Last weekend was not a great weekend. I felt like my husband was grumpy being at home with us, the kids were edgy, and we generally were not have a good time as a family. Tim embarked on tackling the laundry – something he doesn’t do that often anymore (I just seem to get to it first). And by the late afternoon, there was a pile of my clothes on our bed, a basket of laundry on our bedroom floor, and 2 more in the hallway outside the kids rooms. OF course, none of this laundry was folded yet.
What I saw were tasks laid out for me all over the house. I had not wanted to do laundry that day, I had other tasks I wanted to tackle. But we can’t go to bed with laundry all over it so I began to fold my clothes that were on our bed. I became more and more resentful and angry as I was doing this (instead of what I had wanted to do). So when Tim came up, I said “you know, I generally don’t bring up the clothes from the laundry room until they are folded”. And he replied with “I thought it was a good thing to bring up the clothes from the basement”. I probably argued about this, but I don’t remember the exact words. I do know I felt that he expected me to be grateful he was doing laundry, which makes me think “oh yeah, yay you for doing laundry ONCE in 3 months”. The point is, I wasn’t saying what I was really annoyed about: feeling forced to engage in a task I did not want to do at that time.
The weekend continued on and Sunday night we were bickering and I was wondering why it was so hard just be “happy at home”. I asked Tim why he was so grumpy all weekend and he replied that he felt constantly criticized, like I was judging everything he was doing. I didn’t feel like I had been doing that. But I thought about the things I had said to him and could see how they could have been interpreted.
Finally, I asked him “were you expecting me to fold all of that laundry?” and he said “of course not, I was just bringing it upstairs to fold later myself”. Arghh….Tim and I are considered great communicators by our colleagues, friends, and most family, so why can’t we communicate better with each other?
I was angry because I felt he was giving me work to do without asking about my agenda and so I made passive aggressive comments, which he viewed as criticism which then made him grumpy and not so much fun to be around.
Why couldn’t I have said “thanks for bringing those clothes up, I really don’t have time to fold them today”. To which he would have replied “I wasn’t expecting you to fold them”. And all would have been well. But I assumed he was bringing it up for me, and he assumed I was criticizing the way he does laundry.
Sigh….marriage is a constant work in progress.