You’re overwhelmed. You need help. And, of course, it seems only fair and right and loving that the person you married should provide that help. But it doesn’t happen.
You invited both families to a holiday dinner, but nothing went right in the kitchen, and nothing’s set up yet in the dining room. You holler for a helping hand and get told that your loving mate is taking care of something else.
Or just because you go to work full-time and your partner works part-time, you ask for help picking up your dry cleaning or showing up for your daughter’s baseball game. Sorry, no can do, you hear.
You’re saving for retirement. Your spouse is living for the moment. You’re on your own in the savings department.
Or you’re home all day with an infant and a toddler, and all you long for is to hand them off as your spouse comes through the door at the end of the day. After a long, hard day, all your spouse wants is for you to pour the two of you some wine while you listen to what the crazies at work did today.
How do you fix this? Well, one way is to imagine your spouse died last night. It’s an awful thing to imagine, even worse to live through, but it will reveal something important. You are strong. You are resourceful. And you have other options. Just do what you would do to handle the problem if you were on your own.
I can promise you that the first thing you’ll do is let go of being perfect. It really was always impossible, but losing a spouse will make it so clear that you will never again forget.
Company coming? Not ready? Task the first family member through the door with helping. Or call a friend to come help. Or take some really big shortcuts, like paper plates, omitting a course, or stacking the plates at the end of the table with piles of silverware. Or call all of them and tell them dinner’s off and you’re all meeting at the local Chinese buffet restaurant.
Going nuts with childcare just as your spouse arrives home? Hire a babysitter to watch them for that last hour before you two will be together again. Gather your wits. Take a warm bath. Prepare dinner in peace. Whatever you need. Can’t afford a babysitter? Swap with a neighbor in your same position. You take those kids for the hour when he wants to take an online writing class in exchange and you send your kids to him for that golden hour.
Can’t agree on retirement savings? Living in the moment might be just right for your mate (who knows how long they’ll live?) and even fun for you. But it doesn’t stop you from amassing the very same retirement savings you would have without this love in your life.
Unable to free up any time for chores because of your long commute? Find a job closer to home. Move closer to work. Telecommute.
Unable to risk any failure at work or in your business because you wouldn’t be able to pay the mortgage? Find a less expensive house instead of demanding your spouse earn more.
Do the things you would so cleverly do if you had no option of insisting your wife or husband take the extra burden off your shoulders. You might find, as I did, that having an under-burdened spouse is a marvelous thing when you have reduced your own overwhelm.