The other day I got frustrated with my husband!
He keeps starting projects and not finishing them, and therefore he leaves stuff around.
For example, he may sweep up something, but then he leaves out the broom and dustpan.
Or he works in the garden, leaves out the tools, or forgets to wind up the hose and put it away.
And yes, I know, I should just be grateful he’s willing to sweep up or work in the garden.
I should mention that he has ADD (attention deficit disorder) and forgetfulness is a natural result.
But, here’s the really annoying part….when I remind him to finish his cycle, he gets frustrated and defensive.
He says things like: “I’ll get to it, don’t bug me, I’m not done yet!”
But it could be 2 hours, or sometimes even a day later, and items are still left out.
And yes, I do appreciate all that he does!
But, still, I get annoyed when I find things left out.
Previously, I’ve publicly said that I have a GREAT relationship.
You may imagine that means we never get annoyed or defensive with each other.
But that ideal image of a relationship is a fantasy, not a reality.
As human beings, the reality of a GREAT relationship is that we do get annoyed and defensive.
We do have conflicts….BUT…. we fix them, and move forward to happiness.
I’m going to share with you how we do it, so that you can do it too.
It starts with a belief that win/win is the ONLY option.
We want to be sure we are BOTH happy with the results of any resolution.
Secondly, I choose to have an attitude of curiosity, rather than criticism.
So, in this particular case, I found the iron, ironing board, and spray bottle left out (and, yes, I’m grateful that he irons).
I thought to myself, “Hmm, this is a repeating problem, so I need to find a solution.
What can I do that won’t raise defensiveness in my husband?”
(Can you hear my inner curiosity, rather than a blameful attitude?)
I went to my husband, in a calm moment when he wasn’t feeling distracted or pressured, and said,
“I know ADD means your brain processes differently than mine. I want to know how to work with our two different processes, so that we’re both happy.”
He said, “Okay?” and looked at me questioningly.
“You know that I get frustrated when things get left out, and I know that you don’t do it to deliberately annoy me.
And, I also know that you don’t want me reminding you to put things away. So, what can I say, when I find things left out?”
He said, “Well first you need to find out whether or not I’m finished with that cycle. Because sometimes you want me to put things away, but I’m not finished yet.”
“Oh, so if I simply say ‘are you finished’ it will remind you, in a gentle, non-accusatory way, that some things are left out?”
He said, “Yes, that will work for me, and I can let you know if I’m not done yet, and then I’ll put the things away.”
Then he thought for a minute, gave me a mischievous smile, and said, “But I may still get defensive sometimes.”
And we both laughed.
Here is a two-part challenge for you to create happier relationships:
1 – be curious, not critical.
2 – look for a win/win solution.
To Your Relationship Mastery,
Angeline & Dixon
PS – If you don’t want to waste precious time on all those wrong turns and dead-ends, here’s a free gift – Discover the type of any man and for your guys, they can take the Man Quiz here.