I am blessed to have a wonderful, understanding and patient husband. We have been together for over 40 years and our relationship continues to grow richer. We enjoy doing many things together: traveling, studying, watching movies, and playing with the grandkids.
However, there are a few activities that Dan and I cannot do together. Our marriage is stronger because we have identified these potential trouble spots and work to avoid them.
1) We cannot load the dishwasher together. When I put dirty dishes into the dishwasher, I have one primary goal: not to position any item in such a way that it will collect water that will be dumped onto the floor when I unload the dishwasher. Dan’s goal in loading the dishwasher is the same goal he has when packing the car for a trip: to get as many things in there as is humanly possible. If we try to load the dishwasher together, we both wind up repositioning items the other one has already put into what he or she considered to be the best place for it. Soon we find ourselves asking fight-inciting questions such as “Whose kitchen is this anyway?” and “Why wouldn’t you want to do it the right way?”
2) We cannot listen to the same audio book separately at the same time. Over the years Dan and I have listened to dozens of audio books, originally on cassette tapes and now on CD’s. I check out the audio book from the library, listen to the first CD in my car and then pass that CD on to Dan to listen to in his car. The process continues until we have both finished the book.
I move through the CD’s faster than Dan does because once I start listening to a book, I listen to it every time I am in my car. Dan switches between listening to the book and listening to sports talk on the radio. Somewhere in the process Dan invariably asks me, “So, how does this book finally end?” I refuse to tell him how it ends because I want him to have the same pleasure I had in discovering the ending by listening to the audio book.
He keeps asking and I keep refusing to tell him. Before long we find ourselves making accusatory statements like: “If you had been listening to the book instead of wasting your time listening to sports talk, you would already know how it ends.” or “The only reason you won’t tell me how it ends is because you like having something to hold over my head. You get a charge out of knowing something I don’t know.”
3) We cannot tackle a computer problem together. It is pretty much a case of the blind leading the blind when he and I try to figure out something on the computer. We start with one of us sitting in front of the keyboard and the other one standing nearby giving instructions. At some point the stander demands to become the sitter because the current sitter cannot seem to do what the current stander says should be done. The process continues until the two of us are playing tug-of-war with a wheeled office chair. It isn’t pretty.
Newly married couples may waste their time trying to figure out ways for them to do everything together. Old fogies like Dan and me have learned that in order for us to stay together, occasionally we need to be separated.