Apparently, I have a bad habit of leaving my sock drawer ajar when I get socks. Apparently, I have done this our entire marriage.
Why I am I just learning of this? Because my bride just recently made me aware of it. Why now? A better question is why have I not heard about this in the last 28 years?
The answer to the second question is that my dear wife figured out a very long time ago that my leaving the drawer open was not an attempt to hurt her. Of course, that sounds silly, why would anyone think something like not fully closing a drawer might be an attempt to hurt them? In truth most (all?) of us have thought something like that. We do not (usually) go so far as to see it as an intentional attack, but we do think, “If s/he loved me, s/he would not do that.” Maybe we do not even think that, but we do act as if the action is personal. We take it as an offence; we take it as a sign of disrespect, of not being loved, of not being important. Yes it is silly, but there are wives out there who feel less loved and valued when they see the sock drawer sticking out a fraction of an inch.
So where are you doing this to your wife? Where are you wrongly reading malice or lack of love into her actions?
- “If she loved me, she would …”
- “If she respected me, she would not …”
- “If she cared about my feelings, she would stop…”
The truth is I would often (usually, always?) leave my sock drawer less than completely closed if I lived alone. That means my doing it is not about my wife, and thus says nothing about her or what I think about her. If what your wife is doing is what she would do if you were not there, then it is not about you, and her doing it says nothing about you or what she thinks or feels about you. If you decide such actions do mean something about you, then you are looking for problems that do not exist, and that is about you, not your wife.
As to the first question above, why am I just now learning about it, that is because Lori has never mentioned it because she realised it was just who I am and she figured she could live with it. It came up as a logical part of a discussion we were having about spouses who take everything personally. Lori realised my action was not personal, and she decided it was not that big a deal for her to close the drawer.
Am I doing better about closing my sock drawer now that I know she does not like to see it open? Yes – when I am aware of it. However, I have a lifetime of habit here, and I am often not aware. Because I care for my wife, I have noticed it open a few times and closed it. Because she cares for me, it is okay when I do not notice.