My husband and I have lived together for the better part of 16 years. In those 16 years, you notice quirks about the other persons habits you love, and little things that make you absolutely crazy. Oftentimes, we are quick to notice the things that drive us nuts. The most typical I think we all hear about is leaving the toilet seat up, “forgetting” to change the toilet paper roll, leaving clothes on the floor, etc. In our house, those things don’t really happen that often, or don’t really bother me that much. My husband leaves his clothes on the floor in primarily the same spot, and often puts them in the hamper. I do so many loads of laundry a week, that the clothes on the floor don’t really bother me, because they are never there for very long.
What does bother me is the hangers. OMG the hangers. Every time my husband pulls a piece of clothing out to wear, he jerks it down, and the hanger goes flying up and is half sticking out of the rack, half mangled in the other hangers. Drives. me. nuts. For YEARS this has driven me crazy. On occasion I would say some exasperated, smart-ass comment about how it’s not that hard, to not mess up your hanger, and then I’d grudgingly move on.
A while back I gave a talk at my local moms group, and part of the discussion was about asking for help and resentment. So I decided I needed to frankly ask my husband to please when he takes his clothes off the hanger, to just put the hanger to the side. I know, this sounds neurotic, and as I write it, I know how obscure is sounds. Well a few weeks go by after I ask and I just keep going about my business; and my husband says to me “You didn’t even notice. All this time, with the hangers, and I’ve been moving them now, and you didn’t even notice.” I sat there kind of stumped. He was absolutely right, something had made me so crazy, and yet when he made the steps to change, and do something minor to make me happy, I didn’t even notice. How can something have driven me so crazy, and yet when it stops happening I didn’t even realize? I really felt like a dirt bag in a number of ways, because I was so annoyed, and then I finally just asked him to do things differently, and when he did, I didn’t notice. It’s so ridiculous.
What this did make me realize, is that we are quick to see the flaws in others. We are quick to judge. We are quick to notice and point out something that bothers us, and yet we are not as quick with the gratitude and appreciation. We often focus our attention on all the negatives and not the positives. This affects not only the relationship with a spouse, but others too. Have you ever been annoyed by some little quirk and then not notice when a change is made? Instead of focusing on the negative aspects of what our partner does and does not do, what if we focused more on the positive elements. Wouldn’t we appreciate that if they did that for us? What if we followed the golden rule with our spouses, “do unto others as you would have them do unto you?” I’ve read, that Grace is an extension of gratitude. What if we showed a little more grace, and a lot more gratitude; Imagine the difference that would make in our relationships and all of our interactions.