I married someone with the polar opposite personality.
That’s not over-exaggerating, either. When I say “polar,” I’m talking on the far other end of the personality spectrum. Just ask the people who know us best.
As we talk about in our new book, we love Jesus, each other and brutal honesty. Other than that, there’s not much at all that we have in common. I’m an extrovert; he’s an introvert. I am extremely visionary and can see the big picture very easily. John is very detailed-oriented and analyzes every angle of every issue. It goes deeper than that, though. I don’t like dirt but can deal with a bit of clutter, am spontaneous in nature and gain energy from being around people. John’s more regimented and organized than a naval ship and is drained by crowds. This makes for a very refining and interesting, and on rare occasions volatile, union, to say the least.
Take this morning as an example.
Thankfully, I have a husband who helps with the cleaning duties around the home. Not the day-to-day pick-up, since I work from home, but the “big cleans” that can be done on weekends. To be honest, I’ve never cleaned a bathroom since we got married. When we were engaged and talking over how our household would look, he told me bathrooms were a rather dirty job, so they’d be something he’d always do. Say no more! I was – and still am – definitely on board with this logic. 🙂
On Saturdays designated for cleaning, my duties tend me to be cleaning the entire kitchen (except the floor), dusting and polishing (we have a lot of wood) and sweeping. John does the bathrooms (toilets, sinks, tub, floor, etc.) and mops the entryway and the kitchen. He sometimes polishes the leather furniture, too, if he’s going for the extra clean look.
Today we were going about our individual duties, getting high off of various fumes, when he says, “I’m just working on re-organizing the chaos in your bathroom.”
Oh, no he didn’t.
I immediately rush into our main bathroom to see my cupboards no longer in their somewhat-organized state, at least in my mind.
No, they’d been hijacked by John and his love for extreme order. “Cleaning” the bathroom did not involve re-organizing it. I was clearly not happy and wished he’d go back to organizing kitchen drawers or the junk drawer (yes, he organizes that, too).
It’s not that I didn’t appreciate how he lined all my hair things up in nice rows, or how he’d put every single bobby pin in a plastic baggy so they were all together, or how he’d classified my various trial-sized lotions. It just wasn’t me, the way I wanted it. As I reminded him that I’d told him before, that was MY space, and he was to just leave it alone.
I can’t say that I went about voicing my disdain in the nicest way. Basically, I went off. He wasn’t upset. I think he found it rather funny, but I was far from pleased. I felt violated and upset, and he didn’t mean any harm at all. In his words, “Babe, I was just trying to help. It was scary in there.” I will admit I had a random cross necklace in my bathroom, but everything else clearly belonged in that room, even if it wasn’t in pristine order like the rest of our home.
After I cooled down, I went to find him to talk. Low and behold he was still in my bathroom. Doing what, you ask? Cleaning my electronic toothbrush with a manual toothbrush, making sure every bit of dirt was off of it. No, you can’t make this stuff up. I sat down and told him that what made me upset was I felt like he was trying to force me to be him, when I have no desire to be him at all. I happily keep the entire rest of the house and his stuff organized the way he would like. All I want in return is a couple of drawers that reflect my personality. I want permission to just be me.
Of course, it wasn’t his intention to upset me. Again, he was just trying to help.
As I reminded him, though, when opposites attract, both parties have to still feel permission to be themselves. For me, that means don’t touch my bathroom drawers.