The Importance Of Asking

A strange thing happens sometime into a romantic relationship. After the infatuation. Beyond the honeymoon period.

One day your significant other will be upset with you. Because the telepathy no longer works.

The lawn needs mowing, dishes need doing, car needs filling, laundry needs tidying up, bath, homework, dinner – whatever it is, whatever your gender, whatever your role in the relationship – there is a critical task you've neglected. Chances are you didn't even notice it.

For some reason the time you took to be consciously kind when you were madly in love no longer exists. For some reason those idiosyncracies you so easily overlooked become irksome. It's like you've fallen in love with someone who no longer even speaks the same language.

Which is exactly what's happened.

You have.

There's an insidious temptation to think “Surely if they love me, I shouldn't have to ask them to do …”

Why not?

No-one has the same experience, history, or genetic make-up as you. They see the world through different eyes. If you don't believe me try this thought experiment: The next time you walk through a shopping centre together ask each other what you noticed was on sale. Chances are you and your partner saw entirely different bargains, even though you 'experienced' exactly the same shops.

So rather than building resentment because they haven't accomplished something you expected them to simply ask them to do it. Courteously, with respect.

Rather than tell yourself the story that they don't value you, give them a chance by voicing how you see the world.

How often?

As often as it needs for you stay deliriously in love with each other. After 21 years of marriage Lucy still has to ask me to do the 'obvious.' And I her.

If I'm honest, this can still be after an argument. We're still discovering each others blind spots, but our assumption is not that we don't love each other [any longer]. Our base assumption is that we do love and value each other, so it must be because of some other reason that we've neglected the obvious.

So, the next time you need something doing, simply ask.