Today has been an exercise in productive communication and goal-setting.
Once the irrational shouting and jumping to conclusions and feeling sorry for myself was all done, that is.
This morning’s festivities started out with my wife having a conversation with me about one of my interests, and me, like a dolt, didn’t give her my undivided attention. To be fair, both of us are guilty of this at various times – usually we’re competing with the internet for one another’s attention, and that was the case this morning. I happened to scroll past a political cartoon that caused me to laugh out loud, and this understandably frustrated my wife – she’d been having a discussion with me about one of my interests and I very rudely let my attention fall away from her onto something that was relatively trivial. So she very calmly told me that I’d hurt her a little by doing this, and that was my brain’s cue to immediately pile on. I was immediately convinced that I’d utterly pissed her off, that she was exasperated with me, that she was at the end of her rope with putting up with my crap, and then I listened to what she had to say about not taking it personally, not building it up to more than just a piece of information, and I struggled (successfully!) to fight back the irrational thoughts. And then I paid it no further mind.
We moved on to the events of the day. We got a little upside-down in our budget this pay period thanks to some extraneous expenses that we really didn’t have to purchase and some necessary expenses that we forgot to budget for, and so we spent a while disseminating all that we had to do versus what could be put off until we had the money again at the end of the week. This led to a heated conversation about how Sundays tend to be very busy for my wife, since a lot of the chores that have to be done – grocery shopping, laundry, and this week a couple of projects that are competing for oven time – tend to fall on her to do. I vented my frustration that I didn’t feel it was fair that her day be so hectic, when she should be taking it easy on a day off; she countered with “when else am I going to get this stuff done?” It became a bit of a shouting match on both sides.
And then I stopped and asked her “what would be more stressful for you, spreading out your Sunday chores across the week, or having more time for you during the week and having a busy Sunday?” It was the first time that I’d tried to see things from her point of view and not mine, and it changed the conversation entirely. From that point we were civil, we were forthcoming, and we were rational. We decided that she’d start splitting her Sunday chores throughout the week, with Sunday being a fallback for days that get too hectic otherwise, and that I would help where I could.
We also discussed future plans for the laptops – we’re upgrading a drive on each one with the tax return – and so further conversation about the laptops added an ongoing project to her evenings, one I’ll help with where I can.
Not proud of how the conversation and day started, but I am proud of how it ended. We’re both feeling much better now and hope it stays that way for the rest of the night.