When you share a home, a bedroom, a life sometimes issues pop up that are really meaningless but take on new meaning because two people don't agree. A few examples . . .
Early on in our marriage, Jeff was adamant that the top shelf in the refrigerator is for beverages and food items belong on other shelves. I have trouble remembering that, but it really doesn't make that big of a difference, so I tried to abide by that rule. I followed it, and now four years later, he doesn't care either.
When we moved into our second apartment in Provo, we didn't have rods to hang our towels on; we had hooks. I believed they looked more attractive hung horizontally, but Jeff thought they dried better vertically. And I really thought they didn't look good if they didn't match. (I know. Who really cares how our towels are hung?) So, every time I noticed his hung the "wrong" way, I would switch it. Since I didn't force Jeff to rehang it, he didn't really care if I switched it. Now in our new house, I have the rod and he has the hook, and he hangs his towel the way I always used to change it to be.
Jeff thinks it is a waste of time to put the contact solution away. He uses it twice a day, and he likes to have it on the counter. He also thinks it is a waste of time to put the cap back on the contact solution. The cap has become more of a joke between us. He thinks he has gotten rid of the cap, and somehow I find it again and it reappears. :) Sometimes I let the solution stay on the counter, and every now and then I put it back in the medicine cabinet. Again, no one cares, and there is no contention.
The example that is most relevant recently is that of the sides of our bed. Jeff is more of a let-the-clothes-stay-on-the-floor-until-right-before-laundry-day kind of guy, and I'm a if-the-clothes-stay-on-the-floor-I-won't-know-when-I-need-to-do-laundry kind of girl. We have tried many different routines for me to get Jeff to stop putting his clothes on the floor. Only one has worked, but unfortunately it can't continue long term. We've tried designating a chair in the bedroom as his. He can throw all of his clothes on that chair. Nope. They still go on the floor. We got him a hat rack thing for him to put his clothes on. Still nope. What ends up happening is that I keep picking the clothes off the floor and putting them on his rack and they just pile up and I never know which are dirty or clean. I try picking them up and putting them on his side of the bed, so he'll notice them and do something with them. Nope. They just go back on the floor until he puts them all in the laundry basket at once and all of a sudden it is past time when I should have done laundry.
My side of the bed is usually clean. You can usually see the floor. Every now and then I'll have a late or lazy night where my clothes from that day will pile up, but it usually never goes past accumulation of a day or two. I just like a tidy bedroom. When I was a teenager, you could always tell if I was entering a depression period, because I wouldn't make my bed. If life isn't worth living, there is no point in making your bed. But when I was happy, my bed was always made, because happy people like to live in cute bedrooms. :)
Anyway, so last month, I stopped tiding up my side of the bed. I had a lot of items that I didn't have a place for in our bedroom yet, and then we went to Tennessee, and Jeff unpacked the suitcases but left my clothes on my side of the bed (sound familiar?), and I wanted to sleep, so I piled them on the homeless items. Then there was so much stuff that I just started adding my clothes from every day on top of it. After two weeks or longer, there was just one tiny little walking trail next to my bed and a whole bunch of stuff.
Amazingly, while my side of the bed got messier, Jeff's got cleaner. Every day I added an item to my side, he seemed to remove items from his side until his side was neat and tidy and completely clear. This lasted about a week or so. Meanwhile, Jeff couldn't believe it. Numerous comments were made about the condition of my side of the bed, and he asked me to clean it quite a few times. Hmm.
After almost a month the mess started to depress me, so I tidied it up. That was about a week ago. Now as I look at Jeff's side of the bed. I see two pairs of shorts, one pair of jeans, a few books, some dirty socks, three shirts, and some papers.
The best part is that in between asking me to tidy up my side of the bed, Jeff would ask me what I was trying to prove. What point I was trying to make. Haha. I was making no point—I was just being lazy, but he didn't buy that. So during my unintentional point-making I learned that Jeff will be tidy only if I am not.
This story, Sara, is why Jeff laughed when you commented that my house is always tidy. It was during the time period that my side of the bed was not tidy. :)