Saturday, February 4, 2012

Didn't live up to the spirit of the resolution last night

I was a little annoyed with my husband last night - I cleaned the house - he watched movies.  I did the laundry, cleaned 2 bathrooms, dusted and vacuumed, he watched movies.

It was Friday - he was tired, guess what so was I.

By the time I got in bed I wasn't feeling it.  So I turned over - while he was finishing his last movie and  I went to sleep.  I did tell myself that I wouldn't deny him if he initiated but at the same time those old signals were out there and I knew it.  I was faced away - clearly on my side of the bed - which is essential my signal for 'not open for business'.

So I know that although I didn't actually shoot him down - I made it pretty clear that I wasn't really interested.  I am a little disappointed in myself - but at the same time - he watched me work and could have helped and I feel like I am not out of line.  Give and take right...


  1. I've been following your blog for a couple of weeks now and I love what you are doing. Please don't let your resolve be killed by one bad night. Just pick yourself up and keep going. It's obvious that you love your husband very much. Any wife that would do something like this is very special. Not to pry, but is his behavior last night normal? Does he normally help around the house? If not, have you discussed this with him? Has he noticed the change in your attitude? Sometimes guys can be pretty dense but maybe if he had a little help connecting the dots he might see how important it is for him to help out. Keep the faith. I will be watching with interest.

  2. I really appreciate your support and encouragement. I will say that my husband is really a pretty good guy - cleaning and mind reading are just not his strengths. I knew this when I married him. And yes - instead of getting annoyed I could have told him to get up and help. We are both at fault here.

    In general I do most of the house cleaning - he does most of the work outside the house. He takes care of our large yard, garden, dogs and chickens - I take care of the pool. But there is one difference here - for the most part he really loves that outside work. I on the other hand love a clean house, and I don't mind the cleaning - but I don't love it like he loves his tractor, chainsaw and chickens.

    He did clean the kitchen the next morning and I gave him a short list of things he could do for me as I cleaned the basement.

    I know I am never going to get the help I would like to get unless I ask for it. That is far from the perfect situation - but at the same time I recognize hoping he helps is just going to lead to more frustration - I need to give him a list of how he can help. Like I've said - 21 years and still learning.

  3. :) I think you would find that most guys, and girls for that matter, are pretty bad at the mind reading stuff. I know that I am. That's why communication is so important.

    I would suggest that instead of telling him "to get up and help" it might be better to make it a request. Ask him if he would mind helping you with XYZ. That way you are not telling him to do something and coming across as his mother, but you are his partner who needs some help. It makes men feel good to be needed by their wife. Then be sure to tell him how much you appreciate his help. I know, I know, he should be helping anyway, and he should be thanking you for all you do. Small steps. For a man, feeling needed is a huge motivator and when you ask for help, even if it is something that you could do yourself, he feels needed. (Really want to make him feel good? If he really loves his tractor, chainsaw and chickens...take an interest in those things. Talk to him about them, ask questions, maybe even occasionally go help him with his projects or chores. There might even be an opportunity there, when your alone with him, and there are no kids around.... I'm just saying. Another opportunity to light up his world)

    I also hope you realize that even after 50 or 60 years, you will and should be still learning. I have 31 years and trust me, if I didn't continually look for new and better ways to communicate, then things would get very stale very quickly and that is not the direction you want to be headed.

  4. Ha Ha - you got me - I will ask not order. And as for lighting up his world I think it would need to be the chickens and the kids that weren't around...

  5. I have to concur -- if you want good results out of your husband when it comes to doing stuff around the house, make SURE that when you ask him -- and you should always ASK him -- that you do so with "w" words: would and will, not "c" words: could and can.

    It's a small thing . . . but so is a snowflake, until you put a lot of them together, and then its an avalanche. But by changing this very small thing, you completely change the tone of your communications and interactions. For example:

    Mrs.Y: Can you take out the garbage?

    Mr. Y: (who subconsciously interprets it as a challenge to his ability, not to his willingness, and feels nagged) I'll get to it in a minute.

    But with W words, it goes more like this:

    Mrs. Y: Will you please take out the garbage when you have a moment?

    Mr. Y: (who not only doesn't feel challenged, but who suddenly feels as if some measure of responsibility and even respect by being asked) Let me knock that out real quick!

    It's a small thing. But it can make a big difference.

  6. I completely agree with Ian, it's all about the wording.

    I try very hard to make a habit of asking, "would you do me a favour and XYZ, please?" regardless of whom I'm speaking to... it's so tiny, but manners go a long way -- not saying you're not using your manners, Mrs Yes, just applying it to all human interaction overall. :)

    For the record, my hubby's also horrible at mind reading. Alternately, when my kids break a rule, I can look at them and say, "read my mind" with That Mom Tone, and they can spot on reply "Don't do X" -- X being whatever rule-breaking action they've just finished... haha!

  7. "but at the same time - he watched me work and could have helped and I feel like I am not out of line. Give and take right..."

    He wasn't seeing what you were seeing. I'm pretty sure. Generally, if you are cleaning up when the guy feels like the cleaning could wait to some ambiguous future time, then you are doing what you want to do, while he's doing what he wants to do, so all is good.

    While I don't recommend my wife's system (nagging, yelling, hyperbole, absurd accusations, yada yada),, she did eventually condition me so I can't be comfortable doing nothing when she does housework . . . in fact, if I notice housework needs to be done, I can't chill until someone does it. So we always do housework as a team now. Although I do get irritated when we're relaxing reading or watching TV, and she gets up and does sue laundry, then starts cleaning the floors or the bathrooms—because there's rarely a clear indication of why we have to suddenly start doing this *now*. Other than she just noticed one thing, which led to another thing . . . and sometimes I read that as her intentionally wanting to prevent me from relaxing, or enjoying something, which is just the same as thinking your husband saw the situation as him doing what he wanted while you sacrificed yourself for the good of the housework.

    As an aside, my wife will often ask me to do one item of housework while I'm in the middle of doing some other bit of housework, and then does it herself (with a little bit of attitude), because I don't stop putting up something to go take out the garbage right then (or whatever). So guys are smart to take it slowly in helping with the housework . . . because there generally doesn't seem to be any level at which the woman will see the division of labor as being equal. ;)

  8. A lot of good input here from both sides. Don't know that I can add much. I do think a list is a good thing because it allows him to take charge of the situation, prioritize the chores and schedule them. In effect you are saying, "Honey, I have a problem. will you help me solve it?" Now he isn't just doing housework or chores. He's solving something and doing it at his pace in his own way. How guylike is that? There is a strong possibility that after being needed so dearly, when he comes to you with his completed list (Gold star on my chart, please. Thank you.), he will likely ask, "Is there anything else I can do to help you out?" Seriously! I've even fallen into that trap. (Oh, thank you, you big strong man.) I told you before, we're easy.

    I do feel your frustration in his just vegging while you were working. I do have to say I understand KW's point. Sometimes my wife decides NOW is a good(read only)time to do this, and this leads to that which leads to the other. She has no problem with me not participating as it is usually personal pet projects she get wound up in. I tell her not to wear herself out, and 4 hours later she is still at it, nonstop. Didn't eat breakfasta, hasn't had lunch and is energy depleted. Forget about sex later. She is now in pain from a strain and totally worn out. No. I didn't tell her to save some energy for later, because the tacit message to me is "I am not even thinking about sex or any other intimacy later." Why does the Christmas tree have to come down the 26th after she is worn out from Christmas? I just stand back and let it happen. I always had a real tree. My dad would go out to some farm land and cut down a live tree. That is until my wife and I moved to Nashville for a while. At $10 a foot, I decided it was time to go artificial. But no real tree smell, no cutting tradition. There was a hidden upside though. She loves Christmas at lot so I extend the season for her by putting up the tree before Thanksgiving. She has plenty of time to decorate and enjoy it and I no longer have the misery of seeing an expensive cut live tree trashed after only two weeks. Kind of like the twin to king bed story but with a positive effect. I wasn't aware that buying the artifical tree would not just save me money but that it would also extend her favorite season. Got a twofer.