I had a couple tell me about some issues they were having in their marriage, and I think the discussion of this is unbelievably important for every married couple, especially the young couples. This couple will be known as John and Jane, just to keep the real identities private.
Summary of the story: John had asked Jane on a Saturday morning, if he could play some video games. After witnessing John spend a whole day playing video games, Jane had enough and locked her husband out of the room, leaving the his pillow and blanket in the hallway so he could sleep on the couch. This caused a mass amount of issues leading up to a couple of questions; Should you always have to get even in a relationship? How do you let your spouse know you have an issue with something?
When talking to this couple there were a few different approaches to this whole ordeal. I am going to try to break it up into points of views and solutions.
HIS VIEW: I got up and asked my wife if it was OK to play some video games, she said yes. I then played video games until late into the night. I thought this was perfectly fine because she had said it was okay. When she locked me out I was not only confused, but frustrated, and kind of angry. From my eyes, I thought she was okay, because she had given me permission. The next day I wanted to get back at her.
HER VIEW: I told John he could play video games but I did not think he would waste the entire day playing video games. While he played video games, I cooked all the meals, I did all the household chores, and I had homework to do for school. I was mad that he wasted his whole day and most of the week doing something that doesn’t even matter. There were a lot more important things he could have been doing.
The issues: Jane wants help around the house, and wishes John would spend more time doing something productive. John just wants time to play his games, and wants Jane to mean what she says when she says it. John also does not want to be locked out when they disagree about something.
The first thing I asked both of them one at a time, “Jane, Do you love John” Yes “John, do you love Jane” Yes. If asked this question and your answer is anything different, you have bigger issues than I can even shake a stick at. The next question I asked is ” John, since you love your wife, would you be willing to put down your video games to help your her?” Yes, I think I can do that.”Jane, since you love your husband, would you be willing to let him play video games” Yes, as long as he can control and limit himself. This really should have solved the entire issue but there were a few more things I think needed to be addressed.
The communication I think was the biggest unspoken issue here. When John asked if he was cool to play video games, that should have been Janes’ time to lay out what she expects when she says yes. Lay out what you want to get done today, what you need help with, and find out how long your husband expects to play video games for. Also, I think John should have asked his wife if there was anything she needed or wanted help with. I ran this scenario by both of them and they both agreed that their Saturday would have gone extremely different if they had some sort of conversation like this before hand.
Communication is so unbelievably important in any relation ship and I cannot stress that enough. My wife is more of a night owl and I am more of an early bird. When I get home I am exhausted and I want to go to bed. The first thing I do when I get home, I make sure I ask my wife if she needs help with anything so we can get ready for bed early, and I am not leaving her with a bunch of chores to do after me. I also ask what all do you WANT to get done so we can both go to bed early tonight. 9 times out of 10 she has a long list that would take her majority of the night to finish; but 2 people could knock out all the chores fairly quick.
I think every couple should have a phrase that if said, should trigger immediate attention. My superwoman wife rarely ever asks for help, If I ever hear the phrase “Brayden, I really need your help”. I immediately know I need to stop everything I am doing and I need to help her. This phrase usually comes when she is starting to get frustrated. There is a point, that if someone gets to frustrated, the ability to communicate goes way down. I encourage every couple to figure out some kind of phrase that can let the other person know they need your attention.
Never Get Even
There are very few cases in which I think getting even is OK, and I still don’t think it is right to do. If you truly love your spouse, I think both parties should do their absolute best to forgive and forget. Why be married if you only want to pin your partner to the wall. Just my opinion there.
Do Not Lock Your Spouse Out
If you feel you are in bodily harm, lock the door. If you are just frustrated or mad, don’t lock your spouse out. That causes so many issues that are absolutely not needed. By the time you are married you should both be two grown-ass adults. TALK OUT YOUR PROBLEMS. If you are so mad or angry you can’t physically manage to talk things out then YOU leave, do not punish your spouse. John and Jane are living in a tiny apartment, they even expressed how hard it was to live with someone in such a confined area. I can understand this issue, sometimes when my wife and I are having a “tough talk”, sometimes I just need time in another room to take a few breaths, before I come back and finish the conversation.
I sat Jane and Joe down and this was what we came up with to help try to get them working together, communicating, and hopefully being a little happier.
Step 1.) Get a white board, I know, not another white board, Just trust me.
Step 2.) Split the board in 3 sections
Step 3.) In the far left section write in a permanent marker a daily list of what both parties want to accomplish every day. Format it with a square in front of each task. Every day if one of the parties come home, they can take a look at the board and start doing the tasks, then they can use the dry erase marker to to check the box.
Step 4.) In the other 2 blocks write out any big items(in dry erase) that are going to take time to work on( more than a day). If you have more time than expected at the end of the day, start on the more advanced list.
This method is also great for increasing productivity. If you implement this style of task tracking, and you start the list every day you get home before you participate in social media or T.V. time or video games etc. You will find that you will take care of things in a lot quicker time frame, and will squeeze in more of the important things in life.
The last question this couple asked was, do you guys fight about anything or are we just an awful couple? Never, Ever , EVER, think your relationship is doomed if you fight. You need to realize that being married is merging 2 completely different lifestyles. You need to be able to talk through problems and sometimes, you need someone else’s opinion. John and Jane realized that things weren’t so bad after talking through their issues with another couple.
Thank you for reading and feel free to comment your thoughts and opinions!