The other day I found myself thanking my husband for taking out the bathroom bin.
Yes you heard me.
I know, I know, you’re thinking two things. First why? And second, does he thank you for doing the same?
The answer to the second question is no.
The first question is a little more complex to answer and I’m still trying to work it out in my own head.
Marriage and relationships can be funny things. One minute you can be all over each other and the next you can be pushed to the edge by a finished toilet roll left hanging on the dispenser, while a new roll sits proudly on top of said toilet. Yes, in that snapshot of time, it’s just an empty toilet roll that should have been put in the bin. No big deal right?
The problem is not the toilet roll, it’s the fifty million other times you’ve come into the bathroom to face the exact same situation. It’s the overflowing bathroom bin that never gets taken out unless you’re the one to do it. It’s the pair of pants causally thrown on same spot on the floor day after day. It's the frying pan left to ‘soak’ in the sink and still there in cold, filthy water come morning time. It’s the shoes strewn in the hall and never put away unless I do it. It’s the bed that’s never made properly and a thousand other similar things every single day, that over time in a relationship, builds up into one single incident like the toilet roll that becomes the unwitting symbol of your ire.
And then boom! Domestic time!
But here’s the thing. I don’t think there’s a long term relationship in the word that doesn’t have their own version of ‘the toilet roll’ incident.
As human beings, our little idiosyncrasies are both fascinating and irritating to us in equal measure. Whether it’s being driven demented by the way your partner chews their food, to adoring the funny sounds they make just before they fall asleep; these are the very unique intricacies that we only reveal to our life companions.
Getting back to the bathroom bin though and my congratulating my husband for taking it out. Why did I do it? Well you see that bin became a symbol for me. I think in the entire time we’ve been in a relationship I’ve always been the one to clean the bathroom and specifically take out that bin. I don’t think my husband has ever emptied it. So on this marvellous morning when I went into the bathroom bleary eyed and about to brush my teeth and I saw the bin had been emptied, I took a double take. I think I might have actually rubbed my eyes in disbelief. What had happened here?
I didn’t take the bin out, did I?
Or maybe I did?
Sometimes I’m so tired from looking after the baby I tend to forget what I did the day before. But no. I hadn’t taken it out.
So wait… could it be?
Did he really?
But how does he even know where the new bathroom bin bags are?
Because as well as taking the said bin out, he’d even put a new bag in its place!
A tiny thing, to be sure. But to me, it was a shining symbol of thoughtfulness. And so I said thank you. I said thank you because it was a nice gesture that made me smile and also some part of my head thought, if I say thank you maybe he’ll do it again! But look, I’m not trying to paint my husband as someone who doesn’t lift a finger because, he does. He does plenty of household chores and thoughtful things for ma all the time and he is an absolutely incredible dad… seriously that man was born to be a daddy and it melts my heart to see him and the little dude together.
I'm lucky to have him in my life. He's my rock.
But as amazing as he is, yes it’s true, he doesn’t ‘thank me’ for looking after the baby all day; for hoovering, for cleaning, for doing the ashes, lighting the fire, doing the shopping, the laundry, walking the dog, changing nappies, making meals, running errands, and for fitting my work in on top of that, but I know he appreciates every single thing I do. He may not come out and say ‘thank you’ every day, but I wouldn’t expect him to or want him to either. You don’t do things in a relationship to be thanked all the time.
I don’t thank him for getting up at the crack of dawn every day to a hefty commute and for him to work sometimes very long hours, leaving the house when it’s dark and coming home when it’s dark. But I appreciate it. So much. Every day in a million different ways. Just like I can see his gratitude for what I do. And here’s where those aforementioned idiosyncrasies come back into play. The little things only I pick up on and know about, the things that can drive you up the wall, but when it comes down to it, these are the very fibre of what holds a relationship together.