Sometimes it’s about compromise. Sometimes it’s about realizing what your partner appreciates vs. what you appreciate.

My things-to-get-done-around-the-house-list grew as I was trying to be productive after taking a day off work and I noticed the little bits of satisfaction I was getting by checking things off. And then the little voice inside my head started a much-needed dialogue:

“Michael is going to come home to such a nice clean house after a long day of work, isn’t that so nice!”

“I would love that so much if my partner did these things for me. I love the little things and it would mean he noticed the things I appreciate!”

“Michael literally could not care less if there were mounds of garbage on the floor. Do not be upset when he comes home and doesn’t notice you cleaned the cobwebs off the outside stairs or that you organized all the baking onto one tray to clear the counter.”

Wow, brain! You just made a butt load of sense and now I’m really torn on what to do…

I think without even realizing it we get so hyped up on busying ourselves and creating expectations that we don’t really stop and think about what it all means. Take a moment to recognize that your partner’s needs and wants could be much much different from yours. It’s not a bad thing! And the fun part is, if you do it right, it works both ways!

Michael couldn’t care less about fresh, clean bedding. But he would care about switching our winter comforter to his nice light summer one. I die a little inside from happiness when I come home to a spotless kitchen, but I know Michael would really appreciate if instead, I packed him a lunch for work tomorrow.

I’m not saying you can’t do the things that make you feel happy and productive, but don’t do them for praise or recognition when you’re the only one with the expectation. Instead of setting yourself up for disappointment when all you’re looking for is a little notice, then maybe it’s time to change the way you think. First of all, do things for a cause, not for applause.  Second of all, do things to benefit your relationship and both of your well-beings. By doing things that would be appreciated by the other partner, you’re strengthening your connection and it becomes less about the recognition and more about building your relationship.

Listen, I’m no expert, and I’m certainly not perfect ~nor is my relationship. But it’s the little moments and realizations lately that have allowed me to open different pieces of my mind and find more of myself to offer to my partner and my relationships in general. Understanding yourself and the way you think is the first step to a) being able to do the same with your partner and b) working on your mental health and happiness.

It may seem obvious to you what your partner appreciates or enjoys, but an open ended conversation never hurt anybody! Because not only are you learning about them… But they’re learning about you! And maybe, more often than not, the dishes will start getting done without you asking. It is called a partnership for a reason… and it takes two to tango!