We were in love and things flowed easily between us.
We moved in together when we returned from our honeymoon. That was when I started noticing that trend of behavior in her. She came back from work one evening and immediately she entered the hall, she removed her wig, threw it on the sofa next to her. She dropped her bag on the center table and came to sit next to me. She turned her back to me and said, “Please open my zip for me.” I did. She then dipped her hand into her dress and removed her brazier. The next thing I saw, the brazier had been flipped onto the carpet.
She removed her right hand from her dress and then removed her left hand too. She allowed the dress to drop down from her shoulders and then walked over the dress. She left the dress on the carpet just as it was. At this point, I was just watching to see what next she was going to do. She gently lowered herself into the sofa and gave a loud sigh of relief.
We had a long conversation but my mind wasn’t following. I was thinking about what just happened and hoping she’ll get up, pick them and drop them where they were supposed to be dropped. That didn’t happen. She went about doing her stuff until the next morning when she picked her wig and shoes and wore them again. The dress and the bra remained where they were because they were not useful for her that moment.
On a normal day, I would have been angry but our marriage was new and decided not to upset the aura we were enjoying. It happened every day and at some point, I couldn’t take it any longer. I told her, “Dresses belong to the wardrobe, shoes go back to the shoe rack. If worn braziers need a place of their own, fix a place. And wigs too. Orderliness is very important. It saves a lot of time and it’s the best way to live.”
Guess how she answered me; “I’ve heard you.” And she said it so hurriedly as though what I told her wasn’t that important. Nothing really changed. She changed strategy. This time, she seized one of the sofas and started piling up her dresses in it. Again, I told her, “Dirty dresses go to the laundry basket, shoes go to the rack and worn braziers can be hung in the wardrobe.”
She snapped, “Those dresses on the sofa are not dirty! Yes, I’ve worn them once and I might wear again before considering them as dirty. You simply don’t understand the ways of a woman. Why are you making a mountain out of a molehill? We live here alone and all these spaces, you’re not going to sleep there. If I put my dress here you talk, if I leave my braziers there you complain. Why are you trying to put me in a box while we have all this space to ourselves.”
Clearly she was angry. Clearly, she was frustrated but I didn’t know any other way to make her understand that we ought to put things where they belong lest they fell and get broken. I was getting frustrated too. I thought it was that simple.
One day I asked myself, “Why didn’t I see this when we were dating?” The answer was obvious. We didn’t live together when we were dating. She came to visit and sometimes spent the weekend. Those times I didn’t see that behavior, so why now?
Then we started having problems with the way she treated her own panties. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not a difficult person. I know only two things in life; things that are beautiful and things that are ugly. And I judge everything along these two lines. Orderliness is beautiful. I wake in the morning and I know where to find my sox and where to fetch my boxers. I don’t have to look for them. It’s time wasting to search for things. Disorder is the brother of chaos and chaos is ugly. Why can’t my wife understand this simple truth?
She didn’t take her panties off the way normal people do. She preferred to roll the panty off her skin so by the time the panty gets off her butt to the ground, it would coil up and be looking like intestines. It put me off. I complained about it, “Please, don’t leave your panties coiled up like that. It’s not nice. Just fold them up and put them in the laundry bag. Give that little thing some dignity!” She screamed, “Deal with it!”
We were both losing it. I decided to calm down and take things lightly.
We went a whole week without arguing about dresses and where she placed them. We didn’t argue not because she changed. We didn’t argue just because I decided to let things slide. I needed her to be in a good mood and in the right spirit so we could address the issue properly. After a week, the moment was right because she was laughing a lot and having a good time in the house. People are usually receptive when they’re in a good mood and don’t feel attacked.
I told her, “Amanda, let’s talk about this issue once and for all. Maybe it’s me who doesn’t understand you. We were raised differently so this is bound to happen. Help me understand you. Is it too much to ask of you if I tell you to put things where they are supposed to be kept?”
She was quiet for a while. She responded, “No it’s not too much to ask but you complain a lot about it and it makes me feel like I can never do things right. Maybe it’s about the way you say it. But don’t you see that I’m trying? These days, I keep them here (pointing to the sofa) instead of leaving them lying around.”
I got it.
She didn’t really understand how deep the issue was but the way I communicated to her also didn’t help her to understand better. So we both resolved to do better.
One evening she came home from church and started taking things off. Wig into the sofa. Brazier was left on the center table. Slit-and-Kaba was left hanging on the armrest of the sofa. Her bag always followed her into the bedroom. I picked them up, followed her into the bedroom and started putting these things in their right places. When she saw me she said, “Sorry, I forgot.”
Some days she saw me looking at her and she remembered to pick them up. I knew the change I expected wasn’t going to happen instantly so instead of getting angry, I decided to help her become the change I needed to see. Things are better now—way better than I expected. Once in a while, she leaves things at the wrong places, but I believe these my two hands were made for picking things up so I pick them up.
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