One of the comments on Thursday’s tip mentioned the situation where some aspect of housekeeping is very important (maybe obsessively so) to one spouse. The commenter said, “I have tried to suggest to her that if she is the one to whom this matters the most, maybe it could be her “pet project”.” He suggested that it would be easier all around if his bride would take care of that thing in the way that satisfies her rather than trying to get the rest of the family to meet her expectations.
I stated this without the housekeeping chore because I want to look at it in a far wider context. Most of us have a few things that we want to be “just so”, things that bother us if they are not “right”. I speak here from experience; I have more than my fair share of eccentric preferences. In general, I figure it’s my responsibility to deal with those things, and my bride feels the same about her eccentric preferences. However, there are things and situations where it’s not that easy. If I am driven to distraction, or worse, but a cabinet door being left open*, then seeing it open and closing it still bothers me. If my bride feel nauseous when she sees a can upside down in the pantry*, it’s rather rude for me to not care how I put the cans up – or to replace one upside down.
Another factor here is how deeply the person is disturbed by whatever it is. Are we talking mild nuisance, emotional turmoil, or near psychotic break? In addition, who judges how bad it is? I think the person who is bothered judges how bad it is. As long as the list of things that have to be “just so” is short, I figure it’s an act of love, and maybe a bit of a sacrifice, to just behave as if our spouse’s oddities as if they are normal and valid – no matter how clearly they are not.
Just remember, the one who gives more wins!
* Made up examples, really!