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How I Handle the Toilet Seat Being Left Up and Other Quandaries

There are some things that are universal struggles in almost every marriage.  Sometimes these tiny little insignificant things can turn into huge issues and fights, unfortunately.

So what is a wife to do when her husband constantly leaves the toilet seat up, and she ends up splashing in the nasty toilet water in the middle of the night?  Or what is a wife to do when her husband doesn’t help with the laundry, or leaves dirty clothes all over the bedroom, or leaves wet towels on the bed or tracks dirt and mud through the house after she just vacuumed and mopped – again?

SOME PERSPECTIVE

One thing that helps me A LOT is to talk with widows and read the stories of widows.  There was an article about some of the September 11th widows and they all talked about how hard it was to hear wives complaining about these little inconveniences that come with living with a husband.  They talked about how much they WISHED they could have those kinds of “problems” again and have their men back in their lives.

SOME SUGGESTIONS

Here is how I handle some of those little annoying things now that used to get under my skin and fill me with resentment.   Yes, you could ask very respectfully, and probably only once (or occasionally) – “Honey, would you please do X?  I would appreciate it so much!”  But if that doesn’t work…

  • the toilet seat – Now, I just assume that the seat is probably up.  So I feel in the dark and yep, it’s up.  So I put it down and then I don’t fall in the toilet.  I don’t expect the seat to be down.  I live with a husband, and that is part of living with a man sometimes.  And I think about how glad I am to have him in my life.  I don’t nag him.  I don’t make any deal out of it at all.  I just changed my expectations.  It’s not that big of a deal!  You know what IS a big deal to God?  My resentment, bitterness and un-forgiveness.  Those are ugly sins in God’s book.  Leaving the toilet seat up is not a sin. I happen to know my husband’s heart well enough to know that he doesn’t purposely leave the seat up to try to annoy me. And, I always leave the seat down, so he has to put it up. He doesn’t complain about that!
  • clothes strewn around the bathroom/bedroom/wet towels on the floor or bed – Most of the time, my husband puts his dirty clothes in the hamper. If he doesn’t,  I take 2 seconds and put them in the hamper.  I don’t complain about it.  I don’t even think hateful thoughts.  It doesn’t upset me anymore at all.  It doesn’t take much of my time.  I think “I am so glad to be able to serve my husband and serve Jesus by taking care of him this way.”  And I don’t get the least bit annoyed.  I know I will probably be a widow in the next 10-30 years and I will have a very neat house and won’t have to clean up after anyone then.  And I know I will MISS my husband so much.  I want to savor every moment of being with him.  Who knows how many days we have left to enjoy each other’s company?  I don’t want to have any regrets.
  • dishes put into the dishwasher “wrong” –  I thank my husband for taking care of the dishes and cleaning up.  I hug him and kiss him and smile at him and tell him what an awesome man I have that he would do all of that for me!  Then when I take the dishes out of the dishwasher, if there are some that have crud on them, I soak them and rewash them. (Sometimes that happens when I load the dishwasher, too!) I could ask him to put them in a different way – respectfully. Or I could say, “Honey, the dishes don’t seem to be getting clean in the dishwasher,” and give him the chance to evaluate the situation. I don’t get angry.  I’m thankful for Greg’s willingness to help me with chores now.  Life has not always been like this!  So any time he helps me in ANY way, I thank him and pile on the praise and encouragement.  I do NOT criticize his help.  I appreciate him.
  • tracking dirt through the clean house – This actually happens a good bit when my husband is working on renovation projects at our house.  Thankfully, we have hardwood floors almost everywhere, so that makes it a bit easier.  I focus on the beautiful work my husband is doing to create my dream home for me.  That is one of the biggest ways he likes to show his love for me.  So, I don’t get on him about it at all.  I just wait until the work is done for the day and cheerfully sweep the floor again and thank him for the incredible job he’s doing on the house.  I don’t resent him.  I don’t get angry.  I hum or sing a praise song to God and I sweep the floor.  Then I go cuddle with my man after he gets cleaned up and I hug and kiss him and listen to him talk about all of his amazing plans for his latest project and I smile and appreciate having such a talented husband who loves me SO much that he is willing to do all that hard work just to delight me.

MY HUSBAND DOES A LOT FOR ME

I used to silently, or not so silently, keep score and try to weigh what I was doing in the marriage each day compared to my husband.  And I would resent him if I felt I had to do more chores around the house.  It helps a lot that I am not working as much anymore, so I have more time to spend on chores and I’m not trying to work a full time job AND do the housekeeping and be a wife and mother.  That was just WAY too much for me to handle!  Now I only work about 11-20 hours/week.

Now when I do work, my husband helps me.  I don’t usually ask him to do anything.  He feels so respected now, he just does it all on his own.  He’ll do laundry now, and even fold it and put it away!??!?  He’ll do the dishes now, especially days that I am working.  He’ll cook supper for me.  A man who feels greatly respected is wired by God to want to serve those who honor him. I don’t respect and honor him so that he will do things for me. But, he often does wonderful things these days just because he loves me and likes to see me smile.

Even before my husband was feeling a lot more respected and started helping me so much more, I began to change and see all the ways he contributes to our marriage, household and family and how he NEVER complains.  He takes care of all the outside chores and yard work.  He does the renovation projects.  He goes under the house and works on the ducts or the plumbing if needed.  Plumbing can get particularly nasty.  He doesn’t complain when he has to work on the sewage pipe and gets filthy.  He is MY HERO for being willing to do all that stuff for me.  He amazes me with his determination and perseverance and the way he seriously never complains no matter how hot it is in the attic when he’s putting insulation up there or how smelly and nasty it is under the house.  I can definitely find plenty of things to appreciate and thank him for and things to respect him for.  He contributes so much to making our house beautiful and safe and well-functioning.  How can I really measure what I do against all those things he does that I would NEVER be willing or able to do?

So, I don’t keep score anymore.  I just serve my husband and my Jesus with all my heart.  I sing songs to God all throughout the day.  I think about the things I respect and admire about my husband and all of his strengths.  And I am the happiest, most joyful and peaceful wife in the world.

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How has God inspired you to handle the little things that your husband does that used to annoy you? Maybe your story might inspire another wife!

17 thoughts on “How I Handle the Toilet Seat Being Left Up and Other Quandaries

  1. Why do you never hear men complaining about having to put the seat UP? Why is that somehow a none issue? Why is it reasonable to expect us to put it up and back down, but unreasonable to expect her to just put it down? Hummmmm

    Just offering a bit of perspective to chew on!

    1. The Marriage Bed,

      I completely agree! I have never heard of a man complaining about having to put the seat down. Of course, he also doesn’t land in cold water in the middle of the night, I guess – but I think we can be more cooperative as wives on this topic.

      Thanks!

      1. I have definitely landed in the cold, nasty water a few times in the past – YUCK! That is why I check with my hand where the lid should be and make sure I don’t feel the seat up there, too, before I sit down in the dark. 🙂 No more cold and disgusting surprises for me!

    2. The Marriage Bed,
      I have actually heard that argued before among my guy friends.

      The whole landing in the water in the middle of the night thing is not an issue with me at all. It never has been. My thing is that I like the lid down to make the bathroom look neater, just as I want the cabinet doors closed, the washer and dryer lids closed, the shower door closed, etc. Also, we currently have a medicine cabinet above the toilet, so if the lid is up there’s a chance that something might fall in. I mentioned it to my husband a few times after we got married, but to no avail. So whenever I see the lid up, I just take a couple seconds and put it down.

      My question is, why are men so hard-headed when it comes to this? All 5 of my brothers were trained during potty training to close the lid and flush the toilet when you’re done. They did this faithfully, out of habit, until they became teenagers or adults and realized that it was an issue between men and women and began to feel obligated to leave the lid up. Now it’s like they lose man points for closing the lid or something! lol

  2. Loving someone is putting that person’s needs, wants, desires and well-being ahead of your own so this should be a non-issue at this point. If he’s leaving the toilet seat up after being asked repeatedly to let it down, then he is telling me he couldn’t care less what I need, want or desire or my well-being as a result of falling in the toilet. @HusbandMentor just tweeted “All God asks is that we wake each morning and choose to place her needs above your own, and live to make her life more fulfulling.” As for @MarriageBed’s comments, the man is the one who has to lift the seat in the first place in order to prevent peeing all over it so why should it be her responsibility to let it down? HMMMMMMMMMMM. Just offering a bit of perspective to chew on!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    1. Lisa,

      You are spot on about your definition of love! That was beautiful! Here on this blog, one of my primary aims is to help wives focus on our own behavior and our own accountability to God for loving our husbands and respecting them and cooperating with their God-given leadership (Ephesians 5:22-33).

      I used to focus on what my husband was doing wrong and what he needed to change and fix, from my perspective. I made sure he knew that I was “always right.” I kept that mindset for 15 years of our marriage and made us both miserable! I was not very respectful. In fact, looking back now, I see that I was extremely prideful and all about me, my desires and my way. I would nag, criticize, pout, complain, whine, manipulate and try to control and force my husband to change – even over little issues like the toilet seat or washing the dishes. My husband shut down and shut me out of his heart. I was a lonely, bitter, angry, resentful, anxious, worried, stressed out wife who was trying to control everything. That was not a recipe for marital bliss for either of us – I promise!

      It was when I began to focus on my own obedience to God’s Word for me, repenting of my own sin (for me, it was largely unforgiveness, bitterness, the idolatry of control and MY way, as well as pride – thinking I knew better than my husband and everyone else), changing my responses and my part of the marriage that God began to change me and then do miracles in our marriage. I learned to speak to my husband kindly, in a pleasant, friendly tone of voice. I learned to ask for things respectfully – and usually just once, instead of nagging. I learned that my husband truly did not have evil motives towards me – and that I often misinterpreted his heart, thinking that if I had left the toilet seat up after being asked not to, it would mean I was being hateful and mean. But my husband just really didn’t think about it – he wasn’t being malicious. He truly had good will towards me. I learned to respond with grace and that the little issues are SO not worth getting upset about.

      So – exactly as you described – I learned to put my husband’s needs, wants, desires and well-being ahead of my own. I had not been doing that very well before. I learned that I had the power to make the temperature of our relationship warm, loving, cheerful, cozy, intimate and friendly – or I had the power to make the temperature icy, cold, hateful and like a war-zone.

      When I stopped my negativity and my attempts to control my husband and make him do things MY way – my husband began to blossom into the man I knew he could be. But it wasn’t because I was trying to control him that he changed – it was because I accepted him, I found contentment in Christ and peace and joy in Him, I learned to praise all that was good in my husband and build him up with my words. I learned to tell him my desires and feelings in a respectful way – with much less emotion and negativity – and my husband hears me much more clearly now. Now that my husband feels extremely respected, he almost always tries to do anything I ask of him. But even if he forgets or decides not to – I can accept whatever happens graciously

      I pray that you might find encouragement here. Welcome!

      May God richly bless your walk with Christ and your marriage!

  3. This article excuses men’s behavior. It’s ridiculous. They can do better. Some men do better. Others refuse. It has nothing to do with loving someone. Im no one’s slave.

    1. Nicole,

      If I were writing for men, I would write about how they could focus on being thoughtful, considerate, and mindful of their wives. They certainly have room for improvement. But I am going to leave that for another blog.

      My purpose is to write for women to point us to Christ that we might become the women He calls us to be. I spent the first 14+ years of my marriage making demands and trying to dictate every little thing to my husband. I had no idea I was sabotaging our marriage and destroying intimacy. It is really hard to live with someone who is controlling and who makes tiny little issues more important than the marriage.

      Loving people does involve extending grace at times and being selfless. That is true for men and it is also true for women.

      Here is God’s definition of unconditional love from the Bible, the kind of love He commands us to have for everyone in our lives:

      Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 8 Love never fails.

      This is the way God loves us. We don’t have to be “slaves” to people – but we also don’t have to be slaves to ourselves or our selfishness. God can transform our hearts and empower us to love with His love. He can heal relationships and transform people to be more and more like Jesus.

      I’d love to talk with you some more about this if you are interested.

      Much love!

  4. This is so hard for me to overcome! My husband and I both work outside the home, sometimes very long hours. Somewhere along the line, I have allowed myself to believe that spouses are supposed to divide up the housework 50/50. If I come home late from work and I know he’s been home for a few hours, I get so angry that the clothes haven’t been folded or the kitchen hasn’t been cleaned.

    I don’t say anything (as much) anymore, because thankfully I have been learning about being more respectful and kind. But I haven’t been able to conquer this mindset that my husband is supposed to do all the things I would normally do at home. I know a big part of my frustration is that I am tired and I don’t have a set cleaning schedule, which right now is almost impossible to do because I may or may not get home at 5 on any given day.

    Any ideas on how to be more at peace with my home?

    1. Meghan,

      Have you talked with your husband about that maybe you are trying to do too much? Is it possible for you to cut back on your hours some?

      How is your time with God going? Where are you spiritually lately?

      Would it be okay if we do a spiritual check up together -where I ask you a few questions about your expectations, fears, and dreams?

      Much love!

      1. Yes, he is actually very supportive and encouraging to me when I start telling him how overwhelmed I feel. He doesn’t expect me to keep our home spotless or to always have a meal waiting. In fact, he cooks some nights and has even told me to take a nap or just rest. I know that I have these expectations for myself and have somehow transferred them to my husband.

        I am struggling spiritually. I attend church weekly and help teach a children’a class on Wednesday nights, but I haven’t had a personal bible study or devotion in a very long time. I think I would like having a spiritual checkup!

        Thank you April!

        1. Meghan,

          Sounds like you are married to a great guy! Do you ever take his advice? (About resting?)

          A minister at my church described the 50/50 marriage idea as one of the most destructive mindsets about marriage there is. Would you say that expecting a total 50/50 split of everything promotes grace, generosity, selflessness, forgiveness, mercy, and agape love and respect? Or doesn’t it promote selfishness, keeping score, division, resentment, bitterness, and contempt?

          How a you going to be a godly woman if you are spiritually starving yourself, my sister? Tat is not going to work! Priority number one must be to get the time with God you need. If you neglect His Word and prayer, you are completely defenseless and weak against the enemy. You won’t be able to hear God’s voice. You will cherish sin in your heart, and Satan’s voice will sound right and good. That is not going to work!!!

          Time to make some changes! About expectations and about your time with God.

          Much love
          April

          1. Thank you! He is a great guy! 🙂 But you are right, the 50/50 split and expectations that that is going to work definitely promotes bitterness. I find myself keeping score more than counting blessings or noticing the great things that happen.

            Thank you for your encouragement! There are changes I need to make for myself in order to better fight the lies I allow Satan to tell me. Sometimes I just need a reminder from someone else.

            Thank you again!

          2. Meghan,

            We all need reminders at times. I’m so glad this was a blessing. If you need to talk more about this, please let me know. Praying for God’s victory for you over the enemy!

            Much love!

My grandmother is on hospice and won't be with us much longer (11-30-16). I will get to comments when I am able to but I need to be with family right now. Thanks for understanding.

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