By Errol Castens/NEMS Daily Journal
Many a couple – or at least many a wife – has pondered how to achieve marital bliss.
Agreeing on values before marriage is obviously a large part of such success, and it’s easy to find someone with common ground on the big things.
Theologically compatible views may be found at church, politically compatible partners at protests and party events, and a musically compatible person at a concert – rock or Rachmaninoff, Hank Jr. or Handel, four-part gospel or the Three Tenors.
Since money is one of the biggest sources of disagreement in marriages, look for someone with similar financial priorities at a Dave Ramsey seminar or in line to buy lottery tickets – whichever mirrors your approach.
What trips people up are hidden incompatibilities – which way the toilet paper rolls, the five-second rule, whether leaving the beds unmade causes the world to wobble off its axis and whether cleaning toilets and toddlers is a basic necessity or a sisyphean madness.
At our house, doors are a major source of friction, and not just the doors that squeak.
One person believes the refrigerator and its doors are designed for keeping food safely cold and that it constitutes neither a television for leisurely viewing nor a personal cooling device.
The other person believes that it’s OK to peruse the offerings in the fridge like a menu – “You need another minute, hon?” – or to leave the door open while pouring milk onto Cheerios. Sometimes she thinks it’s OK to leave the door open if she is eating cereal and still contemplating whether to add strawberries.
And sometimes, I declare, it seems the rule gets stretched to leaving the door open as long as she’s actively digesting the aforementioned cereal.
Same thing with outside doors. One resident here believes if it’s hot or cold outside, windows and doors should be shut to maintain a moderate temperature inside.
The other resident, who will remain unnamed, believes closing the door is superfluous if she is bringing in groceries, filling the bird feeders, or otherwise involved in tasks that are likely to take only a few minutes, even if it’s 108 degrees in the shade and the air conditioner is melting or if the icy wind is wedging its way in through every crack it can find.
But we have plenty of areas of compatibility, too.
We’ve learned that moonrises and sunsets are romantic even viewed through bifocals, that a wife never outgrows the need to be adored or a husband the need to be admired and that checking each other for ticks doesn’t have to be as clinical as it sounds.
And while one person in our household may occasionally forget and leave the toilet seat up, the other has learned to appreciate the fact, at least, that he raises the seat in the first place.
Contact Daily Journal Oxford Bureau reporter Errol Castens at firstname.lastname@example.org.