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She Says/He Says: Our Marriage’s 3 Dumbest Fights


Randy is fixated on the liquid soap dispenser. He has even added an icky plastic bottle of Purell to the scene. 

By Laurie Stone

After over 40 years of wedlock, you realize you can love someone and still drive each other crazy. You even learn no topic is too small, picky or ridiculous to have skirmishes over. Here are three of our latest, and in my defense, I have to say… well, okay, I have no defense. But here they are anyway…

The bottomless laundry basket — When my retired husband stepped up to the clothes cleaning challenge, I applauded. Randy went from CEO to separating whites and colors with aplomb. There’s just one problem — things go into the laundry room, but never come out. The gathering of dirty clothes goes fine and putting them into the washer and dryer. Items come out of the dryer and into a waiting empty laundry basket. But here’s the mystery.

The basket of clean clothes stays… and stays… and stays.

Sometimes a week or more goes by. I try and maintain my cool. His clothes in a basket don’t affect my own laundry. Still, this situation pushes all my perfectionist, obsessive, high-strung buttons. “Are you going to put your laundry away?” I finally ask, trying to sound light and breezy. Randy shrugs like he just thought about it. “Yeah, I’ll get to it.” I take a deep breath and bite my lip. “I’ll get to it” could mean this afternoon or two years from now.

The renegade liquid soap dispenser — Randy’s the most chill, laid-back person I know. While I sweat everything, he sweats nothing and yes, I’m jealous. But there’s one item in our house that my husband has a strange, overbearing fixation on. That’s the liquid soap dispenser in our guest bathroom. We’ve even had several passive-aggressive fights about it.

He’ll move the dispenser to the left of the sink when clearly it belongs to the right where the guest towels sit. This little black unit will be moved back and forth like a frenzied chess match. Randy has even (must take deep breaths here) added an icky plastic bottle of Purell to the scene. Who puts Purell next to liquid soap? Even in the height of Covid, we all washed our hands, right? What kind of barbarian walks into a bathroom and uses only Purell? (Okay, probably lots of people but whatever).

The new salt & pepper shaker — In case you haven’t guessed, I’m a little neurotic set in my ways. Randy recently bought a new, good-sized salt & pepper shaker for our living room, where we eat a lot of dinners. Its lovely and to my husband’s credit, he put effort into buying something that would match: a nice wood tone, contemporary design.

Except for one problem — it doesn’t quite go. It’s a little off but I can’t figure out how. The other day I took it from the end table and put it on the floor, hoping Randy wouldn’t notice. Of course, he did. After having to fetch it off the rug, he naturally said, “Keep this on the table from now on.” Even I was too embarrassed to admit that this perfectly fine salt & pepper shaker was throwing me. I finally solved the problem. I put it on top of the Alexa and somehow it blended in.

The scary part is I sense Randy’s starting to use psychology to deal with my quirks. “Let’s keep five chairs on the back porch,” he said last summer. I tensed. Five chairs are too squishy in this small space. They wouldn’t all fit under the table. It would look awkward. “Five reminds me of a star,” Randy added. I thought about that. I guess a star isn’t too bad. Debate averted.

Later I realized my husband had used strategy. After all these decades, he’s learned to get his way and avoid dumb conflicts? What’s next? A big, plastic bottle of Purell in the living room?

Must take deep breaths.

Laurie Stone writes from the woods of Easton, Conn. Her blog, “Musings, Rants &Scribbles,” shares thoughts on growing up, older and (hopefully) wiser. Follow her on FacebookTwitter, and Pinterest.

One Response to “She Says/He Says: Our Marriage’s 3 Dumbest Fights”

  1. Alana says:

    Well, you can be married 48 years and still disagree over which way the toilet paper and paper towels hang, too, like my husband and I. Your laundry story makes me laugh. My husband will do the wash. He will put it into the dryer. (Love you, hun!) And, if I’m busy, he’ll take it out of the dryer and put the laundry basket…near the steps to our second floor. If I didn’t take the dried wash upstairs, it would stay there until future archeologists uncovered it. I know from experience.


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