Welcome back Reader,
Have you ever felt like you were talking to thin air when dealing with your partner? You make a benign request like “would you mind fixing the screen door this weekend so we can open up the family room?”
It’s the third request, your mate has promised to do it for weeks in a row, gets caught up in other projects, says “oops!”, and now it’s 90 degrees out and you’re literally and figuratively frying. You repeat patiently, you cajole, you bargain, you beg, you nag, you ask what the problem is, and he reassures you there is none, and with a sheepish smile promises he’ll get to it this weekend. This may seem like making a mountain out of a mole hill, but cumulatively it becomes a kind of cancer in relationships. I’ve seen this scenario play out more than once in couples therapy sessions just this week. It erodes trust related to a sense of dependability, and clearly undermines faith in supposed agreements. (Did you say yes to appease me? Are you annoyed about the request and acting out? Are you mad about something else? Or do you just have a brain tumor?) I’ve found that more often wives hold The List, and husbands “agree”. The Requestor may consider the possibility that their “Honey Do List” has become oppressive. The “Don’t Worry, I’ll Get To It” Spouse may want to rethink the honesty of their promises. It’s always a kinder thing to graciously decline. No one will get killed.