“I hate it,” and I immediately went back upstairs, in tears.
After five and a half years, my husband Adam and I were finally starting to finish the basement. And that is all I could say when he and I went downstairs after one of the workers left.
We had hired someone to tape and mud the drywall and for whatever reason the contractor didn’t clearly communicate to the worker that we wanted minimal texture on the walls. I was in shock over how thick the texture was, and I could not believe what my basement now looked like.
Although Adam wasn’t the one to spray large gobs of plaster everywhere, he viewed the basement project as his responsibility and took my comment personally.
So after I collected myself upstairs for a second, we spent the next half hour discussing a whole range of issues that were set off by the basement situation. Like how each of he didn’t feel appreciated and supported during the stressful time of re-modeling and finishing our basement—and to tack on to the emotions of it all, I was pregnant.
I admitted that while it was true, I did hate the texture, my response was exaggerated and a bit too “all is lost.” I realized that I haven’t always shown him my gratitude for devoting so much time and energy to a project so important to me.
Adam, in turn, agreed that my comments shouldn’t have been taken personally and set out to call the contractor and get the mistake fixed (it was!).
Thankfully it doesn’t always take a larger situation to shake us up and start communicating well. But at that point in our day, week and lives, it was just what we needed to take a moment to sit down and get to the heart of the matter.
While the conversation was definitely frustrating at first, as we tried to understand what the other was really trying to say, by the end we had a greater love and appreciation for the other, and more ideas of what we each needed to feel supported in our respected areas. I wouldn’t say I look forward to conflict with my husband, but I’m always so grateful that our conflicts end peacefully and lovingly, drawing us both closer together.
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