Monday, November 21, 2011

An Unmade Bed Leads To Larger Issues In This Marriage

Dear Tazi-Kat:

My beautiful and loving wife and I are having a disagreement, and I want your opinion. I was raised that after you wake up in the morning you make the bed. I would sooner walk out of the house naked than leave without making the bed! My wife, on the other hand, does not make the bed and will leave it unmade all day because "nobody sees it, and we are just going to mess it up again when we sleep in it tonight." I have tried to explain to her that a freshly made bed feels better than one that has been left unmade all day; and that leaving it unmade results in needing to change the sheets twice a week, instead of just once a week like she does now (she also refuses to catch on to this hint).

Her refusal to make the bed is really starting to grate on my nerves, because I do not have the time to make the bed before my hour commute to work. Coming home at the end of the day and seeing an unmade bed puts me in a bad mood; and lately during the day I have been thinking about coming home and seeing an unmade bed, which sours my mood before I even leave the office.

My wife and I have two young children who are still in cribs, and I am dreading the day that they get "big boy beds" because I am afraid that will just mean more unmade beds littered throughout the house. I have tried to let go of this issue, but I just can't - and it is starting to affect how my wife treats me while we are in bed. How can I make her see reason, Tazi-Kat?

Neat Nick

Dear Neat Nick:

I will admit that I love the feel of a freshly made bed. There is something about creeping up under the bedspread and tunneling under the bedclothes that makes me purr! if you scroll down to the bottom of this page, you will see a picture of me doing just that! Now, about your question: Before I can answer it, I need to ask you a few questions myself!

Is your wife a full-time homemaker or does she have a career, too? Are the sheets falling off of the bed, necessitating that the entire bed be remade or are they just a bit messy each morning? And does one of you sleep later than the other or do you both wake at the same time?

If your wife is a full-time homemaker, I cannot see why she cannot find five minutes - at some point during the day - to make the bed, even with two young children in her care. Little ones take naps during the day, granting harried Moms a reprieve. I realize your wife needs her "me time", but taking 5 minutes (or 10, if the bed is completely torn apart) to complete a chore that would make her husband infinitely happier and the house look infinitely cleaner does not seem like too much to ask.

If your wife also holds down a career in addition to being a Mom and homemaker, I would say that you need to pitch in more - in spite of your hour-long commute to work - or complain less. Even though men today help out with the housework far more than their fathers and grandfathers ever did, the fact remains that the bulk of housework and childcare still falls upon women’s shoulders. The fact that your wife is treating you differently in the bedroom - and I am assuming this statement was a complaint - tells me that the division of household labor may be the issue your wife is having.

If having the bed made is that important to you, offer to assist your wife with this morning chore - regardless of whether or not she is a homemaker or paid career woman. Unless she sleeps until after you leave for work (and with two little ones, I highly doubt that is possible), this should not present a problem. I believe she will appreciate that you are willing to make an effort to do something that you want done, instead of just demanding that she do it for you. Often times, marriage is about compromise; and this is one of those issues where compromise sounds necessary.

-- Tazi-Kat

P.S. For the sake of decency, I hope that you were speaking metaphorically when you said you would sooner leave the house naked than leave without making the bed! This could lead to some awkward moments at the office, or even arrest for indecent exposure!

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