So the other day we were watching Ashley play play soccer. It’s the middle of November, but in Arizona the weather is good enough that we are able to wear shorts and T-shirts and flip-flops out watching the game. My wife is sitting there with her legs crossed and she’s kind of bouncing her foot up and down. Bouncing the flip-flop off the bottom of her foot, relaxing herself waiting for the game to start. All of the sudden the flip-flop flies a couple of feet out in front of her and hits the ground.
We both look at the flip-flop. We look back at each other and she says, “Are you gonna get that for me?”.
I pause and I ask, “Are you asking for help?”.
She says, “No! I’m expecting you to pick my flip-flop up.”
I say, “What makes you expect that?”
She says, “Well it is the right thing to.”
I say, “What makes it the right thing to do?”
She says, “Because you’re my husband and you love me and so you should do that.”
I say, “Well, what makes you think I know that as your husband who loves you, that that’s expected of me?”
And she just gave me that look. And, I did the right thing; I picked up flip-flop and I put it back on her foot gently and gave her a kiss. But, I think that’s the problem. In relationships we have all sorts of expectations, unwritten rules, thoughts about how the other person should behave, and what they should know, what they shouldn’t know.
I think sometimes if we just asked for help and did the simple little thing of saying “will you”. It sheds away all that crap and puts us in this state of where “sure why wouldn’t I want to help you.” So if she would’ve said “Will you pick up my flip-flop for me”. Sure I love her, of course why wouldn’t I pick up the flip-flop for her? But if I didn’t pick the flip-flop up and she didn’t ask for help. She might walk away angry because I didn’t meet her expectations. Expectations that I may or may not have known about. Now this particular example is pretty simple, of course I would’ve picked it up regardless. I think it’s a dangerous thing to do, because what we teach each other doing this, is that things are implied and things are unwritten. If we don’t have presence and we have a head gap between ourselves, man a whole lot of hurt comes in pretty quick when expectations aren’t met.
So the next time you want something, the next time you have an expectation don’t use it as a gauntlet to tell if the other person loves you or the other person desires you or the other person wants you to succeed or the other person cares about you. Instead think of it as an opportunity that you could ask for help. You could show someone the behaviors that you want. More importantly, you can get the things that you want and not walk away frustrated, hurt, angry and upset, but instead walk away fulfilled. They certainly have the ability to say no, but at least then you know they are saying no and not just that they didn’t know. So today, break a sweat asking for help.
Note: I have been walking everyday and introspecting. I have started to play with talking into a recorder instead of just talking to myself while walking. This is a transcription/edit of such a recording.
Here is the uncut audio.