Simple tips to help you feel recognized and respected on a daily basis.
“My husband never notices anything! When I put the vacuum cleaner in the middle of the living room, he doesn’t understand that it needs to be vacuumed, or when I put something broken on the table, that it should be fixed. And he doesn’t understand why I’m exasperated!” explains Valery, sure that she is right, and that she has a husband who is really not very attentive. And her husband Paul feels both ashamed of not being up to the task and unhappy about his frequent bouts of “refrigerator blindness,” as he humorously admits.
Indeed, some people have this ability to not notice a number of situations that are outside of their main purpose at the time. This is not ill will, but simply a mental closure to subtle messages. Others, on the contrary, tend to be able to pay attention to several processes at the same time: listening to two conversations, cooking and monitoring the children’s homework, etc. So what can we do to live together pleasantly without constantly arguing and, above all, where everyone feels recognized and respected?
Consistently watching over one another
First of all, we must think about taking into account, both individually and together, these differences in the way we function and integrate them into new strategies to improve our relationship as a couple. For example: together, on a regular basis, establish a list of things to do and determine priorities. Do a “schedule review” once a week to agree on the “things to do” list.
When talking to your spouse, you should remember to check that he or she is focused before making suggestions, possibly including even basic household duties. Let them know of any changes that have been made (house, hair style, etc.), stick Post-it notes in visible places with instructions that have been previously discussed. And for those who sometimes seem especially hard-wired not to notice new situations or changes around them, they will have to learn to look around, consult the list of tasks to be done and regularly ask their spouse if they need help, if there is something to do that they haven’t yet noticed. This loving attention at every moment of daily life, so difficult to carry out … isn’t that what the Lord meantwhen He told us to watch without respite?