The damn dishes.
Those silly little things sometimes cause such haste in our home.
"Why are they in the sink?
Why can't they be put in the dishwasher?
Why is the dishwasher FULL AGAIN?
Who's going to empty it?
I guess ME.
Why do I do everything around here?"
That's the narrative that plays in both my husband's and my head on the REGULAR.
And after a long day,
When our emotional bank account is overdrawn,
We sometimes feel like breaking dishes instead of putting them away.
Why the heck does that happen?
We both love each other,
The dishes are SO TRIVIAL.
Why are we scrapping about dishes?
Why do you scrap it out with your loved one over first world problems?
Why sometimes don't we fight F.A.I.R?
Here's what I believe:
1. We aren't Focused on each other.
How many times have we been distracted in our interactions with the people we love?
The phone is buzzing, or worse, we are on social media or taking calls, or answering emails when talking to our loved ones.
We are thinking about the jerk at work at made us angry, the deadline that's due,
Or answering the screaming toddler who wants food, and attention, and to play monster trucks with, all at the same time.
We've lost the attention on each other.
We've lost the connection that once made the relationship so strong.
So we have to find a way to minimize distractions.
One of the number one reasons why we fight or scrap it out in the first place is because we aren't truly listening.
Instead of scrapping it out, scrap the phone, ignore the dishes, and make the the time to be engaged with each other.
My husband and I go on date days and trips together, but we also make it point to turn off electronics by 9pm and spend time together each evening before bed.
2. This leads to point number two of not fighting fair. We make Assumptions and it sucks!
"You ALWAYS focus on work more than our family.
You NEVER pick up after yourself around the house.
You ALWAYS do what you want to do anyway."
Those be fighting words, people!
The always, and the nevers, and the generalizations are not only rude, but are a quick way to instantly tick someone off,
Because you're lumping them into a category of "everybody else," or the rest of the world.
And that's not them.
They aren't everybody,
They are YOUR somebody.
My husband is my most important somebody!
When the dishes are left in the sink after a long day, I can't assume it's because my husband didn't want to do them.
It is most likely because he had a crazy day too, or he wasn't feeling well, or it just wasn't his top priority.
We need to start asking supportive questions like, "How was your day today?" Instead of ripping on each other about the trivial items.
Even if it does drive you INSANE.
Is it really about the dishes, or is it something deeper?
So how do we communicate better?
How do we fight fair?
3. Not only should we avoid always and never, but also saying "YOU" in tense discussions.
We should use I messaging more.
You points the finger, and immediately places the other person on the defensive.
"Why did YOU leave the dishes in the sink?"
Is going to get a much different reaction from my husband than,
"I feel really overwhelmed when I come home from a crazy day a work and I see dishes in the sink."
Empathy and emotions always win vs pointing the finger and saying YOU.
4. Lastly, we have to Remove past experiences and labels.
It not about keeping tabs or marks on the scorecard,
Everyday is a clean slate.
A day to learn more about each other, to grow together, and to figure things out... together.
Maybe you don't know what the right next step is, but how can you take the right next step TOGETHER?
I'm not saying that you will never disagree, lose your temper, get upset, hurt each other, or make mistakes.
That's being human.
And I'm not saying that everything is forgive-able.
There are situations where divorce, separation, dis-engagement, and estrangement ARE the right answer.
But before it gets to that place,
1. Focus on each other.
2. Forget Assumptions.
3. Use I messaging
4. Remove past experience and labels.
Because in the end, that's your integrity that you have to go to sleep with every night.
It's your relationship, and you get to define it, but kindness and empathy always wins.
*Liked what you read? Dive a little deeper with my book: Break the Mould: Becoming Fit, Fearless, and Fierce in the Life You Deserve HERE!*