It still baffles me some 40 years later that when Pete and I were first married I carefully ironed his underwear and put it in his drawer in perfect piles. The creases were near perfect and the drawer was never allowed to get completely empty.
As the years melted away so did my enthusiasm for this weekly chore of ironing underwear. In fact it became a task that I began to sincerely dread. I continued to do it anyway.
One day, as will happen in most relationships, we were having a bit of disagreement. I have no recollection what it was about. All I know is one minute I was calm and the next I was red in the face and exploding that I had had it ‘up to here with your bloody underwear and ironing it’. I continued to vent that surely he had no idea how hard I worked to be sure he could just open that drawer and things would be pressed and ready for him.
I can still see the stunned look on his face. Then he broke into a smile and a twinkle in his eye. “It is”, he said, “my magic underwear drawer”.
He didn’t care if his underwear was ironed and I never ironed it again.
I have shared this little story over the years with large and small groups. The lesson to be learned from it is that excellent communication can save a lot of misunderstanding. Too often we hear and do what we think is right without question.
We still have our misunderstandings but I never have to get red in the face now because one of us will say “We need to go to the magic underwear drawer”.
Get the point of frustration on top of the table and talk about it. Very likely no one sees it the same way as the other.