Monday, January 31, 2011

My, What Rosy Colored Glasses You Have

Recently, a popular subject of discussion on Bad For Shidduchim has been pet peeves caused by roommates/spouses that crop up and lead to bouts of annoyance and frustration for those sharing the same living space (I wrote about this somewhat extensively here). Granted, behaviors such as noisy phone calls or other activities that disturb sleep are quite unwelcome, but other things, such as hanging the toilet paper in the under or over-hand fashion and how one chooses to squeeze the toothpaste tube, seem quite innocuous.

I can understand how maddening it can be if you step all over clipped toenails littering the floor, encounter shaved hair strewn about the bathroom sink, or dirty clothes piled up in various corners of a room instead of the hamper, but are the manners of utilizing/preparing toothpaste and toilet paper so offensive?

While both ASoG and I squeeze the toothpaste from the top or middle, the concept of being provoked by an alternate squeezing method is just absurd. I can empathize if the person squeezes the tube from the middle until applying pressure from that area no longer produces anything to brush his/her teeth with, and instead of wisely squeezing from the bottom to use the rest contained within, decides to throw out the whole thing. That’s ridiculous and wasteful, like trying to cram a square peg into a circular opening and giving up when the square opening is one slot over. And if you really are bugged beyond your limitation of tolerance for this sort of thing – just use two different toothpaste tubes, and shalom al Yisrael.

Regarding hanging toilet paper, I prefer over-hand, while ASoG generally tends to hang under-hand out of habit, not preference. While I find that hanging over-handed makes the toilet paper more accessible, whenever I notice that ASoG inserted a new roll “upside down” (to my mind), I simply flip it over. She doesn’t seem to mind my reversal, and everyone wins.

As a side note, can anyone explain to me the reason why hanging toilet paper under-handed is at all beneficial? You end up having to reach into the recessed area of the holder to find the detached end if there isn’t any paper overtly visible, whereas the overhand method always presents the free end to the user.

Everything in life has its proper use and time. I wrote about this a while ago in reference to being single versus being married, with a tie-in to the concept found in Koheles. In this post, I want to address the idea of viewing life through rose-tinged glasses, as the saying goes.

In dating, viewing your prospective mate through the filtered lens of the “rose-tinged glasses” is a huge mistake. Firstly, you could easily overlook major red flags that would be deal breakers and make your life as a married person utterly miserable, possibly to the point of needing a to break an engagement or have a divorce, Rachmana latzlan.

I always thought it was interesting that “red” flags could be so easily masked by this “rosy” frame of view.

Additionally, you need to be fully aware as many of those little nit-picky, potentially annoying quirks that your date possesses. Why, might you ask? Because you need to have an honest conversation with yourself to determine if you can live with these idiosyncrasies, because they aren’t going anywhere once you give/receive that wedding band under the chuppah. I say “as many of” because it’s impossible to know everything about the person, including some of their eccentricities, until you are living as husband and wife.

And yet, that is where the rose-tinged glasses are entirely appropriate.

Once you’re tied the knot, thus making one of the biggest (if not the biggest) decisions of your life, you need to don those pinkish lenses to filter out the little things that pop up here and there and focus on the greater picture of the wonderful person you married. After you’ve seen everything that’s truly important, such what his/her personality is, how he/she handles stress, expresses anger and disappointment, who his/her friends and family are and how he/she relates to them, not to mention hashkafos, level of religious commitment, and views on future lifestyle and child rearing, you know in your heart that you want to spent the rest of your life with this wonderful person. At that point, both husband and wife need to back off focusing on the little things, which truly have no real significance in the overall functioning of their marriage.

I’m not talking about harmful habits, or things that disturb one’s emotional/psychological peace, or undermines their health and wellbeing. I’m referring to all those “pet peeves,” which can be sensitively addressed – as long as both partners are willing to work together, one being patient, encouraging and understanding, while the other proactive, determined to work on his/herself, and willing to accept making a mistake or two on the road to improvement.

Yes, things have come up here and there in the few months that ASoG and I have been married, and most times we have successfully negotiated a compromise that worked out for both of us. In a few instances, certain issues have led to more heated discussions, but the attitude of perceiving the other person for the sum total of amazing things that made us want to marry the other has prevailed in the end. That is one of the key lessons to be learned and applied to have an effective and successful marriage.

So while you are still single, find out as much as you possibly can about the other person’s habits, good and bad. Talk to roommates, former roommates, and ex-roommates to inquire about your personal concerns in a spouse (the difference between the last two is where one graduated/got married/moved away and the other left because they couldn’t stand living with the guy/gal).

Once you are married, it behooves you to see the forest, not the trees, and appreciate your spouse for all the positive, heartwarming things that brought you together in the first place and made the idea of marriage a welcome one in your mind and heart.

If you find yourself still “in the parsha,” stash those rose-colored glasses away. If you’re already married, bring ‘em out and wear them 24/7 – both you and your spouse will be happier for it. Get all googly-eyed and wistful, sigh in ardor when your mind wafts to thoughts of your beloved – in short, do all that stuff that you used to do when you were dating and what should be bottled up and stored for use after sheva brachos are over (and sometimes, even during sheva brachos, considering how stressful they often are).

May everyone use their own personal pair of rose-tinted glasses at the right time and with the right person!

1 comment:

  1. First of all, there's a gemara in Bubba Mayseh on daf 1c where Rabbi Poopa concludes after looking at the relevant tosefta that toilet paper is hung over, not under. So doing it over is right and doing it under is wrong.
    For a really good laugh, see if you can find the clip from "All in the Family" where Archie and Meathead argue over whether it's better to put one shoe on and tie it up and then other shoe or to put both on first and then tie them up.
    Finally, the toothpaste machlokes dates back to when tubes were made from tin, not plastic, which meant that as you pushed from the bottom you rolled up the tin and the tube actually got smaller so you had to squeeze from the bottom so as not to waste any. Nowadays with the fancy shmancy plastic ones, it doesn't really matter.


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