Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Relationship stuff

One of the things that has surprised me about having a baby is how it's affected my relationship with M. We have always been rock solid, from the day the light dawned on his marble head. (I was chasing him for about a year before he finally clued in). We communicate really well, and have never had a fight.

We went through pre-Cana before we got married, one of our assignments was to ask our parents for three things that they had learned through their years of marriage that could help us start ours off on the right foot.

My mom is one of the wisest people I know. We have put her suggestions into practice, and I think that they have been instrumental in keeping our relations as cordial and happy as they are. In fact, I try and practice them in the rest of my life as well.

First, never assume that anything your spouse does is based on ill intention. If something is said or done that hurts you, before getting all up in arms and angry about it, think about other ways in which the words/act could have been intended that were not acrimonious.

Second, praise and notice can make a world of difference. Paying attention to the little things, like the bathroom being cleaned, the lawn being mowed, the accounts taken care of, and saying a simple thank you to show appreciation makes the effort put in seem much more worthwhile.

Third - If you do something wrong, admit it and apologize. Things are a lot more likely to escalate if you get defensive, or try and cover up whatever you've done.

Anyway, both M and I have tried as much as we can to practice these 'rules'. But I had been feeling for the past month or two that we were getting off track. I felt like I was doing way more than my fair share around here, and that M was forgetting rule number two. I don't mind so much doing most of the cleaning and cooking if I think my effort is being noticed, but when I feel like all the work I'm doing is making zero impression it gets harder and harder to be okay with.

I had a bit of a meltdown this past weekend - during Ant's nap, M was upstairs adding a new account in Quicken and copying and pasting transactions into it. I, meanwhile, was feeding Ant, putting him down, cleaning the dishes from last night and his breakfast, putting the laundry in the washing machine... when M finally came down I was not a happy camper, and he immediately picked up on it. I told him that I was a little bit mad that I'd been doing all this stuff while he was basically just faffing. He said I could have asked him for help - my retort was "I shouldn't HAVE to ask!"

He said that was a very good point. And that I wasn't to do any cleaning for at least two weeks. He actually has followed through so far. I feel guilty when I'm sitting around doing nothing while he's cleaning, so I have been doing things, but it's meant that I actually got to clean the kitchen floor which has been needing it despearatly, instead of doing yet another set of dishes.


Eva said...

How sweet of M to give you two weeks "off" of cleaning. I think it's so much harder not to fight about housework etc. after you have a kid (or two) because there's just so much more work, and so much less free time. I'm glad you two are working through it.

MamaMint said...

Been there many times.
I can't say that there's any magic to make it all better.
Just hang in there.
I like your mom's advice. Very sound. :-)

Em said...

Your mother sounds very wise, indeed!
Two weeks off of dish duty sounds heavenly!