It seems unusual to me, because from all my experience, I've found that opposites attract. You have one neat person, and one messy person in a marriage. One spender, and one saver. (Just f.y.i., in my own situation, B is the spender and I am the saver.)
Don't ask me why that is, but in a marriage it does seem to work out pretty well, as long as the two people are not at the extremes. If one's an unrepentant shopaholic and the other a pennypinching miser, then all they do is argue. But a healthy give-and-take between the garden variety spender and the reasonable, rational saver seems to lead to a good compromise and a good outcome. Together, the couple keeps a good balance and spends appropriately, because of the pull and tug between the two forces.
If you have two spenders, you run the risk of going into debt, maybe even going broke, and facing retirement with plenty of clothes and furniture and memories of great vacations, but no plan to provide any income for your golden years beyond the modest funds sent to you by Social Security. And if you have two savers in the family -- well, you end up with a spare and barren existence, and lots of money in your estate which your kids will gladly squander for you after you're gone.
B has a pillow prominently displayed on our living room sofa, "My idea of housework is to sweep the room with a glance."
Yes, she is the messy one, I am the neat one. But it's okay, because it gives our house that lived-in look -- without deteriorating into a big jumble of debris littering the table tops and the floor.
Well ... maybe there's a little debris, but neither one of us is so extreme that it causes real problems. I am not a neat freak. I'll throw a tee shirt on the chair in the bedroom and it might sit there for a few days before it gets into the laundry. And the back room where I have my office does sport a few piles of books and papers.
But by and large I'm pretty neat. I don't leave shoes or clothes around the house. I take my mail, every day, and throw out the junk and put the bills in my letter holder. I'm also in charge of recycling, so I'm on top of the magazine and newspapers that get stacked up on the coffee table.
But I will say, I haven't seen the top of the kitchen table since we last had house guests -- when my, er, brother and sister in law were here.
B uses the kitchen table for her mail, her books, her brochures. The overflow goes onto the dining room table, and the overflow of the overflow gets piled in the corner of the living room. She slings her pocket book and the book bag she brings to work, over the kitchen chairs, along with a sweatshirt and a sweater. And the boxes she has, either incoming or outgoing to the post office or UPS, are stored on the dining room floor.
The only thing that really threw me recently? So ... the kitchen table is piled high with an assortment of papers and books. It has what I call the "literary look." That's okay with me. But the other day B goes out and buys a couple of candlesticks. "Oh, they're nice," I say. "Where are you gonna put them?"
"On the kitchen table," she says with a smile. "They'll look pretty."
"Well ... I guess," I reply, but I'm flabbergasted. No one will be able to see them!
When I was younger, a messy house used to bother me. Then I had kids. So I learned to live with it, and now it doesn't bother me anymore. I've mellowed. I have also learned to appreciate the benefits of the "messy" lifestyle (for example, they save everything and, given time, can usually lay their hands on whatever you want, as opposed to us "neat freaks" who throw everything away ... not that I'm admitting to being a neat freak).
The only thing that still bothers me is the shoes by the door. And that's mostly because I'm a klutz. B has five or six coats hanging off hooks on the wall behind the back door, so the door can't open all the way. And there are six or eight pairs of shoes and boots piled on the floor. Trying to tiptoe past the shoes to get out the back door is quite a trick. Twice I've tripped over a pair of shoes and stumbled through the screen door. But I'm learning. I haven't tripped once this summer.
And besides ... I've visited my in-laws, and I feel that I can hardly breathe when I'm in their house, for fear of leaving a coffee cup ring on the kitchen counter. I'd rather live with a little mess than live in fear of the neat police.
P. S. My mother was a spender, my dad a saver; my mother was the messy one; my dad the neat one. I hate to think what Freud would have to say about that! But ... they were married for 60 years.