Love, Honor…and Make You See Things My Way

by Dorothy Rosby

This year, I’m going to give my Valentine the best gift of all: understanding. And by that I mean, his understanding of me. Instead of a card, I’m giving him this letter explaining why I do what I do. Try it yourself. It’s a nice way to help your partner hear your side without having to listen to theirs.
Dear Valentine,
Our marriage has lasted these many years because we agree on politics, religion and the generous use of garlic and onions in family meals. But there are a few smaller issues that have troubled us, and as my gift to you, I’m taking the time now to explain my side so you’ll know why I’m right. Oh, and happy Valentine’s Day.
1. It’s true I have a peculiar tendency to leave cupboard doors open, giving the impression that someone broke in and ransacked the place looking to steal our Tupperware. I know this annoys you, but it’s such a waste of time to close a door I’m just going to have to open again in a day or two.
And give me some credit. I do occasionally sashay through the kitchen, closing doors like Vanna White turning letters, usually before we have company or after one of us has a little forehead mishap.
Anyway, I’m hurt you haven’t noticed that I’ve been doing things your way more since we got the cat and I realized that someone who uses a litter box could start running though our casserole dishes.
2. I know you think I’m never ready when we’re going out. But me, late? Remember I even had our son on my due date. Never mind it was April Fools’ Day.
If anyone is causing us to be late, it’s you. Remember Sunday? You asked if I was ready and I said, “Of course.” But then you went to find your glasses. Someone who doesn’t have time to close a cupboard door certainly doesn’t have time to wait for you to find your glasses, so while I waited, I started loading the dishwasher. You found your glasses then looked at the newspaper while you waited for me to finish. I finished with the dishwasher and saw you reading the paper, so I started sorting the laundry. You laid down the newspaper and took out your cellphone. And that, Valentine, is why we were late for church—because you were looking at your phone.
3. Yes, over the years, I’ve gotten rid of some things you wish we’d kept. But I’ve never knowingly disposed of something you really cared about—not while you were looking anyway.
In many marriages, there’s a collector and a disposer. Collectors keep everything because they think they might need it someday. Disposers can’t imagine why anyone would need an old license plate or a pen that doesn’t write. In our marriage, you’re the collector and I’m the disposer. It’s true that if we were both disposers, we might not always have the exact doo-hickey we need. But if we were both collectors, we wouldn’t be able to find it anyway.
4. You think I worry too much, but be glad I do. Worry works. Think back to all those times I worried I was going to burn the house down because I thought I forgot to unplug the iron. I never burned the house down, did I? Also, I never left the iron on.
But think of all the bad things I didn’t worry about that have happened. I wasn’t worrying when I got food poisoning on our vacation. Or when the airline lost our luggage. Or when our tire went flat, our oven died, and our printer stopped printing—all just before Christmas. At least, I wasn’t worrying about any of those things. I now try to worry about them a little each day, and none of them have happened since. You’re welcome.
(Dorothy Rosby is the author of several humor book. Contact