“What’s on the agenda this weekend?” My husband asks.
I open up my planner. “Battle of the books in the early afternoon Saturday, then Jazmina’s Quinciniera in the eve. Then Sunday is Janina’s birthday party at the pool.”
“I’m not going to that,” He says.
“But…” I answer.
“I work all week and I don’t get a second of downtime!” He continues. “I’m not going!
“I don’t work?! Who do you think makes you dinner and does your laundry? Who organizes all this stuff, battle of the books, birthday parties?” I reply.
“Who pays the bills around here!” He retorts. “And how much tennis did you play yesterday?!”
And on and on we go… We have been fighting like this for years.
Doing the same thing over and over again…
Say it with me:
AND EXPECTING DIFFERENT RESULTS.
Each of us expecting the other one will “get” what it is we really need.
I’m never going to say, “Babe, of course, skip the silly swim party! I would LOVE to take our three kids to the swimming pool party without you on Sunday.”
He’s never going to say, “hell yes, I’d love to take you all swimming with a pool full of little kids on my Sunday afternoon after a long work week.”
So we both go round and round in a futile attempt to get the other to bend by throwing our weight around:
It never works.
After years and years of this pattern, we had a breakthrough the other day.
“Let’s not do that anymore,” he said.
“Yeah, it never works.” I agree.
“We’ve been doing it for years.” He hugs me.
“I have a better idea,” I say as I hug him back.
“What?” He asks.
“Let’s just tell each other what we need.” I offer. “Like, if you need a break over the weekend just say so. I’m not going to act like I don’t want you to come with me but I’m going to respect that it’s something you need.” I say.
“Yeah, I respect you for all you do and I know you respect me too.” He says. “It doesn’t feel good to argue like that.”
After twenty something years, we are FINALLY getting it.
We have a great partnership, me and Ron. But it’s not perfect. The problem we run up against is expecting the other to automatically understand what it is we need and give it to us.
When inevitably one of us fails to “get” what it is the other needs, we get mad and throwi out passive aggressive jabs about all the things we do that the other one *should* see and appreciate.
Can you relate?
How are you expecting other people to automatically know what you need? How are you punishing them for NOT behaving according to your script?
Stop expecting people to know. Stop punishing them when they don’t. And START asking for what you need.
That is what we are learning. Better late than never, right? And, let me tell you something, it already feels a whole lot better.