Ten years ago I got married to my wonderful bride. We had over 1500 guests!!! It was crazy. It was such a great night. The next day my wife and I got on a plane and headed to Maui for our honeymoon. When we got there something strange happened. She went into the bathroom to take a shower to get ready for our first dinner on the island. I turned on the tv and a few minutes later needed to pee. I went to go into the bathroom and the door was locked.
I was confused. Hurt. Angry. Sad. More confused. Why so confused? This may sound so lame but I couldn’t understand why she would lock the door. I sat on the bed waiting for her to finish and then I had to confront her. So she comes out…
Me: Did you lock the door on purpose?
Wife: What? What are you talking about?
Me: The bathroom door. Did you lock it on purpose? Did you knowingly do it?
Wife: Yes. Of course. Why are you asking? Oh wait…did you need to go pee? I’m so sorry. I forgot there is only one bathroom.
Me: Well…yes…but that’s not the point. You shut me out!
Wife: Huh? I am not following.
Me: That bathroom door is a metaphor. Why would you lock it? We are husband and wife. There should be no secrets and no locked doors between us. And why are you fully dressed? Did you take your clothes into the bathroom and change in there? Why? Why would you do that?
Wife: What is your problem? I locked the door because I always lock the door when I go into the bathroom. I don’t like the idea of someone coming in when I am going #2 or naked or whatever. I don’t see what the big deal is.
Me: I’m your husband. You shouldn’t care that I see you naked. You shouldn’t care that I see you go #2.
Wife: What? That is so weird. You want to see me….
Me: That’s not the point. You shut me out. I didn’t like it. I didn’t get married so I could have my personal space.
Wife: Ok. Fine. I won’t lock it then. But why would you want to see me go…
Me: Ok. I don’t want to see you go #2. I just don’t like the idea of being locked out. It feels weird to me like you are hiding something from me.
Wife: Whatever. I won’t do it.
Now I am sure some of you are really creeped out right now. Others of you know exactly what I am talking about. You see, my wife and I come from two very different families and thus our privacy settings were not the same. My wife has two younger brothers so she always took her clothes into the bathroom and locked the door so no one could come in on accident. Funny thing is that her brothers do the same thing. Lock the door every time.
My family is totally different. This may gross some of you out, but in our home I would be in the shower, my dad would be going #2, while my mom and brother would be brushing their teeth. Haha. Typing it makes me realize we were probably the weird ones. Anyways…we never locked doors in our house. Not even the bathroom. When my brother and I lived together after we finished college we had a bathroom in between our two rooms with doors on each side. I would be writing papers or preparing sermons as a grad student and my brother would go #2, open the door, and talk to me.
I do the same thing now. Whenever I go #2, if anyone in my family is around I make them come in and talk to me. The younger ones don’t care. The older ones don’t do it anymore because they think it is weird and nasty. Sometimes my wife just pulls up a chair right outside the door and talks. Sometimes I don’t ask because the weirdness of it dawns on me.
All this to say. My wife and I have come a long way since our honeymoon. In the last ten years we have carved a new life. New rules. New traditions. A couple of days ago we were talking about how much easier our marriage is now. We understand each other so well. We read each other so well. I share the story above because it wasn’t always like this. We have put a lot work into our marriage and now enjoy some of the fruits of our labor.
My advice to couples just getting started…keep talking. Keep trying. Keep forgiving. Don’t look at every difference or misunderstanding with judgmental eyes. Some people poop openly. Others lock the door. As you work through weird issues like this, your efforts will be rewarded. Love is always worth it even though it is inefficient.