I’ve been working my way through the book Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goleman. A bestseller in the 1990’s it set out under the premise that Emotional Intelligence (learning to manage your emotions so that you can relate to other people and yourself) is as important (if not more so) than regular old Intelligence.
I just finished the chapter on intimate relationships (ie marriage and/or dating) and some of the pitfalls. As a general rule of thumb, women like to air out the problems they face in a relationship, and men like to gloss over them. (As a point of interest, this is partly because men actually don’t experience problems as deeply as women do. They aren’t “ignoring” the problems, they just don’t rate them as importantly as women do.)
Also as a general rule of thumb, I like to try and prove dichotomous thinking wrong with examples from my own life. However, in this circumstance, I’m no exception. When something’s bothering me – man, I want to talk about it with my husband. Ad nauseum. Particularly if I’ve been home alone all day. It doesn’t matter how trivial this problem might be.
This in itself is a problem. Like most people who are transitioning to a different environment, he doesn’t want the equivalent of a proverbial ton of bricks or metaphorical bucket of cold water dumped onto his head as an entrance gift.
So, this is the solution I came up with last week. The Complaint Board.
You won’t find one of these on Pinterest – after all, that’s a place for idealized worlds of perfect schedules, Bible Verses, manicured photos, and organized family calendars. Nothing ever goes wrong on Pinterest boards devoted to home decoration. You know it’s true.
So what we have here is a small eraser board you can pick up for about $10 mounted onto the side of our refrigerator. I get to write down the things that make me want to tear my hair out. My husband gets to read them when he comes home. No bitter discussion needed. I think it might be a little bit of a relationship saver.