The Tale of the Toothpaste Tube or How to Communicate in a Marriage

When we were married, 45 years ago, toothpaste came in a soft metal tube and in order to get all of it out, one was supposed to squeeze it from the end and constantly push it up into the opening. At least, that’s how my husband looked at it. I, on the other hand, being a creative person and often distracted, sometimes forgot to do this. I knew it was important to him, but time often got in the way.

Eventually, he would fix the tube. And he hardly ever complained about it. I chose to not feel controlled by his fixing and just appreciated that he would make it right—most of the time! I suppose we could have just bought separate tubes for each of us. But working this out contributed greatly to our happy married life. After all, we were working out more than toothpaste! We were learning to communicate.

You have a choice when you are married. You can insist there’s only one right way, you can blame, you can get upset over silly things, or you can embrace your different styles, life experiences and choose to assume the best in your spouse.

Why bring this up now? Because Valentine’s Day is coming. You can get traditional flowers, candy and spend the night out dining and dancing. But if you really want to give a great gift this year, try restraint, understanding and letting some of the small things go.

Even with toothpaste, neither of us is perfect, but, after 45 years together working to resolve conflict, we think we are pretty perfect for each other!

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