Relationship Tune-Up

IMG_5496His work hours as an insurance agent are irregular.  Sometimes, he gets home by six o’clock; other times it may be seven o’clock or later.  She never knows. (Cell phones haven’t been introduced yet.) Now and again, he walks through the door at one of the earlier times, while she is deep into one of her projects.  She feels prickles of annoyance crawl up her spine as she lays down what she is doing. Not the best introduction for a pleasant evening together.

Finally, they admit that this has gone on too long.  They decide together that it is time to move from the problem into the solution. This simple decision to focus on the solution allows  it to emerge unceremoniously into the space around them.

He offers to call her right before he leaves his last appointment.  Problem solved — just like that.  Having a few minutes to wind up what she is working on is all she needs to greet her spouse cheerfully rather than with resentment when he walks in the door at night.

This story reminds me of one of my husband’s favorite questions: “Do you have any plans for tonight (or weekend)?  I want to get my picture set.” A friendly heads-up a day or two or more before an event can save a lot of trouble and hurt feelings.

Are we “putting up with minor annoyances?  Let me remember these two simple tools for a relationship tune-up: Move the focus from the problem to the solution.  And, communicate clearly — keep my partner informed of my plans, delays, desires, etc.  

Written October 15, 2013, The Committed Relationship


1 comment to Relationship Tune-Up

  • Marilyn

    Good to remember. Making a suggestion for a change or asking for a suggestion for a change is a nicer way to put it than just making the complaint. I asked my staff not to make a complaint unless they had a suggestion for a positive change and it stopped a lot of grumbling in staff meeting and among the staff. Makes sense that it would help in relationships also.

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