You know those unpleasant marital tasks that one of you has to do—and the question is who’s going to do it? Yesterday, my husband and I had one of those chores, and he had agreed to do it. Then at the last minute, he backed out because he had a work conflict—a legitimate conflict, but one he would’ve known about, if he’d been paying attention.
I was very annoyed.
But instead of following his likely first instincts, my husband deployed some of the strategies that get recommended for such situations. He said, "I know, I really screwed up here." He said, "I know it would be a huge pain for you to have to deal with this now." He said, "What would happen if we just bailed? Can we do it another time? Can I show up late?" After some discussion, I said I’d do it, and later he sent me an e-mail that said, "Thank you, honey."
And you know what? It really did help.
* I talked to Kimberly Palmer at U.S. News & World Report about her " 5 Ways to Be Happy in a Recession ." Interesting topic!
* Interested in starting your own happiness project? If you’d like to take a look at my personal Resolutions Chart, for inspiration, just e-mail me at grubin, then the "at" sign, then gretchenrubin dot com. (Sorry about writing it in that roundabout way; I’m trying to thwart spammers.) Just write "Resolutions Chart" in the subject line.