No Frame of Reference.

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?


4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Invisible Mikey
    Apr 12, 2011 @ 05:42:45

    Well, we actually haven’t had a conflict of this type because in 17 years neither of us has thrown the other’s stuff out without negotiation or consultation. We do have spirited arguments about differences in what we value. I hate the ugly lamps she inherited from her mother. She hates my closet full of audio gear, adapters and cords. We don’t have anywhere to put the 50 boxes of books and records we have in rented storage. We reach compromises slowly. There are now fewer lamps, and each month I get rid of another box worth of cords and doo-dads as I unpack and hook up our media gear. We’re getting a Kindle to help reduce book storage needs, and I’m setting up a transfer station for records so we can get rid of them too. It helps that we are in agreement that we want to own less in general and do some serious de-cluttering.


    • Perks Being Me
      Apr 12, 2011 @ 12:12:15

      I love your insight and hope we continue to consult each other 🙂 It’s hard sometimes when you feel like there is clutter. It’s like, just throw it away…thanks for your advice! You must be doing something right after 17 years!


  2. Mom
    Apr 12, 2011 @ 15:06:49

    Well, after living with a man that NEVER throws anything away…I’ve given up…on one condition! I don’t have to clean it, move it, see it, or smell it. Well, I guess that’s technically 4 conditions. We still have his bike from elementary school. His sweatshirt that has more holes than fabric. His leather jacket that he can ALMOST get his arms in. But we’ve been happily married for almost 34 years, and thank goodness he’s never tarried through my secret hiding places. He’d never believe that the plaster of paris doggy I made in 2nd grade is a treasure!


  3. Team Oyeniyi
    Apr 13, 2011 @ 11:24:57

    Hmmmmmmmm – I’m not I’m much use on this one. I’ve moved countries three times – that tends to reduce any desire to keep stuff for a rainy day.

    My husband was an asylum seeker, in fact technically still is: trust me, they tend not to collect too much stuff either.

    So we will be interesting in that respect I suppose! We’ll start collecting junk together, perhaps?

    I do have BOXES of books stored in the boys’ wardrobe which I have to do something about before they arrive. They include books from when I was 10 years old – but they might be useful for the children, so I might just hold on to them……..


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