I know that my husband loves me and that much of the time he feels very lucky that he’s married to me. He actually tells me so quite often!
I also know that I have a plethora of quirks and bad habits that drive him absolutely nuts. He tells me this quite often too!
And I know that there are a few things about me that my husband really hates. Things he wishes he could change. Or that I would change. But I can’t, because this is fundamentally who I am. And he knows it so these are the warts that come with the toad.
I haven’t specifically asked him what things he hates most, but I would venture to say these are his top three:
#3 – I put all kinds of food scraps in the sink and don’t run the garbage disposal. Apple cores, carrot shavings, toast crust, you name it. Since my husband is the person who fixes everything that breaks in this house, this is a sore point with him. Apparently allowing food to slip down the drain without running the disposal ends up clogging the disposal. Or the pipes. Or something. I don’t really know what it does but I know that it’s not good and that it really ticks him off to have to fix something that’s broken but doesn’t have to be.
But the thing is, I don’t leave food scraps in the sink because I’m sloppy or forgetful or even passive aggressive. I fail to run the garbage disposal because I have an aversion to noise. It’s an innate aversion shared, I’m told, by my sisters. We heedlessly walk around the house on tiptoes and leave kitchen cupboards and medicine cabinets open because those slight noises bother us. The only reason I can bear to grind my coffee beans each morning is because my caffeine addiction is stronger than anything.
#2 – I ask him a question when I’m really making a request. “Do you think she should wear rain boots?” really means “I think she should be wearing rain boots instead of sneakers.” “Aren’t you cold?” means “I’m cold, I want you to close the window.”
Sometimes my husband tries to force me to be more direct.
Me: “Don’t you think it’s too dark in here to be reading?”
Me: ‘”I think it’s too dark in here, please turn on the light!”
I attribute my circuitous speaking style to my midwestern upbringing, where I believe a sense of deference was imparted to me. Anyone who’s from the midwest or has ever listened to A Prairie Home Companion will know exactly what I’m talking about. “It’s basically just your ordinary English except that there are no confrontational verbs or statements of strong personal preference, you know.” To make an outright request would be to appear demanding. And nice midwestern girls aren’t demanding.
So unless my husband is feeling feisty, he tends to accommodate my doublespeak.
#1 – I can sleep anywhere, any time. My husband is an insomniac. I, in deep sleep, am unaware of his midnight restlessness, but there’s evidence in the morning. I find his book and reading glasses in the living room, an empty Cheetos bag on the couch in front of the TV, the butter dish and toast crumbs on the kitchen counter that had been clean when I went to bed.
I, on the other hand, have the fortunate ability to fall asleep instantly. I infamously slept through the opening band at a Doobie Brothers concert when I was in college. Elbow on armrest, I just laid my cheek on my palm and …zzzzz.
Our nights are often interrupted – by a young daughter who had a bad dream, by our cat’s altercation with a raccoon just outside our bedroom window. I can comfort the child and take her back upstairs to her own bed. I can go to the back door to shout at the raccoon and entice the cat to come inside. And then I can climb back into bed and fall into a deep sleep the moment my head hits the pillow. My husband, on the other hand, will lie awake for hours. And I know in those late night hours, listening to my not-so-softly snoring, he hates me.
I don’t really want to become a poor sleeper. Although I sleep well, I don’t get enough hours in as it is. But perhaps I can make a bigger effort to remember to use the garbage disposal. For the sake of my marriage.