Michelle Barack Obama

The other day, I was getting grumpy…

I had piled up some dirty tea towels in the kitchen and asked Alex to throw them into the washing machine. (I usually do it, but I was busy.) Of course, he said yes. But that night, they were still there. The next morning, there was the pile. That evening: you know the drill. My thought process? I always wash the tea towels! Why does he keep forgetting? Does he not even care about me?! In my mind, I was going weirdly bats over it.

The next morning, while working on my laptop next to said towels, I noticed this comment from a reader named Elizabeth:

“At my bridal shower, guests were asked to write down a piece of advice for me, the bride. One card, written by ‘anonymous,’ just said, ‘Remember you’re annoying, too.’ My first instinct was to think, What? How could they? but it has been the best advice I’ve received! Every time I wonder why my husband does something, or I get irritated with him, I remember that he’s had plenty of moments thinking/feeling the same way towards me.”

What a lightbulb moment! Because although Alex can be forgetful about stuff like tea towels, there are so many things about me that must drive him nuts. I have misophonia, so certain little noises startle me; I sleep diagonally in bed; and I am The World’s Worst Cook (last year’s pumpkin pie somehow was full of scrambled egg?). But, at the end of the day, he loves me, I love him, the towels disappeared on the third morning, and, as they say, it all comes out in the wash.

Thank you, Elizabeth, for this great reminder. And I’m curious — what other relationship advice has worked for you?

P.S. What marriage means, and what drives you crazy about your partner?

(Photos by Barack Obama/Instagram, NBD.)