My husband won’t change the toilet paper roll.
He’ll get a new roll from the cabinet and put it on the ledge of the sink or the top of the toilet. Sometimes he’ll even put it right next to the holder. But, in the 10 years I’ve known him, he’s never once put it on the holder itself.
I used to get mad or annoyed at him. After all, how hard is it to put the roll on the holder? Especially if he had already gone through the effort of getting a new one. But after a while I realized that no matter how many times I asked, yelled, or nagged, he just wasn’t going to do it. So, I resigned myself to being the only one who replaced the roll.
You know what his (in)action means? It means that he doesn’t change the toilet paper roll. But more importantly, do you know what it doesn’t mean? It doesn’t mean that he’s passive-aggressively protesting his familial duties. It doesn’t mean that he doesn’t love me or respect me. It doesn’t mean that he’s petulant or rude. A little lazy or stubborn, perhaps, but that’s about it.
It would be a pretty long (and miserable) life if I interpreted my husband’s every action personally. When he throws his clothes on the floor next to his side of the bed, that’s all he’s doing — taking off his clothes. Letting his toenails get so long that they scratch me at night, farting in bed, and leaving tissues in his pockets for me to wash are all parts of being a human. Everyone does annoying things. His bad habits have nothing to do with me or our family.
Before you marvel at my selflessness and nominate me for sainthood, you should know that I have a secret: I do lots of annoying things, too. The ones I’m willing to admit to are things like letting the refrigerator get nasty, ignoring my to-do list for weeks, clipping my nails in weird places, and losing the clippers (hmmm, perhaps that’s why my husband’s toenails get so long … ).
He doesn’t buy me flowers. He only gets me cards if I specifically ask him to. He doesn’t do those special, once-in-a-while romantic things. What he does is so much better — he makes our everyday life special.
He cleans the litter box even though he doesn’t like the cat. He puts out the trash and the recycling every week, even if he’s tired. I usually cook dinner, but he washes the dishes every night. Housework isn’t my work just because I stay at home with the kids — it’s our work because it’s our house. We divide up jobs. I don’t mind sweeping the floor; he doesn’t mind paying the bills. We each do what we can to make our lives together better.
And, unlike many husbands whose wives are stay-at-home moms, he trades sleeping duties with me. With two early risers and a toddler who has been refusing to sleep through the night for months, sleep = love in my house. We take turns escorting the little guy back to bed at night and getting up at 5 AM. If I need a break, he gives it to me and vice versa. Why? Because we care about each other. Not because we feel like we won something or owe each other something.
He might not buy me jewelry, but I know he thinks I’m beautiful. I’ll catch him looking at me sometimes in the nervous, happy way he used to see me when we were dating. He won’t let me insult myself — hey, that’s my wife you’re talking about, he’ll protest.
I might think differently tonight as he snores away, but, regardless of this inability to change a toilet paper roll, my husband is a pretty great guy.
Would I like it if he changed the toilet paper roll? Sure. But my husband would also like it if I changed a bunch of my bad habits. And since that isn’t happening any time soon, I’m perfectly fine with replacing the roll myself.