Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Clean Compromise

I am not good at compromise. The Man is not good at compromise. We're having quite a week of loooong talks and trying to listen. Most of our learning this week has been about housework. I grew up with certain standards, and he grew up with a different--and equally effective--way of doing things. The problem for me is that I am exceedingly consistent with the chores and methods I do for any particular cleaning task. The Man likes to change things up, to go bottom-to-top on occasion, to make things fun. I have problems with the way he does things, and I'm having a very difficult time getting over myself. Our mothers and fathers told us we'd need to compromise about things, and I am starting to think this is one of those areas where I'm going to need to give in.

There is, however, a little voice in the back of my head telling me that he should learn to clean my way, to learn to put the dishes away bottom-to-top so that the dishes on the bottom don't get wet when the top rack gets pulled out, to learn to put a garbage can liner in the can immediately after taking the garbage out, to pick up things when dusting and not just dust around them. The little voice keeps telling me that I do things the way I do for a reason, a good reason, and that doing things a different way is inferior, ineffective, inefficient, and just not good. It isn't about making him change or training him or being in control either. I don't want to change him or train him: I want him to understand that the way I've been doing things is effective, efficient, and good. Perhaps if he understands it, then he might be willing to try a different way. Likewise, if he's willing to show me that his way of doing things is efficient and effective, I'm willing to try new things.

Do I listen to the little voice or do I give in and let him do things I'm not satisfied with? Should I simply do all those activities myself? Should I let him do them and then secretly re-do the chores?

How did you arrive at a compromise in your household? What things were you willing to compromise on, and what things did you put your foot down about?


cm0978 said...

I think you might just have to change your standards and decide if it really matters in the long run how a task is accomplished. What is the worst thing that would happen if the dishes get wet or if they are put away damp, for instance? Nothing terrible, really. I would counsel against doing all the activities yourself (a sure-fire resentment maker for both of you) or re-doing the chores secretly (another way to create bad feelings).

I, too, have been guilty of "why doesn't he see that my way is the completely right way of doing _____?" And I would get testy and condescending and righteous and smug about my way. Eventually these superiority feelings corrode. My Man is more easy-going than your Man and put up with it for a long time. I got to feeling disgusted with myself and decided to try to relax about life. And putting a bit of fun and spontaneity into life might be a good thing!

MissKris said...

Good grief, woman!!! Just be thankful he's willing to help!!!! Let him do it his way, you do it your way. Dear Hubby has helped me out and he may not vacuum like I do, but at least it's presentable. As you share the chores, cast a blind eye. It may not be perfectly done 'your' way, but at least it's done.

Said from years...and years...and years of sharing and experience, HA!!!!!!!!!!

cm0978 said...

On the other hand, to be perfectly honest, when stressed (because of real or imagined deadlines) I revert to the Drill Sergeant mode and bark out orders that I expect to be OBEYED WITHOUT QUESTION! Which my underlings either ignore or actually question. Sometimes I have a good response, but often it's JUST BECAUSE! and that I don't want to take time out to explain why my way of thinking is the best way. In other words, good luck with comprimising!

Dr. Weirdbeard said...

Agreed with the above. Here's your checklist:

1. It's done
2. It's presentable
3. I didn't have to do all of it
4. I didn't have to oversee the process

If it's not broken and the end goal was met, it's a victory.

I've lived in plenty of locations where I couldn't cross off #3.

MissKris said...

Another thought crossed my mind thru the day and I'm just now getting here to add it. Think: Is this MY house? HIS house? Or OUR house?

If you're going to have a happy life together, it should be 'ours'.