couples did. We wouldn’t fart near each other, we would never go to bed mad, we would always put effort into our appearances for each other. Six months later all that stuff was out the window. (Note: we didn’t break up because we hated living together. We broke up because he realized he wanted kids.)

    • Well I’m sorry that his opinions on kids changed. That’s part of the problem of getting married young too, or at all for some people–too much can and does change.
      I have to laugh at the six month time line, because every time one of these quirks would come up or fights would happen we would laugh and note that it was around six months into our relationship.
      Good to see you, Jen!

  14. My wife and I did not live together before marriage, nor did we have a physical relationship. Rather quaintly old-fashioned, I realize, but neither of us have ever regretted it for a minute. It is interesting that most couples do live together before marriage, and yet the divorce rate is still 50%. Back when couples rarely lived together before marriage, the divorce rate was considerably lower. I feel that this is instructive. It is a common fallacy that living together gives a couple a better basis for deciding whether to marry. It doesn’t. Either you’re committed to the relationship or you’re not. Saying that a marriage “didn’t work out” is just poppycock. You either make it work or you don’t. If you’re not willing to do the work to make it work, more power to you — stay single.

    My wife and I learned a lot about each other after marriage, but we believe that’s how it’s supposed to be. Each of us has many quirks, but guess what? Everyone does. If you don’t want to be subject to the quirks of another on a daily and intimate basis, then once again I say more power to you — stay single.

    It’s time we realize that marriage is not for everyone. It is not mandatory and there should be no stigma attached to one’s personal decision to remain single. I thought about this the other day when I was getting a haircut at a tiny local salon. The young lady cutting my hair, who apparently thought she was my friendly bartender, confided that she got married way too early at age 17 and divorced soon after. She said she’s glad she’s single now, but she’s glad she tried marriage too. After all, she told me, it’s like there’s something wrong with you if you don’t get married. I wanted to scream. Nevertheless, I do understand where she’s coming from. I didn’t get married until the age of 40, and believe me, I took a lot of grief from everyone from my parents to my employees prior to that time. I am thankful that I went through a series of ridiculously horrible relationships that helped me to appreciate what a good and wonderful marriage can be when I finally decided to go down that path.

    I don’t leave the toilet seat up because, well, I’ve never done that. My wife says it’s because I grew up with sisters. But I have plenty of other annoying and even disgusting habits that my wife puts up with. Granted, I got by far the better end of the deal. I am not a saint and I don’t pretend to be one. For example, I am the epitome of the lazy slob. I tried to explain this to my wife before we were married but she now admits that she thought I was exaggerating and could not have imagined the depths of my laziness. But you know what? None of that stuff matters. “To have and to hold” is such a blessing that I am convinced that anyone who harps on the faults and habits of their spouse lacks sufficient appreciation of the good thing they have. There are some days when my wife has truly had it with me and others when I have to beseech her to be reasonable, but again, perspective, people. It’s not all about YOU. And so I end this long, long ramble by saying once again that those who cannot tolerate the quirks of their beloved should stay single and, as Mac Davis used to sing, cherish their own company.

    • Hi there, Aron!
      Thank you for your long ramble, and I commend you for being a man who puts the seat down :) I heartily agree with your conclusion that those who can’t tolerate the quirks of marriage should stay single without thought to any societal pressure to marry. I’ll leave this reply within the scope of “traditional” marriage for the sake of brevity, and hope that no one reading takes that as exclusionary language.
      It’s not an imagined stigma (being single after a certain age) and I know many people, men and women, who feel it profoundly.
      I think your decision to hold off on living together and having a physical relationship with your wife is an honorable one, and there is something to be said for quaint and old fashioned. I know many people who were able to do that, and have never regretted it either. It adds a strength to your bond and marriage when you don’t “leave the back door open to divorce,” as some folks in my family and Christian circles would say. There are elements of truth to that point of view, and I respect them, it just wasn’t a standard I was able to live up to personally. I get judged for it and for being divorced a lot so it’s become a bit of a hot button for me over the years.
      I’m not sure we can blame the divorce rate solely on the trend of living together before marriage, but it’s an interesting correlation and worth examining. I just think there are many other factors that have affected the numbers–those factors are a series of posts or post length comments on their own.
      I also married young the first time. It was unfortunate. In my case, the demise of that union was based on so much more than selfishness, being unwilling to try to work it out, and my inability to cope with quirks like I’ve described here, and in a way I meant to be humorous (although my selfishness and youthful arrogance were both factors).
      Bottom line, marriage is not easy. Expecting it to be easy and fun all the time is incredibly naive and I think there should probably be an age restriction on any imarriage license issued! Ha! (My vote is at least 30).
      It’s a good thing to hold in mind at all times, “It’s not all about YOU!” It’s a cornerstone of any successful marriage and compassionate living in general. It’s something I have to remind myself daily. Sometimes hourly.
      I appreciate you sharing your thoughts on it, and your comment could stand on its own as a great post, and one I think people would enjoy discussing.
      Now hug your wife, and thank her again for putting up with your lazy tendencies.
      I have to fight mine as well, as I’d happily sit around on my butt reading blogs, watching Netflix and avoiding chores indefinitely if I could :)

    • Wow. There is definitely something to be said for the decision to commit all of yourself to ONLY the one you choose to marry. I definitely think that “trying out” the marriage by being intimate (and sort of pretending you are married) can lead to a lot of problems if your communication isn’t good. I am happily married (after a failed first marriage) and feel so blessed to have a partner who can laugh with me. We have so many quirks. We are very different people in some ways. It’s just such an amazing thing to feel that despite the down times, the irritations or even occasional blow outs, this is someone committed to me, and I to him. I agree it’s about allowing each other to not be perfect and giving each other grace. Also, being able to discuss expectations is huge – what you both expect of each other. I carried a lot of myths into my second marriage. I’d get all upset and he’d have to say, “I NEVER expected that you would….or have to….or should…I am perfectly happy with a sandwich or a bowl of cereal. It’s really ok! These things aren’t a big deal!”
      Blessings on your marriage!

  15. Yes, yes, and I say again, YES! I would also like to add the “mom’s away, dad will play” quirk, which is more of a parenting quirk than a marriage quirk. But on the rare occasion I’m away for the day my husband lets them watch TV, takes them to a movie and takes them out to eat. And I don’t mean one or the other… I mean all three! Now I’m not always sure taking them out to eat is easier than feeding them at home or that screen time will melt their brains, but it does make him seem like Dad of the Year in their eyes as opposed to Boring Mom, the one they’re usually stuck with. Ha! So glad to see your post pop up in my in-box!

    • Oh yes, the parenting quirks is another post all together as well! My husband gets to be the fun parent with ours too. I try to plan at least one day of fun during our weeks too, but mostly we’re stuck on schedules and errands and things we have to do other than watching shows and eating food I don’t have to cook :) Thanks for your comment!

  16. My blog post today is about a very typical difference of opinion. It’s pretty normal that my husband and I want to do things VERY differently, because we are complete opposites in so many ways, but we keep growing and laughing at how different our minds work….because if you don’t laugh, you’d probably cry! :)

  17. I love this post, and I think I must have missed it the first time! I appreciate your candor. Can’t say that fart jokes do it for me, but my kids love ‘em, so I use them every once in a while to get a cheap laugh. I’m not above it. I have to say that my quirky road lately involves realizing after 7 years of marriage that when I ask him for help (“Fix this” kind of stuff) it is done almost immediately, whereas he asks me for something (“Can you check into this?” kind of stuff) and I usually wait about 6 weeks. Gosh, that must drive him nuts… but he never complains! Thus, sealing my love for this man! **Also, as a side note, per your previous poster, I thought I’d add my two cents on the “shacking up” thing. I, too, am a shacker. Worked out well for us. A friend of mine did a research paper in college (this was about 15 years ago, so bear in mind) which deconstructed the statistics behind divorce rates as they pertain to living together. True: People who lived together prior to marriage were more likely to get divorced. However: People who live together prior to marriage have already portrayed a different interpretation of traditional “wait until you’re married”cohabitation, thus it’s not too much of a stretch to assume that they’d be more likely to eschew the long-held (and I’d argue, stubbornly misguided) view that by going into a marriage they are making a life-long no-way-out divorce-is-not-an-option commitment. Indeed, these people would be more likely to question staying in a marriage which did not meet their criteria of a healthy union. And furthermore, I’m apt to question the thought that longevity is a marker for success. Sure, it CAN be a marker of succes, but there are many others. I know far too many people that have been married for decades and more that have marriages that are nothing to put on a pedestal. So, all this to say, I hope you can let go of any shame you have in confessing your divorce. It is BRAVE to end a relationship that is hindering you and hurting you, whether it’s a ring-on-your-finger situation or not. Further courageous in the face of religious and familial pressure that says divorce is “failure.” For many, getting divorced is an act of optimism–hope in something better. ** (p.s. Sorry for the novel.)

    • Love this comment, Jayme. I think it is a really good point, that longevity isn’t the only marker for a successful marriage either. Great points all the way through this comment. You rock, and I will leave it at that.

  18. Yes, yes, yes.

    As to the living together, I am a huge proponent. My husband and I moved in together — insanely fast largely because neither one of us could afford the rents in Boston just after we graduated from college — and I am so glad that we did. Not only did it teach us that we would be able to do this whole married thing for the long haul, but also because it gave us a chance to hash-out all the really big issues in life, like how to load the dishwasher and how to properly fold t-shirts, when they were just silly little arguments and not “OMG I just married this person and we don’t do anything alike and what have I done and my life is over” epic meltdowns.

    • Yay! There is a huge draw to sharing living expenses when you are younger too. Great point. It takes that panic element out of the whole situation when you can learn to live together with a little less pressure on the whole thing. As for how to load the dish-washer–that is a running joke around here as well. I arrange the dishes as they are used, and it’s not always pretty! Thanks for your comment.

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