I felt like a mad woman on Sunday. Flipping over chairs, digging through dirty heaps of clothes, exhaustively foraging through our garage like I was the star of Gold Rush. Alas, my search was unsuccessful. On the bright side, I got my workout in for the day.
Later that night, to my dismay, I discovered the individual behind this pandemonium.
“Hunnie, where did those solar lamps go that were in the garage?” I said to my husband as we strolled together during our nightly walk.
“Oh, I threw those away. They sucked and didn’t work anyways.”
I stopped dead in my tracks. I blinked a few times staring at his blank face that read: Why are you freaking out? NOT a big deal, babe.
Yeah, well Helena Bonham Carter made the worst dress decision of her life at this year’s Golden Globes and I bet he would tell me that wasn’t something to freak out about either. And not in a good way.
In that instant, a part of me reverted back to fifth grade when my best friend and I sat next to each other in English class. Whenever it was someone’s birthday, this particular teacher would pass out oatmeal creme pie cookies. Looking back, this probably wasn’t the proudest moment of my childhood, but we would snag an extra one while our “desk buddies” were out of class for tutoring. I can remember our other classmates pleading for us to share.
“No! This is MINE!” We would forcefully whisper.
After my momentary flashback, I came back to the present. “Why would you throw those away? I bought those with my own money?” I asked. And it’s true. When we said “I do,” we also vowed that money, or the lack thereof at this point, would never be an issue in our household. We would each have our own stash and both contribute to a shared fund.
I know that once you get married, you share everything. But at that moment, I felt possessiveness over what I felt was MY property. Not ours.
And I know it sounds silly, childish even – but I’d like someone to tell me there isn’t a gray area when it comes to long-term relationships or marriages. There’s a sudden shift somewhere between feeling so comfortable in your relationship – and in the understanding the two of you have – that you find it inconvenient to ask for permission to throw out old fraternity sweatshirts and your disgusting towels that hardly pass for dog rags, let alone suitable enough to display. I’ve accepted that you and the mini-beer fridge have an undeniable bond and let you keep it.
At the end of our walk, I turned to my husband and told him that it wasn’t a big deal. Really. In the scheme of things, it’s not. Still, I wanted to illustrate that we will continue to have different things throughout our marriage that one of us will consider trash and the other a keepsake.
My husband and I later laughed together at the mental picture of this, but I told him that what he did was sort of like me busting into his man cave and picking up one of his pricey medical books or collector baseball cards and exclaiming, “These are USELESS!” with no consultation and immediately throwing them away.
As long as neither of us becomes serious hoarders, we should quiet any whisper of a battle and keep the lamps. Statistics show that couples that fight over money at least once a week are 30 percent more likely to get divorced than those who don’t. After searching around, I found a cute article here that illustrates how to clean up, without clearing out, peacefully.
I’m curious to hear from you. In your past or current relationship, what thing did your spouse claim was no longer needed and haphazardly disregarded with no frame of reference?