Basically I think I’m pretty darn close to perfect (although I can’t seem to get anyone to agree with me on this – especially not Amanda). However, even I will admit that I can’t seem to close the cabinet doors in the kitchen. Putting down the toilet seat – no problem. But closing kitchen cabinets seems to be a skill that I missed somewhere along the road. And boy does that tick off my wife!
It’s often not the big stuff that really gets Amanda really angry with me. I’d put cabinet door closing in the “not really too big” category.
Believe it or not, this topic actually came up for discussion at one of our 48 Hour Relationship Retreats a few years back. I remember the conversation because we were relaxed and we started having fun with the topic. We both tried to “analyze” my childhood to see what traumatic event had happened to put a mental block on cabinet door closing. We also “analyzed” why Amanda had such a visceral reaction that bordered on filing for immediate divorce every time she saw a cabinet door open.
While we haven’t yet solved our particular psychoses, we have moved on – for the most part.
So, in a fit of introspection, I’m taking a couple of minutes tonight with a Leinenkugel’s Sunset Wheat beer to reflect on what I learned. Here’s what I got – do with it as you wish:
- Inject laughter. It’s hard to be ticked off while laughing
- Put the problem out there for BOTH of you to work on together. When Amanda and I both find ourselves working together against a common goal (in this case the great cabinet kerfluffle) it’s easier for us to find solutions than working on one another’s faults. “We vs. it” is easier than “you vs. me.”
- It’s often better for us to bring up these issues while relaxed and to bring the issue up in a non-threatening, sharing manner. I’d recommend only having these discussions with a tropical drink in one’s hand while on the beach in Hawaii but that might not be too practical.
- It’s important to talk about how the situation affects you – rather than pointing blame at the other person. It was easier for me to chat about the problem of the cabinets when it didn’t start out as a pointed attack on me like “you’re so lazy because . . . “
- If Amanda and I come into a discussion with a genuine desire to work on the problem, it’s usually quite easy for the two of us to work out a compromise.
Of course, it’s easier said that done in most cases. When the cabinet doors have been left open for the 345th time that day, it’s hard for Amanda to just “put it aside” for a better time. Yelling does sometimes seem like a better option!
Well, I’m done with my beer so I’ll stop here. I’m sure there are probably more things we learned from the incredible toll that the cabinet door positioning puts on our marriage, but I got nothing else right now.
(BTW, we are still looking for that incredibly poignant/interesting/amusing way to finish all of our blog posts, so feel free to send us your suggestions.)