I don’t think I’m in charge of making my own decisions these days


This is a tough one for me to sort out for myself, so I’m turning to you for some wisdom. (Yeah… I know… but I promised myself I wouldn’t lash out at you with jokes about being desperate. Let’s just run with it. Ok? Cool.)

Here are the questions… for those of you in a live-together relationship…

Do you arrive at decisions, involving sacrificing something, that is founded on the idea of handing something over to your significant other? And, if so, why the heck are you doing it?

Ok… backstory…

Many years ago, I began making jokes about the decision-making process that Terry and I used for things. And… ha ha, this was great stuff… the punchline was always based on my not having to make decisions. You get the idea, depending on how many years it was from when Terry and I began dating or got married and the audience involved, I would say something like this: “Marriage has been wonderful. I haven’t had to make a decision in ten years.”

Of course, I also have been known for being an extraordinary smartass, and often offer up brilliant quips like this: “We’ve been married for ten years, and they have been three of the happiest years in my life.”

(See the humor there? Great, great stuff. Terry got herself a keeper.)

But on a serious note, the past few days have brought upon a realization that I may have created a rough scenario for myself. There may be no going back at this point. And the best way to let you in on it might just be to wade all the way back to when we moved into our current home.

This house was for us. Kids had moved out, with no indications they would be moving back in. (They are always welcome, but the moves have been made and they are settling in.) A guest room was organized and quality inflatable mattresses were purchased. (We love hosting guests.) But, when considering what room would be used for different things, including the idea of organizing closets and so on, the main theme to keep in mind is that this was a house providing a home for two people. Which brought on…

Unique approaches such as what we call the ready room. It’s not a walk-in closet by any stretch. It is what normally would have been the third bedroom. We arranged it with furniture that included one of those lower dressers that have a mirror on the back along with an armoire that has a full-length mirror for a door. The ironing board was set up in this room, and the sewing machine is stored here. It is, as the name might have tipped you off, the room to use when getting ready.

Another interesting idea began when I placed things in only one of the three bedroom closets. Terry really did have more stuff to worry about, and a need for more room to hang things up. Made sense.

A ready room? Primarily for her? Two of the three large closets? There was much rejoicing.

About a year after we moved in, Terry was in a bit of a confused state, with glazed over eyes and sighs of frustration. She was out of room. Needed more storage space. Work clothes and so on.

So… amazing guy that I am… I moved my stuff out of that third closet and told her to take it. I didn’t need it. Just give me a bit of space at the bottom of one for some shoes and I would be fine.

There was more much rejoicing.

And then a year after that I moved some things out of one of the dressers and insisted that she start using it.

And… you got it… additional more much rejoicing.

Story making sense so far? A peaceful set of agreements, based on mutual needs and comfort, that absolutely could be viewed as a steady retreat by my side. That would sum it up nicely.

And I think at least one person in any committed relationship would be smiling and nodding about such activity. I think it happens in all of them. (I think. There is also a really strong possibility the other person in any committed relationship would say I’m being played like a grand piano in a concert hall.) But then…

Two days ago, Terry came home from work and started complaining about the closets. She was absolutely right in the complaints she made… the closets have a bit of a weird design where the framing for the door is actually several inches narrower on each side than the full width of the closet. Plus, the closets are not as deep as what one might consider a standard closet depth. End result? Fill a closet with clothes and it becomes next to impossible to get the garments from either far end out.

We began talking about a dresser in the guest bedroom. We do have visitors on occasion, but they honestly never used the empty drawers in the dresser that were there for them over the course of their stay. And this led to that led to other things, and…

This morning we shifted things around in our bedroom, moved that dresser in, and she has spent most of today sorting and organizing and…


This time around, the reality is I didn’t give up any ground. Not really. None of my things moved at all. About the only concession was perhaps three inches of walking width between my side of the bed and a wall. Not too bad when you consider the dresser is just shy of two-feet deep and she lost pretty much all of that space on her side of the bed. Still…

She had been asking me what I thought of moving a portable clothing rack we have in the basement into the ready room. There were some other options presented. Plus, there is not much else for me to give up unless I want to head downstairs any time I need a pair of socks.

Overall, I really don’t care much about any of this in the grand scheme of things. In the glorious debate of winning and losing in a marriage, I choose peace and quiet. But there is a thing, isn’t there? There’s always a thing.

Most of us have heard the story of the frog and the boiling water. The important idea here not being the actual frog story, which is widely criticized as factually inaccurate, but the more general foundation that gradual change is often accepted virtually without question. And that is where we find the thing.

As I looked at the dresser after we moved it, and then as I was bringing the drawers to it, I was wandering around in one of those light bulb moments. It occurred to me that the moving of this furniture had a bit the sacrifices found for peace and quiet.

In the end… it’s furniture. Not a big deal. Chances are good though that next time there’s a decision to be made, I might be a bit more aware of the water temperature. Because there always is a next time.


If you have any comments or questions, please e-mail me at Bob@inmybackpack.com