February. It’s around this time that people start romanticising about love and marriage. Stuff like that. I blame St. Valentine; he who has been associated since the Middle Ages with the tradition of courtly love. I’m now married. To Mr G. He and I have been together for a very long time. I remember our first Valentine’s Day together vividly. It was fifteen years ago. He wooed me with expensive champagne, an enormous bunch of flowers and chocolates, not to mention a slap up smoked salmon brunch. Yes we had lie-ins in those days. Breakfasts were something that people who got up at 8am on weekends had. Oooh how things change!
After eight years, Mr G. and I decided we should go down the road of parenthood. A bumpy road indeed. We now have two young ‘busy’ (to use a euphemism) boys. Our eldest has a penchant for sporadically screeching out ‘OOPA GANGNAM STYLE!!’ often at 6am when we are fast asleep in bed. He and his younger brother squabble and fight incessantly. Well, 99.9% of the time. Usually if they are quiet, they are up to something. For example, rummaging through my cupboards causing mayhem – or squeezing an expensive bottle of organic body cream all over the bed. It goes without saying that Mr G. and I both found parenthood a shock to the system. In a bygone era, we backpacked several times a year to foreign climes, went to the cinema weekly and had lie-ins. We haven’t had one of the latter for at least seven years. Three years ago we did the unthinkable. We left London and moved somewhere ‘quieter’. Something we’d scoffed that only ‘boring’ people did. We cope. I exercise. He rides his bike frantically around the park every evening. We own a house. We have responsibilities together.
So it’s a good thing we are married because we’re stuck together anyway.
However, just because we’re happily married doesn’t mean we don’t irritate the hell out of each other. We bicker over little things and sometimes it’s easy to let the little things completely wind you up.
For example, his absence of dishwasher stacking skills. I keep trying to teach him that there’s a skill to loading , but I’m not going to go into that now because I’m trying to keep my blood pressure down. Of course there is also the issue of him putting empty packets and bottles back in the cupboard and/or fridge, instead of the bin. How many times have I gone to get a glass of wine from that bottle in the fridge and found it totally empty? He claims he doesn’t drink wine, only beer. It’s just as well I have given up drinking alcohol now. Funny how he doesn’t help himself to my coconut water or carrot juice.
It drives me insane that Mr G. always has to leave some windows open in winter when the heating is on. I also hate he leaves the lights on when he goes out. He also ignores the rugs when they’re ruffled and overturned. And he sees nothing wrong with leaving his size 12 shoes strewn on the hall floor – despite the fact I bought him two enormous shoe boxes to store his shoes neatly in.
I find it excruciatingly irritating that rather than take the FULL bin bag out and putting it in the outside bin, he’ll squish the rubbish down to make more room, which makes it impossible to get out of the kitchen bin without breaking the bag. He also puts the ‘wrong stuff’ in the various recycling and composting containers which leaves me seething.
He hates my penchant for Aerobics and Zumba. In short, ‘exercising indoors’ is bonkers to a man who loves the outdoors. He hates that I throw anything out which is left strewn on work surfaces – which includes bunging his ‘important documents’ in the paper recycling bag. He thinks I am ‘anal’ and have OCD. I call it tidiness. And what of the wet towels thrown on the bathroom floor? Left to fester. It also leaves me deeply irked when Mr. G. makes himself a greasy fried breakfast and the noxious smell permeates the entire house. You see, I eat healthily. But he doesn’t – although he insists he does….
The list goes on and on. They are only little things, but when you live with someone for many many years and they do these things many, many times it bothers you. A lot. Welcome to marriage.
Bickering. He and I are both guilty of it.
The other day I asked Mr G. to wash up his dirty dishes and pans, since he’d left them stacked next to the sink. Something he does often. I got home from work eight hours later and they were still there. I watched him sitting at the kitchen table reading the paper and I could feel my neck getting itchy with irritation. I know I shouldn’t have said anything but my inner juvenile is very strong-willed so I said “How dare you leave that washing up for me to do! I’m not your slave or mother!”
He looked at me with that ‘you are such a cow’ look and then his inner juvenile piped up too and he said “Whatever. I don’t have to do things the way you do them because your way isn’t always the right way”.
Which is actually wrong. Of course my way is the right way.
Everything hunky-dory in your marriage or long-term relationship?