Monday, August 31, 2015

The Dreaded TeeShirt Drawer

By Tiffany Bleger
So, my dear husband likes tee shirts. A lot. Plain tee shirts, colored tee shirts, tee shirts with business logos, tee shirts with funny pictures, tee shirts with sports teams. I counted them one time. And just shook my head in amazement. 

The tee shirts go in two drawers in the dear husband's dresser. When we first got married, we quickly realized that we had two very distinct tee shirt folding styles. And those two folding styles were, more often than not, completely incompatible with each other. So, I would wash the clothes and fold them. When I would put them away, I would put them in the drawer "my way". Any shirts that were in the drawer folded "his way" would get refolded to "my way" and stacked with the others. 

This method had the potential to work perfectly... if only the husband didn't wear the tee shirts. 

You see, the husband actually likes to wear the tee shirts. So he would rifle through the drawer, looking for "that one", messing up my perfectly aligned stacks. If he refolded any of them, they were folded "his way". Have you realized yet that "his way" equaled wrong in my mind? Other times, the shirts were just shoved back in haphazardly, which was only slightly worse than folding them "his way". So every time I did the laundry, I ended up refolding and reorganizing his tee shirt drawers again. 

This process became so annoying and tedious that I began to dread the laundry. I began to harbor resentment against my husband. I began to believe lies like -

"You know, if he appreciated you, he wouldn't do this."
"He doesn't see how hard you work around here. You're invisible."
"He doesn't respect you. You don't matter." 

It got so bad, I stopped dealing with the drawers all together. I would fold his tee shirts and leave them stacked on top of the dresser. If he put them in the drawer, fine. If he didn't, fine. I wasn't going to deal with it. And I wasn't going to acknowledge the obvious lack of communication that was occurring either. 

Fast forward a few years. I'm browsing Pinterest, wasting time, when I stumbled across an article about folding tee shirts. I clicked on the link, not expecting anything. But what I found started a new process of communication in our marriage. The method taught by the website was different than my method, and different than his. It even had you stack the tee shirts in the drawer differently. The more I looked at it, the more I thought it just might work, if I could convince him to go along with the plan. 

But first I had to talk to the dear husband about it. 

Neither of us like confrontation. We were both raised in families that did not deal with confrontation well, and so we both took the "don't rock the boat" mentality. It was easier to harbor bitterness and resentment than actually face and deal with the hurts we caused each other. 

Guess what I found out when I finally talked to my husband? When I told him how frustrating it was to be continually folding and refolding laundry? How unappreciated and invisible it made me feel? 

I found out my husband wasn't a mind reader. And neither was I. 

He had no clue why the tee shirts had started being left on the top of the drawer. He had no idea  how frustrated and alone I felt. 

We talked about that dreaded tee shirt drawer. We talked about this crazy idea I had to do something completely different. We talked about talking to each other. About really being honest. About sharing our needs, our desires, and our hurts without making assumptions about the other person. 

And we folded the tee shirts. 

Today, when I open the drawer, there's usually a few haphazard shirts. But they don't bother me like they used to. I refold them and stack them, knowing that it excites my husband to be able to see all the tee shirts at once. And I'm at peace knowing that I can take my wounds and fears to my husband in safety. 

You see, it was never about the tee shirts at all. It was all about the communication. 

1 comment:

  1. Tiff I LOVE this! So so wise and after watching you and jerome's marriage (and being inspired by it), it makes this marriage newbie not feel so bad that we've had the EXACT same issue with a t shirt drawer! Thank you for sharing your wisdom :)


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