By Harriet May Savitz “Only the wisest and stupidest of men never change.” – CONFUCIUS A couple, each set in his or her way, learns to change. I wash my clothes when I have none left to wear and shop when I find the refrigerator is empty. “Why do you do that?” he asks. “Because I always did,” I respond. Our eating habits are even different. He eats prepared frozen foods. He never knows what he will eat until he reaches into his freezer. I know in the morning what I am going to eat that night. I cook everything fresh. My diet is limited, and so is my cooking. Everything goes into one pot and is boiled. I haven’t turned on the oven in two years. When we eat together, he busily sets the table, making certain we have napkins and adequate silverware and a separate dish for dessert. By the time he completes this process, I am finished gulping down my supper. When we get into the car, he reminds me to fasten my seat belt and lock the door. I do this obediently. In my own car, I drive with the doors unlocked and the seat belt hanging somewhere to the side. He gets an A in housecleaning. Each week, he does one room. He enjoys cleaning his apartment. I know the room he will clean each week. It is reassuring to know that on a Thursday, perhaps with a hurricane nearby, or a catastrophe occurring on the other side of the world, he’s cleaning the kitchen. I, on the other hand, prefer to do everything at once. And the mood needs to coincide with the chore. We are as different from each other as possible. We understand this about our relationship. Both in our 70s, we spent a long time developing our personal habits and our household schedules, and neither of us has any intention of changing. And we know better than to try to change each other. Except recently, when an issue arose between us and neither of us could back away. Every now and then he insists on wearing maroon shorts with red socks. I found it impossible to concentrate on anything when he wore this ghastly combination. I told him I couldn’t stand those socks together with those shorts one more time. He said, “This is the way I like it.” I have an aversion to the kitchen overhead light turned on even when it is a cloudy, sunless day. I prefer soft lamplight. On one such day, he kept turning on the overhead light. I kept turning it off. He said he couldn’t see. I said, “This is the way I like it.” Because we keep an intellectual rapport, because we connect in a special way, and because true friendship is a treasure and the relationship is worth saving, he no longer wears the maroon shorts with red socks, and I no longer object when he turns on the overhead light on a cloudy, sunless day. Even at our age, we can enjoy change. Chicken Soup for the Soul was created by Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen. To submit a story, send it in care of the Daily Breeze, 5215 Torrance Blvd., Torrance, CA 90503-4077.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREGame Center: Chargers at Kansas City Chiefs, Sunday, 10 a.m. We dated for several years, and we knew from the beginning we could not live with each other. Our daily schedules and housekeeping habits differed. Not only differed – were unacceptable to each other. We overlook as much as we can. Now and then one of us does something the other cannot tolerate, not for one more time, not for one more minute. That is when we appreciate the fact that we each can walk out the door and go home. I leave the keys in my doorknob. He can’t understand that. “Why don’t you put them on the key hook?” he asks. “I don’t know. I just feel better when they’re in the doorknob.” He washes his clothes every Sunday morning at exactly 6:30 and shops for food on Friday, every Friday – rain, shine or hurricane.