Bathroom Battles

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What drives you nuts in the bathroom you share with your spouse? What problems did you have at first that you’ve found a clever solution to? Pantyhose in the shower? Wasting water? Not replacing the empty toilet paper roll? Leaving wet towels on the floor? I’m sure there are a million more.
It’s a funny thing about bathrooms. We learn about them when we’re so young. The words often come with such a strong sense of right and wrong or with shame for failing to understand or follow the rules. They form implicit memories that associate emotions with whatever happens in that room in a way that defies us to revise them with logical arguments.
And not many couples have the luxury of separate bathrooms when they first start out, when they are still assessing each other’s values. One room can provide a lot of stress, a lot to disagree about.
So I’m betting you have some great stories of bathroom battles or, perhaps, shocks you’ve chosen not to make an issue of but still think about.
I hope you’ll share them with me, because I’m writing a book: Love Like You Don’t Share a Bathroom. And I’d really like to include your story. Thanks!

About the author

Patty Newbold

I am a widow who got it right the second time. I have been sharing here since February 14, 2006 what I learned from that experience and from positive psychology, marriage research, and my training as a marriage educator.

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  • My parents had two bars of soap in the shower because hair on the soap totally grossed mom out while my dad (who was the neatnik in the family) didn’t’ care.

  • We were lucky in that we had separate bathrooms for the first 15 years of our marriage. Of course, we had some experience of sharing, when we vacationed, for example, and during that long remodeling project. Over the years we’ve obviously had plenty of time to mellow and adjust to each other in many ways. We now share a bathroom (although there is another available if need be) without much difficulty. I think there are a lot of things that are very challenging in the beginning that are easily handled in a mature relationship.

  • My husband just can’t seem to get all the pee in the toilet. And I’m not just talking a few drops here and there. I have learned to sit down in a special way so as to avoid wet feet when I use the bathroom. I can’t seem to talk him into changing the habit but I do think he wants too… It’s just too ingrained and his vision isn’t as sharp as mine so he can’t see where it’s going. It doesn’t bother me much anymore. I grew up with brothers so I’m used to taking a careful look at the bathroom before I sit down on the toilet. I can also use it as a barometer of my resentment levels in general. If, when I am scrubbing dried urine from the bathroom floor, I feel affection toward my husband, I know things are good with us. At these times I feel gratitude for him and chuckle to myself that such an intelligent, generally tidy, thoughtful, organized man has this funny imperfection. If, however, I feel angry that he has intentionally sullied the bathroom floor again, I know it’s time to focus more on our marital happiness.

  • What a marvelous way to handle an unpleasant situation, Anon! And thanks for pointing out to all of us how our beliefs about our spouse’s motivations (poor vision, old habits vs. intentional floor piddling) get affected by how much other resentment we’re hanging onto.

Patty Newbold

I am a widow who got it right the second time. I have been sharing here since February 14, 2006 what I learned from that experience and from positive psychology, marriage research, and my training as a marriage educator.

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