The other morning I listened to a woman give advice about marriage--"It's not the big things, it's the little things that wreck your marriage." She went on to describe the nit-picky things that couple fight about over time, daily skirmishes over toothpaste tubes and toilet paper rolls and laundry on the floor. It made me laugh because I'm pretty anal-retentive, neat-freakish. Mr. D? Notsomuch. But we're smarter than the average couple.
Here's our secret to Happily Ever After: we each have our own tube of toothpaste. That's right. We don't share! He squeezes his from the bottom, I squeeze mine from the middle. He keeps his tube in one bathroom drawer, I keep mine in another. Nary the twain shall meet (except when we both happen to brush our teeth at the same time--which brings me to another secret of our happy marriage: separate bathroom sinks!) It's not expensive (the separate tubes of toothpaste, that is, the separate sinks cost a bit more, but far less than counseling) and it's not difficult. If it's true that the little things matter that much, why not eliminate them from the equation? It's all about perspective, right? Disagree about how to set up the toilet paper? Install another toilet paper holder. No. Big. Whup. Ornery about how your spouse leaves his laundry on the floor? Kick it into a corner where you don't see it--set up a screen or switch sides of the room so you don't have to look at it. Irritated by a spouse who won't hang up his coat? Install hooks instead of using coat hangers. I've got a friend whose husband cannot shut cupboard doors. I think she should install springs on all of them so they automatically swing shut as soon as you let go of the door handle.
The Toothpaste Wars used to be worse between me and my kids. This Christmas Santa brought them the coveted Touch 'n Brush--guaranteed to keep the bathroom countertop cleaner. Team Testosterone saw it on TV and lobbied hard for it for months. I'm skeptical of "As seen on TV" gadgets, but bought it to convince them that the Jolly Old Elf was Real. Plus I was getting carpal tunnel from chipping away with a paint scraper at the hardened globs of toothpaste all over the upstairs bathroom. People, it actually works! The only things caked solid with dried toothpaste are the Touch 'n Brush unit and the sink--the countertop is the cleanest it's ever been.
Spill it, reader. What little thing have you eliminated from an equation?