Who are you, and what did you do with my husband?

Sometimes my husband does things that surprise the heck out of me.  Like today.  I came home from my internship just as he was pulling in to the driveway.  He’s never home that early, so I was curiuos about why he was there.

Me:  Hey, Honey!  What are you doing home already?

DH:  I came home to do some chores before I go do my recon tonight.

Me:  Chores??????

DH:  Yeah.  I figured I’d take my clothes (dirty laundry) down to the basement.

Me:  (Externally I said…) Oh.  Okay.  Should I mark it on the calendar?  (Inwardly I said…) It’s about damn time!!!

DH:  Ha.  Very funny.

What y’all don’t know is that my husband’s side of the bedroom is ALWAYS covered in his clothes – clean and dirty.  I do the laundry and just add to his pile of "who knows what" on top of his dresser.  Every now and then I say, "Honey, if you want your clothes washed you need to take them downstairs."  It has taken me YEARS to get to the point where I don’t nag him on a daily basis about his "bedroom mess."

BTW, not only did DH take his clothes down to the basement, he CLEANED half the basement!  Now I have a clean, somewhat organized laundry area.  Even though the 3-section clothes sorter no longer has "sorted" clothes and it is 6 feet from the washer/dryer, it’s clean.  And I didn’t have to do it myself or even ask DH to do it!  Time to celebrate!!!

The "turning point" from my nagging occurred when I returned from SBLive at Hood.  When I got home DH had taken the kids to dinner so I could have some "down time" after my trip (this, in and of itself, was a surprise).  And when I walked in the door, the house was IMMACULATE! (surprise # 2).  So I walked to the bedroom to fulfill my OCD need to unpack right away (that drives DH nuts!) and to my surprise (# 3) the bedroom was CLEAN!!!  No clothes on the floor.  None on the dresser.  All the various odds and ends had made there way "somewhere," but there wasn’t anything out on the dresser, headboard, or floor.  I seriously almost fainted.

I took a few moments to bask in the glory of a clean bedroom.  I had no idea how long it would last or if I would ever see it again.

When DH came home I gave him a huge hug and kiss and thanked him for all of my surprises.  Later I asked him why he never does this stuff when I’m home…

His reply:  Because you nag me and I hate that.  It makes me want to do it (clean up his messy side of the room) even less when you nag me.  THAT’s why.

Me:  (In my head…)  Well why didn’t ya say so in the first place??? 

Then later I pondered his reply a bit more and realized my nagging was exhausting for me and annoying to him, so why bother?  I don’t nag any more.  I do make sly comments now and then, but he and I both know I’m not really nagging… really.  It’s my "subtle" way of throwing hints that the bedroom is really a disaster zone.  And he usually takes it in stride and eventually gets around to cleaning it up.

Honeslty, it took us YEARS to get to this point about the rediculous things we argue about in our marriage.  We still argue about really dumb stuff, but I think we both have a different perspective on "what it all means" when we do. 

What about you?  Pet peeves you just can’t deal with?  Learning experiences that you encountered through trial and error (such as the one I described above)?  I know I’m not alone on this one…  :)

About the Author

Joan D'Arc

Joan D'Arc has been an Army spouse since 1997. She started her marriage as a geographical bachelorette and experienced her husband's first deployment before their first wedding anniversary. Since then, she has had two beautiful children who amaze her (and frustrate her) every day. Joan fought her way through graduate school and is now a Licensed Social Worker. Joan enjoys volunteering with Soldiers' Angels and giving back to the military community in any way possible. Joan feels very blessed to be an Army spouse and wouldn't trade this life for anything!

  • HeatherS

    Hubby and I had the exact same experience! I cannot stand the mess of clothes all over. But we came to an agreement: we divided the room in half like little kids. His half did not exist in my world. So I did not nag. He knew that if he wanted clothes washed they needed to be in the hamper on laundry day. He also agreed to clean the room if company was coming.
    Another little thing that we learned was about making the bed. I do not sleep well if the bed was not made at least at some point during the day. I know I’m weird. I fully admit that it is a crazy quirk. But hubby recognized how much nicer I am with sleep than without. We sort of came to an unspoken understanding that whoever gets out of bed last makes the bed that day. It worked out pretty well.
    Money–well figuring out finances in a marriage is a whole post in and of itself!

  • Can your DH come over to my house and do laundry and clean up half of my basement??? Please? I promise to return him.
    My husband really dislikes my inability to handle my clothes. I should really be working on this while he is gone. I guess that’s why we are doing another year … so I can learn to put away my clothes. hmmm. well I guess I should get started on that now.

  • Andi

    Humm, the thought of Mr. Joan as a domestic engineer makes me chuckle….

  • What great timing for this post. My DH and I just spoke about this topic this morning. He mentioned how when he eventually comes back, we’ll probably go back to arguing over stupid stuff 2 weeks after he’s home. I said we probably wouldn’t and he mentioned how I “nag” him about leaving his clothes all over the house. He walks in the door and just starts stripping items in every room that he walks through and I always give him grief. I say in a comical little voice “are those clothes going to walk themselves upstairs?” We always laugh about it so it’s not like we are having a domestic situation and we were laughing the whole time on the phone this morning over it.
    Joan is right- after several years of marriage, you pick your battles carefully and don’t argue over some of the small stuff that you may have earlier on in marriage. We definitely have a better perspective about it now.

  • Kel

    the one argument or spat that gunbunny and I have on a weekly basis is the trash. He feels that since i say take hte trash out to the curb i mean the trash that is already in the trash can. He can not comprehend that I mean.. check all the bathroom and bedroom trash cans and empty those.. So every week im like trah out.. (gb) yep at the curb alredy! (me).. and hte bedrooms and bathrooms? (gb) you did not say those too..(me) its just common sense!..
    So now i just do the trash in the hosue walk it to the can and be done. I gave up on that battle..lol
    we wont even start ont he clothes int he corner battle..7 years and still going strong!