Saturday, 1 September 2012

Cleaning schedule to save our marriage

Okay, dramatic headline but it's not that scary I just thought it needed a better title than Saturday Cleaning Schedule :-)  I touched on this in the post before I went MIA from positing.

In fact it has been 3 weeks so why does this 'schedule' warrant a post.  Well The reason you shouldn't get angry post just reinforced the importance of discussing these things.

It might not surprise you that research on divorce have found that lack of communication and different expectations are the most common causes cited in divorces.  In my assertiveness we talk about expectations, standards and communication.

If you don't communicate you can't maintain a relationship.  Any meaningful relationship.

That's why people get angry about dishes being left in the sink, or dirty washing not been put in the machine or the toilet seat being left up.  This all sounds like I am getting at men, but honestly I'm not.  It's me in our relationship who does all these things! (well not the toilet seat, that is hubby & that does annoy me, especially now we have the soft close seat which takes forever to go down when your bursting!)

I am the one that doesn't say how I'm feeling.  I am the one that has expectations & a big (invisible) book of rules that my hubby has not been allowed to check out of my personal library of unhelpful thoughts.  I am the one that has the insecurities, the damaged relationships, the weird up bringing.  Yet it is my husband who is getting angry. Oh, ok.

The examples given in group were about being taken for granted, doing & taking on every one else's needs & about how eventually these behaviours affect your mental health.

Now as I was listening, I could see parts of this is my relationship with my family and work but it was the complete opposite in my home life.  Mr B was the one with all the stress & the unmet needs.  And right enough he was the one getting frustrated.

Terrified he may leave me over some dirty dishes or lack of hoovering (I know, this is my own insecurities about being lazy, again, I'm sure there is a whole other post to do with that & catastrophising)  I decided I would try & explain the learning from class & see if I could use my therapy to not only help our relationship but also help him.

We had a frank discussion about how we feel about the little things and that allowed us to lead on to the real meanings, the bigger picture.  Instead of trying to mind read or expecting each other to 'just know' we made it clear exactly what we felt and what we wanted from the other person.

It was hard at first because when your both so used to not saying what you actually mean (usually in an attempt not to upset the other person) it takes a bit of getting used to.  Both speaking your mind & listening to what is actually being said.

We spoke assertively (my key worker will be proud) starting with I feel angry because ...... not blaming each other but instead taking responsibility for our own feelings and we came to a compromise

A cleaning schedule

Yeah I know it's not ground breaking stuff, but then again neither are our problems.  We just needed an agreement so we were both on the same wave length.

So we clean on a saturday.  We get all our chores done.  We take turns at everything.  We do not criticise if it is not done the way you would do it and that's about it.

This way we now have the same expectations, we communicate our feelings & we work to our own standards.

So 3 weeks on how is it all going, I hear you ask.  Good for Mr B, he's managed to disappear with the dog or find some other job that wasn't discussed e.g. painting the bedroom (who can argue when he is doing something I couldn't do) and the flat is in a better state on a saturday.

Come Sunday ...... that's a different story.

Do you have any rules or agreements in your relationships? I'd love to hear from you.

Love Mrs Brown
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