Thursday, June 12, 2008

I Just Wanted the Dishwasher Loaded the Right Way (by Gayle)

So many recurring problems in relationships boil down to our need to be right. It’s a universal problem with or without a significant age gap. I think the age difference just gives us another justification for our position. Statements such as “You don’t have as much experience as I” or “times have changed and you are stuck in the past” come to mind.

I would love to tell you it was my time spent as a counselor that taught me how to work with and resolve these issues, but I can't. Most of what I learned was from the time I spent in counseling (both with and without Ron). I wish I’d learned some of the lessons sooner, but I’m grateful to have learned them at all.

I remember early in the relationship arguing with Ron about cleaning the house. I wanted more help. He began stepping up and making it happen, but I didn't like the way he loaded the dishwasher. I don’t even remember what I thought he was doing wrong. I just remember complaining in a very condescending way and of course, he got angry. I didn’t think he was right (or had a right) to be angry. I thought he just needed to follow my directions. After all, he was a man so I knew more about washing dishes than he did!

I was getting what I wanted, but I wasn't happy because I didn’t get it exactly as I wanted it. Every time I saw how he loaded the dishes it really teed me off. What was his problem? I was asking for something simple. “If you are going to help out and do the dishes, then do them the right way. After all, if you will just let me show you exactly what I want it won’t take you any longer. What’s the big deal?”

Dishes are just dishes. It’s not usually a life or death situation but committed relationships have ended over smaller things. It would be more clear cut in a real matter of life and death - wouldn't it? Ponder that for a bit - there's more on this subject tomorrow.

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