By: Shannon Ralph
Reason #17: Accepting your partner’s quirks.
Every one of us has quirks. We all have weird little idiosyncrasies that, when combined, make us who we are. Part of any successful marriage is discovering and accepting your partner’s quirks.
Your partner no doubt kept his or her peculiarities hidden during your courtship. Marriage, however, is a different story. When you commit to spending your life together—household, money, children, etc—it becomes increasingly difficult to hide those quirks from your partner. Once you’ve been together as long as Ruanita and I, you don’t even try to hide them. You just let all of those ugly, freaky, creepy, weird-ass habits of yours hang loose. Right out there in the open. For the world, and your adoring spouse, to see.
In the interest of making you all feel better about your own weird-ass habits, I thought today I would share some of the odd quirks inherent in my relationship.
1. Ruanita refuses to eat breakfast on weekend mornings until all four beds are made, the dishwasher is emptied, and the floor is vacuumed. At 6:00 in the morning, no less. For years, I felt like a lazy schlub because I am thoroughly unprepared to face the day until I have at least one cup of caffeine coursing through my veins. Lately, however, I have come to conclusion that this is Ruanita’s issue and has absolutely nothing to do with me. So I have no guilt whatsoever about sitting on my barely conscious ass watching her make the beds and empty the dishwasher and vacuum the floors.
2. I cannot climb into bed at night until I have cleaned my ears with a Q-tip. I think it has become a physical addiction. My body physically craves the sensation of a Q-tip in my ear canal. Yes, the doctors all tell you that you should never put anything smaller than your elbow in your ear canal. But I can’t help myself, Doc. I need my Q-tip fix every night.
3. Ruanita is impervious to holes. In her socks. In her underwear. She doesn’t care. She has underwear that I believe might be older than I am. She can have three or four toes sticking out of the end of her socks and she will still wear them. I secretly throw them away, but she still manages to find holey socks to wear. She has even gone so far as to ask me to sew up the holes for her. What the hell? Who darns socks anymore?? This is Minnesota, but it’s not Little House on the Prairie! We do not have to hitch up the wagon and road-trip to Sleepy Eye to purchase socks at the General Store. They are $5.99 for a package of six pairs at Target, for God’s sake!
4. Ruanita is not allowed to wrap presents in my house. Christmas…birthdays…it does not matter. I wrap all gifts that are to be given from any member of this household. There is an art to it. The wrapping paper has to line up vertically and horizontally. Right angles are of utmost importance. The thickness and heft of the paper must be just so. The paper to tape ratio has to perfect. As of the result of this particular “quirk” of mine, Christmas Eve night has become a hellish, panicked, arthritis-inducing wrap fest. Happy Holidays!
5. Ruanita closes all the blinds in the house the minute the sun begins to go down each evening. She is afraid someone will “see” our children in our house. As if the ear-piercing screeches that emanate from my back yard most days is not proof enough that children live here. If you come visit us any time after 4:00 PM, you will notice an eerie vault-like vibe to my darkened house. I’m sorry. I stopped fighting it years ago.
6. I have a ketchup phobia. I can’t touch ketchup. Even a closed bottle. I can’t even have it sitting on the table near me. I have to move it to the other side of the table. I am so disgusted by ketchup that I make Ruanita pour/squirt it for the kids. And she has to wash any and all dishes that have ketchup on them. And when I am alone with the kids, they are not allowed ketchup. And I refuse to kiss any of my children after they have ingested ketchup until they wash their faces…and preferably brush their teeth. I have turned my sweet little Nicholas against ketchup, as well. Now if I could only convince the other two of the inherent wickedness of ketchup, my work in this world would be done.
7. Ruanita licks our children. I was having a bit of writer’s block and was trying to come up with another quirk for Ruanita. That is not to say that she does not have many weird traits. She has multiple eccentricities. Trust me. It’s just that I was having difficulty settling on just one to include here. I asked my son, Nicholas, “What does your mom do that’s weird?” Without even a moment’s hesitation, he declared, “She licks me.” The fact that he did not hesitate—did not even have to pause to think about it—indicates to me that Ruanita licks our children a little more often than I had initially suspected. This news is a bit disturbing to me.
8. Okay…let’s be honest here. My aversion to condiments is not limited to ketchup. I can’t stand mustard. Or mayo. Or ranch dressing. Or vinegar. Or chutney. Or hot sauce. Or pickle relish…or pickles of any sort, actually. I don’t “dip” for the most part. I am a Plain Jane sort of girl. Hamburgers? Plain, please. Hot dogs? Naked, thank you very much. I can’t stand ooey, gooey, drippy condiments. I think it might be as much a neatness issue as a taste issue.
9. On a related note, Ruanita steals little condiment packets from restaurants. She is particularly fond of the fancy mustard she pilfers from Davanni’s. Strangely, I do not object to this activity on a moral level. However, I do object on the grounds that she hides these condiment packets in my purse. What if one of them were to burst? In my purse?? On my wallet and my keys and my phone and my Kleenex and my gum??? I would no doubt experience all seven steps of the grieving process. And Ruanita would have to replace all of the contents therein.
10. I am incredibly anal when it comes to certain things like numbers and lists and corners and edges and parallel lines and right angles. For example, I am only typing this weird-ass quirk #10 because I was psychologically incapable of ending this list at #9. An odd number. A factor of 3. Is that weird?
The answer is yes. All of these quirks are weird. And learning to live with, and eventually accept, one another’s weird-ass quirks is one more way that my marriage is just like your marriage.
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