If You Want Something Done Right

My father believed there was one best way to do things and he taught me what that best way was–everything from which direction and how many twists are appropriate when using a twist-tie, to the most efficient way to load the dishwasher, the appropriate way to fold shirts and underwear, and that you should sweep the floor by accumulating little dust piles instead of sweeping the dirt all around the room into one pile, among many others.  I brought those “best practices” into my marriage and thought nothing of correcting my husband whenever he did things a different way.  Not surprisingly what I ended up with was: either a resentful and sarcastic, “Oh, that’s right; I forgot, I’m not doing it right,” or worse, “Well then do it yourself.”


Eventually I realized how disrespectful my “helpful corrections” were to my husband.


Now I try not to ask “why?” when he comes home with groceries I would never buy, after all, it’s wonderful whenever he does the chore I dislike the most. I don’t care if once in once in a while a load of laundry sits too long in the dryer and everything is wrinkled.  I do my best to not ask, “Couldn’t you use fewer pots and pans?”  Rather, I am thankful he’s not a stranger in the kitchen.   I say, “I do my best” because I fail regularly.  I hear my dad’s words come out of my mouth way too often.  But at least now I know how my husband hears them and how hurtful meaningless corrections can sound to another adult, and I try to “hold my tongue.”

If you believe the adage, “If you want something done right, you’d better do it yourself,” then don’t be surprised if your spouse stops wanting to help with the routine chores of family life.  No one likes to be told: “you’re not doing it right.” A better adage to adopt within marriage might be, “If you want something done by someone other than yourself, thank the other person for doing it, no matter how differently they do it than you would.”  It doesn’t have much of a ring to it, but it has helped me be more appreciative of and respectful to my husband with the added bonus of feeling like we’re on the same team, with both of us pitching in to do whatever needs to be done.

Written by: Rosie Prier

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