Lion and I had a very nice five hour drive through some beautiful scenery. We found our campsite and got set up quickly. However, a tree blocked our satellite dish. Can’t be without tv when you’re roughing it. So we reconnected to the truck, disconnected the utilities and backed up fifteen feet. Success! All better, right? Nope. Then the “fun” began.
First we had a problem with water pressure that was a fairly easy fix. However, in fixing that problem we created another. A valve I had opened and closed somehow got reopened. It looked like it was open to me so I asked Lion. He said it was fine. It wasn’t. After I discovered the leak he yelled at me for not making sure the valve was closed. I yelled right back at him that I had asked him. He said I hadn’t used the correct terminology so he thought I meant a different valve. He tells me I never read manuals and I should know how things work without always relying on him. I should have just shut the damn valve when it looked wrong but I asked him for verification. Stupid Mrs. Lion.
During our setup and takedown and setup and first water problem, Lion suggested going out to eat. I was hot and sweaty and all I wanted was a shower and to stay in. I suggested a chef salad and Lion agreed. After the leak fiasco, he said he really wanted to go out to.eat. I still didn’t but I wasn’t exactly talking to him at that point so off we went. He had apologized for yelling but the damage was done. I needed some time. Later on I was very tired and now achy from all the running around so I was very responsive to Lion. Eventually we went to bed and sort of snuggled. I put off punishment day until today because neither of us was up to it last night.
Today I have renewed my commitment to decision making and being in charge. Yesterday I withdrew like I always do. Then I felt bad for doing it. Old habits die hard. I’m trying to be more decisive this morning. Lion seems to be on his best behavior so far, although he did give me some grief about my laptop not being up to date. I should read manuals and know how things work. Well, I should, but I have a lot on my plate. Perhaps I should add that to his list of assigned tasks.
Today will be the hottest day of our trip. Let’s hope the tempers don’t get hot as well.
Could I recommend a popular book on communication, Nonviolent Communication by Marshall Rosenberg? There are workbooks to go with it. Often recommended in couple’s counseling.
Instead of, “You didn’t make sure the valve was closed,” (I’m assuming that it was a statement similar to that) which was hurtful, it might have been, “I *feel* frustrated that the valve wasn’t closed.”
“You” statements can hurt the recipient. “I” statements along with the feeling that came up at the time are less accusatory and more informative.
In this case it could have lead to a discussion about whether or not you are actually supposed to be able to do x or do a through z. For instance, are you required to keep your laptop up to date and did you agree to do that? Expectations need to be clear. Otherwise, one partner doesn’t know what what’s expected of them.
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