The Battle of the Bathroom Between Husband and Wife

How to negotiate bathroom behavior when you're married.
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The Battle of Bathroom Redesign

My wife and I have been talking about redoing our master bathroom for almost three years now. We've blamed the delays on disagreements over design, budget, cabinetry, fixtures and, of course, tile -- since you now have to choose not only color but shape, texture, heatability and, I think, aroma. But Diane and I both know what's really holding everything up: We have only enough room for one master bathroom. And while married couples need to be able to share a great many things, I'm no longer convinced that a bathroom is one of them.

It's just not natural.

I believe husbands and wives can work out pretty much anything with time, communication, patience, and perhaps full-contact couples therapy. Anything, that is, except peace in one shared bathroom.

I'm not talking about seat-up versus seat-down stuff. That has never been an issue for us. My wife is a petite little peanut, and the first time I left the seat up she literally fell in. I can't live with that. So I always put the seat back down.

Everything else about husbands and wives and bathrooms, however, is up for heated debate. Take the condition of that seat -- its general cleanliness and esprit de corps? All very subjective. A personal preference thing, really. In fact, I foresee a day when the male perspective on this starts gaining more acceptance. Maybe the folks who write those Everyone Poops children's books can do a sequel called Everyone Pees on the Seat.

Or take the question (a favorite in our house) of whether the bath mat really needs to be hung up to dry or can be left to dry by itself lying on the floor all day long. I know Diane believes hanging it up is better, based on certain "knowledge" that has been passed down from wife to wife through the generations. But are there double-blind clinical trials that prove one way is better than the other? I'd be happy to volunteer if some husbands' rights group wants to fund such a study.

I don't mean to minimize the importance of the problems caused by wives trying desperately to somehow re-potty-train their husbands. This is serious stuff. One of my basketball buddies admitted to me recently that bathroom battles almost wrecked his marriage. "Our old condo only had one bathroom," he said. "She hated me when we lived there. She was always banging on the door and telling me that she needed that bathroom!" They finally bought a place with enough space to put a dinky water closet for him next to her nice big bathroom. He even agreed to make it the only room in the house he was responsible for cleaning. But she's still on his back about it. He may have to resort to every teenage boy's fantasy -- putting his own lock on the bathroom door.

Continued on page 2:  Bathroom Behavior


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