Eleven OR The High Value of Hooks

Dallas and Leanne Friesen wedding August 27, 2003
Dallas and Leanne Friesen wedding August 27, 2003

Well I’m in a bloggy-mood this week! 

As I mentioned yesterday, today is my 11th Anniversary.  As I enjoy the well wishes and likes of statuses on Facebook today, I found myself thinking about what I would say to Eleven-Years-Ago-Leanne about marriage and all the things she didn’t understand.  The list is very long – but, knowing her, she wouldn’t have listened too much and would have had to figure most things out for herself.  In my experience, this is true of most newlyweds and that is absolutely fine.  It’s part of what makes the journey of marriage fun.   All that to say, I was going to do an “Eleven Thoughts on Marriage on an Eleventh Anniversary,” but instead decided that I would just pick one thought and pass it on to any of you out there who might find it worthwhile. Here it is:Sometimes, you just gotta buy a door hook. 

Let me explain.

So Dallas and I have had lots of fights during our 11 years – some over serious things, and some over very un-serious things.  But, as most of us know, the un-serious things can add up to something bigger than you ever thought when you live with someone for eleven years straight.  One of our un-serious and ongoing – shall we say? – disagreements involved the daily placement of Dallas’ wet towels.

Every morning Dallas gets a shower.  And every morning he uses a towel. In our first apartment, Dallas would often leave said towel on the bed: NOT my favourite.  This led to many – shall we say – discussions –   but rarely to the towel not being left on the bed. Then we had a hiatus from the great towel dilemma.  We moved into our first house, and Dallas would hang the towel on a hook on the back of our bedroom door. Then we moved again, and there was no hook on our bedroom door.  Dallas began to leave his towel on the foot board of our bed. This drove me even MORE crazy.  Yes, it wasn’t technically on the bed, but, as I liked to (often) point out:  “The wet towel is going to warp the wood of our footboard!”  And as Dallas liked to point out “There’s nowhere else to put it!” So that’s where the towel remained.  I didn’t mention it too much anymore.  It wasn’t a big issue.  But that wet towel always annoyed me.

Then a couple of years ago I audited a Marriage Counselling Course.  One day the professor wanted to illustrate a type of dialogue and asked if someone who was married would volunteer to talk about an ongoing disagreement – that wasn’t serious – in their marriage.  I volunteered and I talked about – you guessed it – the WET TOWEL. 

As an aside here, let me say this: counselling can be a very very good thing.  I don’t remember what technique he used exactly but as he got me to share about our towel saga, I was able to acknowledge a few very important things:  1. Dallas is actually a very helpful and considerate person (he cleans our bathroom EVERY WEEK!) – the towel is not an attempt to drive me insane, 2. There is a reason that he does leaves the towel in our bedroom. When he takes it off, he does not want to walk naked to our bathroom to hang it up – and then he just forgets, 3. This was only a problem in our new house, because there was no hook on the back of our bedroom door. 

And then I realized – and shared with joy with our class – I COULD JUST BUY A HOOK!

So I did.  I actually bought one of those over-the-door things with FOUR hooks. And we have had towel harmony ever since. (And, yes, I should have figured this out sooner).

In conclusion, this is what I would tell newlywed Leanne of eleven years ago:  most things that you are going to think are huge deals just aren’t.  They aren’t a sign that your husband doesn’t care, they don’t require a lengthy analysis of the state of your union, they aren’t indicative of deeper problem.  You will have disagreements and struggles simply because you are two different people trying to share a life and no matter how much you love each other, you won’t always agree.  And sometimes, you can just buy a door hook.

These days I do a lot of pre-marital and marriage counselling for a living. I can’t tell you how often I sit across from a couple that loves each other and feel heart-broken at the things that they have allowed to turn into huge tipping points in their marriage.  Yes, I know little things can add up to huge issues, and sometimes that needs to be discussed. I’m not saying that you should overlook important issues or bury your feelings.   But sometimes we just have to accept the other person for who they are. Sometimes we have to accept that not everything has to be a big deal.  Sometimes we have to suck it up and buy a hook because that’s just what needs to happen.   I am certainly awfully thankful for all the “hooks” that Dallas has given me in the last eleven years because heaven knows I have a whole lot of my own wet towels.

Happy Eleven, Dallas. Thanks for the hooks.

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