Recently, in a discussion about dishwasher loading, one client said her dishwasher came with a map, with the numbers for where to place dinner forks versus salad forks, soup spoons versus teaspoons, eight-ounce glasses versus coffee mugs. She and her spouse regularly re-arrange the dishes after the other is done.
I’m happy when the stuff gets into the dishwasher, period.
Every couple has to figure out how they’re going to run things, and how much energy they want to put in having things go their preferred way.
Life is too short to go bananas about where to keep the coffee filters.
5. Being Told What to Do
This one’s easy.
If your spouse tells you what to do, you can choose to do it — or not. Why freak out?
Yeah, I know, being “managed” is annoying and intrusive and it’s easy to get caught up in the idea that your spouse thinks you’re too stupid or incompetent to do things on your own. You probably aren’t.
It’s wise not to put your self-esteem in the hands of somebody who’s simply anxious when not in control.
6. Who Made a Face, Rolled Their Eyes, or Used an Unacceptable Tone
Despite all the buzz about how eye-rolling is a clear predictor of divorce, I don’t know anyone who doesn’t do it occasionally. Even so, I agree that it’s no heartwarming move.
My suggestion is this:
Stop rolling your eyes, groaning, sighing, snorting, grimacing or doing any other obnoxious, judgmental and dismissive things that you do when your partner is talking. He or she will be deeply appreciative.
However, until the two of you clean up your act on this one, you’re going to have to live with some crappy behavior. There are worse things in life.
Bad enough that we’re not always kind and respectful to our loved ones. Why spend time and energy protesting that you can’t speak, think, finish a sentence, or keep your cool when your spouse groans or sighs or uses an unpleasant tone.
Believe me, you can.
I promise you’ll be far better off once you stop letting your partner’s bad behavior throw you off-course.
7. Being Turned Down For Sex
Hoping for a yes, and you got a no?
Bummer. It happens to all of us.
Badgering, whining, pouting, threatening, claiming something awful will befall one of your body parts — none of these things are in the least bit sexy.
When turned down here are your options: you can ask again, only this time put on the charm. Be more seductive or more inviting and see how it goes. If it’s not gonna happen, I suggest you go read.
There’s always tomorrow.
8. Expecting Things to Be Fair
I’m sure this isn’t the first time someone told you life isn’t fair. Neither is marriage.
The idea that things should be 50–50, that couples need to compromise, that they need to meet each other halfway, well… this sounds good in theory, but in my experience, that’s not how things play out.
Relationships are messy. Sometimes things end up being 90-10 or 40-60. Sometimes we get the short end of the stick.
Tolerating unfairness is part of growing up. Stamping your feet in opposition is a quick trip back to childhood, where you had a complete meltdown because your sister got the bigger and prettier cupcake.
9. Having to Ask
Asking is part of the human job description. When we want something, it’s our job to ask for it.
I’ve heard people say that asking somehow demeans the thing they ultimately get, as if a mind-reading spouse is a more loyal or loving spouse as if getting what they want without having to ask means their spouse really “gets” who they are.
Why turn to ask and to receive a test? The kiss I get when I’ve asked is as sweet as the one given to me spontaneously.