Being in a relationship is hard. Making a long term relationship work throughout the ebbs and flows, peaks and valleys, is really hard. And as many of us know, throwing one or two (or even more) little people into that mix is sometimes ridiculously hard.

My wife and I have been together for over 13 years and have lived together for probably over 10 of those years (law school accounts for much of the gap when we only saw each other on weekends. And I do believe that law school years should count like dog years, they were brutal). We’ve learned a lot about the ebbs and flows.

Cherry Hill, NJ circa 2000

Cherry Hill, NJ circa 2000

We’ve also learned a lot about what things you can change and what things you can live with. We all come with baggage, right? And maybe the secret to getting through the first few years of a long term relationship is identifying and accepting the baggage.

Then, after the “baggage identification period” (which actually may last forever), there comes the “what can I do to make you stop those little things that make me crazy” period. I’m pretty sure that period lasts for all of eternity.

However, I’ve been seeing some progress while also accepting some failures. That period, I think, becomes a game of “what things make me crazy” versus “what little quirks are actually cute and endearing”. In our relationship, I’m going to take a wild stab at it and say that I probably make Lo far crazier than she makes me.

It took me a long time to realize that I’d lost a big battle. I lost the toilet paper battle. It was a real (humorous) battle. We talked about it endlessly and it became a game of whomever used the last of the roll had the power to put the new roll on their way. I believe it should go “over” – reason #1 being that it’s easier to use the bathroom in the middle of the night without turning the lights on. Lo believes it should go “under” – I have no idea why. But she’s won the battle. I’ve relented and we’re now an “under” house. I’m not sure how or when I gave in, but here we are. One day, I just put the new roll on without thinking and much later, Lo walked into the room, smiled at me and softly said “I won. You finally put the roll on the right way.”

There are other silly “battles” that have not ended in victory or defeat for either of us:

I still leave my shoes by the front door instead of the hall closet.
I still squeeze the toothpaste from the middle.
I still throw the mail on the kitchen table instead of throwing the junk mail out first.
I still put a pen that’s run out of ink back into the pen drawer instead of throwing it away.
I still use 3-5 pots or dishes when cooking dinner instead of just reusing 1 or 2.
I still put the milk container back in the fridge with less than 1 drop in it.
I still leave lights on all over the house (that makes her totally nutty).
I’m just cluttered. My brain is cluttered and so is every aspect of my life.


She still throws EVERYTHING from the laundry pile into the washer and dryer without checking the labels.
She still has these little ways of eating certain foods that I find just odd (she eats all the sesame seeds off the crackers before eating the cracker, eats jelly beans in the most particular manner I’ve ever seen and nibbles all the chocolate around a Snickers bar before actually eating the darn thing).
She still leaves my car keys in her pants pocket when she takes my car (and I need them first thing in the morning).
She still has to have the bedroom temperature at her comfort level even though I often feel like I will burst into flames.
She still has some ridiculous OCD issues (like overuse of bleach or always having a paper towel in her pocket for public bathroom door opening purposes) but still hangs on to receipts (even grocery ones) FOREVER.

These seem like minor little things, but when your spouse irritates you, it can be that pen without ink that just SENDS YOU OVER THE EDGE. Some quirks, if not properly addressed, can lead to massive relationship blow ups and resentment. Hence, the need to either communicate the level of frustration or just force yourself to find them “cute” and, well “quirky.”

I think are currently managing the quirky stuff that may just be totally unchangeable. If Lo read this post, she may have about 10-15 more about me that I neglected to list here. But I am very, very thankful that she puts up with all of mine, however many there are. I wouldn’t change hers one bit. Well, except for the overuse of bleach. She always ruins MY shirts when she’s cleaning.

Danbury, CT circa Winter 2012

Danbury, CT circa Winter 2012

Anyone have any issues with your spouse’s quirks?

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