In spite of being told over and over that we ‘shouldn’t sweat the small stuff,’ that’s exactly what what many of us do. And it’s those petty things that seem to cause the biggest rifts between spouses. Having previously discussed annoying bathroom habits that can drain a marriage and obnoxious kitchen habits that can bring spouses to a boiling point, let’s talk about those irritating car habits that can drive a spouse to distraction. Whether you share a vehicle, or you occasionally drive your spouse’s vehicle, here are 10 behaviors that can steer your marriage in the wrong direction.
1. Trash talk. Whether a Big Mac wrap, used tissue, or a cup of coffee sludge, here’s a tip: Take. It. With. You.
2. Minor adjustments. Just a quick trip? Don’t touch the mirrors. If you bump the rear-view mirror, realign it. And don’t mess with the side mirrors. If later your mate has to make a quick lane change and looks in the side mirror only to see the car doors, their first thought will definitely not be: “Nice paint job.”
3. Fumes. No smoking in the car. You can’t open the window wide enough or long enough to get rid of that smell. And that goes for any other activity that emits smoke, gas, or fumes.
4. Fumeless. On the other hand, leaving the gas tank so low there’s not enough fumes to coast to the gas station on is a double wammy – your spouse will start out being miffed that the gas is low, which could accelerate to more than annoyance if they end up late because they had to stop to fill up.
5. Changing stations. Can’t stand the rhythm of your mate’s radio taste? Listen to whatever you want. But put it back to the “proper” station before you get out.
6. Blast from your past. Speaking of radio, nobody but you thinks it’s funny to leave it blaring so when your spouse turns on the ignition they get a wake-up call that leaves their ears ringing. When you exit the vehicle, turn the volume down. Not off, so you can later claim innocence that they are the one that turned it on, but down.
7. Seat moves. Here’s the rule: if your trip doesn’t take longer than ten minutes, you shall stretch or squnch as needed. But you cannot move the seat such that your spouse hops in the car to get a quick start only to find that their feet can’t reach the pedals or their knees now hit their chin.
8. Cup caddy etiquette. If you slosh your drink in the cup caddy, you must clean the mess even if it has dried by the time you get back home. The only thing more annoying than a wet caddy is a sticky one.
9. Listening pleasure. Whether you want to listen to special music or do your foreign language lessons, taking your mate’s book-on-tape out of the CD player is as rude as ripping their bookmark out of the novel they’re reading. If you must do it, have the courtesy to make note of what track it’s on so that you can either put it back or let them know where they left off.
10. The invisible brake. I’m not sure which is more annoying – having your passenger-mate slam on their imaginary brake while you’re driving or having your driving-mate laugh as you do so.
While it is best to avoid these irritating behaviors to maintain marital harmony, remember to always look at the big picture and complain with caution. Recently my husband took ‘my’ car on a brief errand. When he got back, I hopped in the car to head to the office. Much to my annoyance, he had changed the radio station and left it blaring. I rolled down my window to offer him my opinion on both. Fortunately, in the nick of time, I remembered his errand consisted of getting me gas so I didn’t have to stop on the way to work. I was quick to substitute a heartfelt: “Thanks, Huz – love you!”
Any car habits that drive you to distraction?