Are there things your husband does that drive you crazy? All wives have their pet peeves, from leaving the kitchen cupboards open to tracking in dirt from outside to forgetting to wash his whiskers out of the sink after he shaves.
But have you ever realized that some of these so-called "bad" habits could be blessings in disguise? The following are some awful man habits you didn't realize were actually strengthening your marriage.
He forgets to take his dirty dishes to the sink
Once in a while, it's OK to let the dinner dishes sit on the table. Instead of jumping up at the end of the meal to start washing dishes and loading the dishwasher, let them be until later. By the time you're done washing dishes, you'll probably be too tired or it will be too late to do anything else. Instead, take a walk after dinner, go sit outside and watch the sunset, or just sit on the couch and talk.
If you have a hard time knowing what to talk about and you feel more inclined to watch TV or let the clink of washing dishes fill the silence after dinner, here are some ideas from Psychology Today of questions to ask each other:
1. Given the choice of anyone in the world, whom would you want as a dinner guest?
2. What would constitute a perfect day for you?
3. If you could change anything about the way you were reared, what would it be?
4. If you could wake up tomorrow having gained one talent or ability, what would you want it to be?
5. What is your most treasured memory?
It doesn't matter what you talk about — it matters more that you find ways to connect beyond dealing with the challenges of the daily grind.
He leaves dirty laundry on the bedroom floor
You might not think about dirty laundry as hidden love notes, but it all depends on your perspective. When you have to pick up the dirty laundry or wet towels your husband left lying on the floor or the bed, don't you find yourself thinking about him more often during the day? True, the tenor of your thoughts likely isn't the most loving, but think about how you would feel if you didn't have those little daily reminders of your husband's existence. The fact that there is dirty laundry to be done is evidence of your shared life and shared experiences.
The Washington Post refers to daily love reminders as "quick connects," and they can be as simple as having toast ready for your spouse when he gets up in the morning or texting "I miss you" during the day. "Quick connects take only minutes, yet the feelings that they create are long lasting," said The Post. "Three minutes of total attention is worth more than three hours of distracted togetherness."
Of course, you might hint to your husband you would prefer real love notes to his dirty laundry in the future, but perhaps this change in perspective will help you feel less resentful when he does forget and leaves laundry on the floor right next to the dirty clothes basket.
He relaxes on the couch when there are chores to be done
After a busy day at work, you're probably understanding when your husband needs a few minutes to relax on the couch when he gets home. But when that relaxation means he doesn't get off the couch again for the rest of the night, your ire might be naturally raised. How is it he can sit there so happily and peacefully when there are floors to sweep, a garden to tend and a bathroom to scrub?
Sometimes, according to Huffington Post writer and health coach Catherine Chen, Ph.D., we have a hard time relaxing because we believe that when we aren't being productive, we aren't valuable, important or loved. However, she said, "Just because you're not caught up being busy doesn't make you unimportant. There are plenty other areas in life — like your relationships with family and friends — that could use your attention and can make you feel just as, if not more, important."
So the next time your husband asks you to sit down next to him and relax, think about what your priorities are and take his advice.
He tries to "fix" when you want him to listen
If you've never seen "It's Not about the Nail," it's time you did. It illustrates the age-old problem men and women face when a woman wants to tell a man about her problems. She just wants someone to listen and he just wants to help her fix the problem.
The website eHarmony explains the dilemma this way: "(A man) wants his girlfriend, wife or friend to be happy, so he provides a solution to the problem." That's not what women are looking for, though. "It may seem contradictory, but women don't necessarily want an answer or a solution," eHarmony said. "They actually want men to act as their sounding board." However, if women only ever talked about their problems and never actually acted to solve them, they'd never be able to move forward.
That's one of the reasons men and women are the perfect complements to each other. Men can offer the solutions women might not think of on their own, and vice versa.
As Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks said at the Family Conference at the Vatican last year, "It is the meeting of opposites that generates diversity." Yes, men and women have many differences and those differences often spark disagreements, but that doesn't mean they aren't meant to be together. It means they have more opportunities to learn and grow. "All complementarities were made by our Creator," Pope Francis said at the same conference.
For more marriage and family advice, visit Humanum.it.