Diary of a Marriage: Fights, Chores, and Menial Tasks

Ah, the wonderful, comforting mundaneness of marriage.

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This past weekend, J. and I finally mustered up the energy to dismantle the fake Christmas tree we scored at Target for $79.99 at last year’s post-holiday blowout sale. It was either take the tree down now or be those weird people who keep their tree up year-round. And that, I figured, is a slippery slope to hoarding cats and collecting Hummel figurines, so really, it was do-or-die time. So that is how I found myself painstakingly wrapping up about one hundred delicate crystal and gold ornaments in tissue paper at 7pm Sunday night while J. watched The Football on TV.

Once I’d stacked them safely away in the clear plastic box labeled ‘Holiday Décor’ (because there is no end to my OCD), J. packed up the tree—now in three sad little parts—and lugged the last of our Christmas decorations to the garage. Then it was time to put our furniture back into its pre-tree formation, shimmying a planter into its spot beneath the window and lining the chaise lounge up with the imprints it left in the rug … only … it wasn’t working.

“It looks so dumb there,” J. said after I moved the chaise into the little pressed-down squares in the carpet.

“But that’s where it goes,” I said.

“But it looks dumb,” he said, mimicking my tone in a really annoying way.

“Fine, then you move it, Mr. Designer Man,” I said. And he did move it, to a bizarre spot in the center of the room.

“That’s asinine,” I said. “You can’t even get to the coffee table with it there. It doesn’t go there.”

He threw up his hands. “Whatever, I don’t care where it goes. Just put it wherever.”

So I moved it back into the carpet squares, because that’s where it was before, so that’s where it should go now. And then suddenly Mr. I Don’t Care Where Our Furniture Is As Long As I Can See The Football decided that he had an opinion.

“No,” he said, and I swear, he was almost wringing his hands. “No, it’s like it’s right against the wall. That’s so stupid.”

It was my turn to throw up my hands. “I don’t care where the chaise goes. Just find a spot for it and let me go upstairs and shower. This is the biggest waste of time. There are carpet squares!

I sat on the couch, determined not to care about where my husband was putting the stupid chaise. Then I decided that I hated the chaise, always had. It matched the sofa too well, and it was too bulky, the exact opposite of what a chaise should be.

“Let’s just throw the damn thing out. I hate that chaise,” I said, as J. sat on his knees staring bewildered at the carpet squares.

“You love that chaise,” J. said.

“No, I hate it. I’ve always hated it. I hated it when we bought it, I hated it last month, I hate it now.”

He was quiet for a bit, and I almost thought he’d agree to just chuck the chaise, which would be even more stupid than putting it in the center of the room because we need an extra seat, and we can’t afford to buy another one right now anyway. So we both know we’re stuck with the chaise.

But, you see, these are the decisions that married couples come to sometimes. The decisions made out of pure end-of-our-rope frustration. Can’t figure out where the chaise goes? Throw it out! Can’t stop the sinks from clogging up? Take out the drain stoppers! (Which we did in a fit of rage at our double sinks one morning. We still have yet to replace them, so dropping anything on the bathroom counter is a source of sheer panic.) There are those times where you’re both pushed to the snapping point, when there’s a dripping showerhead in the middle of the night and you convince yourself that angrily tying a towel in a knot around it will stop the leak (it doesn’t), or that it’s appropriate to tie your temper-tantrum-throwing child into a chair with the belt of your bathrobe. (My parents once resorted to this when I was little, and I can just imagine them looking at one another in desperation, both at the end of their ropes, the question lingering, unasked, in the air: “Is it wrong to forcibly restrain our child with a bathrobe tie?” And then one of them, probably my dad, silently answering the question, maybe with a hopeless shrug: “No, darling wife. No, it’s not wrong.”)

Because when there are two of you, crazy solutions sometimes seem okay. And all it takes is a firm nod of the head—Yep! That’s what we’re gonna do!—and you both are problem-solvers, in it together, both straining to fit a gigantic chaise into a plastic trash bin in the garage.

Only we kept the chaise. One of us came to his senses (J.), and we’re left with a stupid piece of furniture in the wrong spot in our living room. Sometimes it just takes one of you to say: “Let’s just live with it for a bit and see how it looks tomorrow” for the problem to seem smaller somehow, more manageable.

Of course, it also might take the other one to actually get rid of the problem by saying: “Honey, I bought a new chaise.”

What silly little mundane things do you and your groom argue about? How do you end up reaching a conclusion?


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