Mopping Up

A husband and wife were driving to the store to purchase a new washer. Their current washer was leaking water on the tile floor. Knowing very well that the washer they were about to purchase wouldn’t be delivered until during the week or the following weekend, the husband said to the wife: “Will you be doing laundry this weekend?”

The wife said sardonically: “Do you mean whether I will be doing laundry this weekend despite having towels all over the floor and mopping up the excess?”

Rather than saying yes, the husband said: “Let me try that again. If you wouldn’t mind washing clothes this weekend despite the inconvenience of having to mop up.”

The wife responded: “Sure. I’d be glad to. I appreciate you acknowledging the inconvenience.”

Despite missing the impact of his request on his wife, what the husband did successfully was take in the feedback and apply it in the moment. What the wife did successfully was to give great feedback about what she needed or hoped for in the moment. This is a great example of how couples can use feedback and responsiveness to repair potential conflict.