Iron man

My parents married in the late 1960s. There were certain societal norms at the time which, in hindsight, look archaic and inappropriate by today’s standards. One of these was, as a newly married wife, my mother ironed all of the Dead Dad’s shirts every week. In fact, she would launder all his shirts, iron them, hang them on hangers and return them to his wardrobe every week.

I never got the full story from either of them, but at some point in the early 1970s they had a row about her ironing. Perhaps he didn’t quite like the way she was ironing creases into the arms, or maybe he objected to the way she buttoned the collar to the clothes hanger. Or it might have been something as trivial as her having left the ironing board out in the kitchen when he wanted to use the space for something else. But, as a result of that row, for the remaining 35+ years of their marriage, she never ironed anything for him ever again, right up until the day he died. And not even then.

I don’t want to take sides in this dispute. I can’t, because I don’t know what led up to it, what caused that particular flashpoint, and what was said afterwards. But I do reflect that it can’t be healthy to let a spat like this fester for that length of time. Can you identify any arguments like the Live Mum’s and the Dead Dad’s? And are you happy to let them carry on for a third of a century? Or will you do something to resolve it?

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