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Experiment to improve communication in marriage

(64 Posts)
ThemeNights Mon 01-Jul-13 22:32:56

I am a regular but have NC'd for this thread, my first in relationships.

So, things are not all rosy in the Nights household. Married 8 years, one DC aged 5, general low level narkiness with each other occasionally blowing up into big row. We love each other but can't break out of the cycle of competitive tiredness, one-upmanship etc. I have recently uttered, with deadly seriousness "I can't live like this." So things have to improve!

Borrowing an idea from a friend of a friend, I have proposed something new. Each night after dinner and DC is in bed, we work together on a particular theme of family life. E.g. Monday - family finances and admin; Tuesday - housework/DIY; Wednesday - shopping lists etc.

One night is set aside for fun when we don't do any jobs but do something together, even if it is slumping in front of a film on TV.

DH has been dismissive, sarky, reluctant, protesting but with some cajoling from me, we made a start tonight. It was a moderate success, we got some stuff done and we had a civil conversation smile

I thought I would start a thread to record progress / success / failure. And to see if anyone has done something similar?

ThemeNights Wed 17-Jul-13 16:04:05

DD and DH were coming home from DD's sports club, after which they visited a friend.

It was agreed that I would cook dinner, the meat was in the oven but I hadn't put the veg or potatoes on as I didn't know exactly when they would be home, and they don't take that long.

I called him at lunch time, ended up in a shouting match, obviously it's not just about dinner, that was just a trigger last night sad

ThemeNights Wed 17-Jul-13 16:09:25

DH is a SAHP, I am WOHP, I don't think it's unfair for him to do more domestic stuff, but I think we disagree whether I pull my weight or not. Hence the theme nights idea.

BadLad Wed 17-Jul-13 16:13:27

It still seems to me that you are missing the point.

Exactly who is in the right with the divvying up of the housework is not the issue. The problem is that when you don't agree, you end up having a row and not speaking.

So you have decided to make sure that the housework gets done, so you won't row about it any more.

But the problem of speaking unpleasantly still remains, and doing the housework doesn't solve that. Next time there is a disagreement, it will probably still result in an argument.

ThemeNights Wed 17-Jul-13 16:28:41

Fair enough BadLad, but what's the answer? How does one get away for a break when there's a 5 yo in the house?

BadLad Wed 17-Jul-13 16:53:09

I'm not really one for rowing, so I think I'd just walk away with an "I'll speak to you when you've calmed down" if someone got angry with me for forgetting to cook peas with dinner.

But I honestly don't think I could live with someone who got angry about something as trivial as yet. Of course, that's easier to say when you don't have kids.

I'm afraid I suppose this is unconstructive criticism, as I am finding fault without offering any solution, but I do agree with the poster who said

Would it not help to cut to the chase & talk about why you are angry/narky with each other?

As long as that is unexamined rows are always going to erupt.

Scheduling the chores seems to me to be ignoring the elephant in the room.

You sound very commited and determined to give your relationship a go. I hope happiness awaits.

CailinDana Wed 17-Jul-13 20:17:11

How happy are you both with your current roles (sahp/wohp)?

ThemeNights Wed 17-Jul-13 22:07:52

Re roles: I'm happy, he's happy but frustrated o think, especially as DD gets older and less intense to look after.

It would be difficult but not impossible for him to work, he also supports older, semi-dependent relations, and has a raft of voluntary work, mainly around DDs school.

CailinDana Thu 18-Jul-13 06:05:24

Could his frustration be part of the communication problem?

ThemeNights Thu 18-Jul-13 09:22:09

Cailin, he doesn't express any particular desire to work again in the near future, he gets fed up with the inevitable drudgery of SAHP-hood and I could I am sure do more to alleviate that, hence this experiment to have a bit of structure around the chores/household management.

Things not much better this morning, we were both out last night so didn't talk and I had an early start for a meeting a hour away.

CailinDana Thu 18-Jul-13 14:16:33

Would it be possible for you both to sit down and honestly tell each other how you are feeling without the other one interrupting? It seems to me that you've focused on practical matters when the real problem is to do with how you view and feel about each other.

ThemeNights Thu 18-Jul-13 18:04:25

We have a fairly poor track record of being able to do this. Hence my suggestion of counselling, having a referee in the room. DH is not keen to say the least...

Wuldric Thu 18-Jul-13 18:11:10

May I make a suggestion? It really helps to keep the temperature down, I've found.

You need clear division of labour. If one person cooks, the other washes up. One person does all the laundry. One person does all the shopping. One person is responsible for paying the bills, sorting out finance and keeping the spreadsheets. One person is responsible for putting the bins out. One person is responsible for keeping x, y, z room tidy. One person is responsible for cleaning windows.

I know it sounds a bit clinical but it really defuses stuff.

CailinDana Thu 18-Jul-13 19:24:38

Why is your DH not keen?

ThemeNights Mon 22-Jul-13 20:36:56

Sorry Cailin, haven't come back to this thread for a while. He doesn't really discuss it.

He doesn't think we have a problem communicating, I think he finds a row cathartic rather than destructive. He's been through a lot in his life without counselling and so doesn't see the need.

Well, as usual we go a few days not talking and then bit by bit, normality creeps back in so he forgets it all and I continue to brood. Maybe I am over thinking it all and this is what normal relationships are, maybe I am just over sensitive.

I might look into counselling for just myself.

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