- S: “I have been thinking about maybe going away for a three day weekend”
- L: “Me too! Where should we go”?
- S: “Remember when we stayed at the cabin? That is still one of my favorite vacations we have taken. It was so relaxing”.
- L: “But it took so long to get there, and then the unpacking”
- S: “Maybe we could find a place that is closer, and more equipped, like that provides the kitchen stuff and bedding”.
- L: “That reminds me, did you pick up the dry cleaning”?
It is completely routine for couples to say and ask random things about the chores and business of the running of a house and life in the middle of otherwise lovely conversations. You would think that none of us are bothered or stressed at all to think about our daily responsibilities and obligations if you noted the frequency that chores we need to take care gets brought up throughout the time we spend in our living rooms, bedrooms, kitchens and baths. And on the phone when we have called in theory to touch base with our sweeties during the day.
Now the truth is that it makes total sense because most of us also don’t regulate when we chose to think about what. But we should! I could write something about this, but will save that for another time.
For now though, let me say this. Business is business. Talking about money, chores, household responsibilities and projects…they all need to get talked about, but are frequently associated with at least some anxiety or stress. We should not make it a habit to sprinkle anxiety and stress throughout our conversations with our sweetie during the day!
Couple should have quick business meetings. Some couples need to do this for a few minutes twice a day and then maybe a longer meeting once a week. Some folks need fewer. People with kids need more. But no business should be discussed unless you have asked your partner if they are up for a little business meeting. If they say no, then ask if you can have one later that day, or that week, depending on the issue and urgency. But get their agreement. Why? Because you want to both feel up to it. You want to both be listening. You want to both have your calendars or to-do lists out so you aren’t arguing later about who did or didn’t say what or listen to who.
This is a radically better way to get your business with each other done, but way more importantly, it is a way to make sure your time together is otherwise free of the imposition of the job of running our lives. Certainly coupledom is in part a structure that allows us to build and manage our homes and lives together, but most of us get together with each other because we love each other and prefer to spend our time with our sweeties above all others. Protect that time.
Smith is an analytically oriented psychotherapist with 25 years in practice. She is additionally the Founder/Director of Full Living: A Psychotherapy Practice, which specializes in matching clients with seasoned clinicians in the Greater Philadelphia Area.
If you are interested in therapy and live in Philadelphia or the Greater Philadelphia Area, please let Full Living: A Psychotherapy Practice match you with a skilled, experienced psychotherapist based on your needs and issues as well as your and own therapists' personalities and styles. All of our therapists are available for telehealth conferencing by phone or video in response to our current need for social distancing.