Here's the deal...
The Script: I've been trying to get the house ready for company this weekend. One of the projects was to get the front hall painted. I had gone to my favorite home supply store and picked out the perfect paint color. The day I was going to go pick up paint, My husband says, "I am going out. Can I get the paint for you?" So, I agreed and handed him the paint sample that the store has bar coded for the color formula. Instead of going to the store where I picked out the sample, he goes to his favorite store that doesn't read the bar code and tried to match the sample. Do you see where this is going? Depending on what angle you are looking and in which light, the paint can have a lime green cast on my sunny yellow hall!
Where does my responsibility lie? Before, I had long suspected that he figured if he screwed up enough stuff that I would quit asking him to do anything. Pretty cynical (and self centered) thinking. Now, I see he really does want to help. I could have been more specific about what I wanted. I suspected he was going to his store and should have known he would not make an additional trip. Especially if he saw a sale on paint! Did I escalate the situation? I grew up with enough yelling and screaming and throwing of stuff that I would never allow that in my household. Often to the effect of stuffing my own feelings to keep the peace.
What did I learn? I have some choices. I can either do it myself, or be much more specific when asking for what I want. Either way, I can't be so invested in the outcome. Different is not necessarily bad. I need to be able to let some expectations go. Instead of dwelling on what it should have been, I can be more present and see what it is. I am in that hall too often to feel angry about the color every time I look at it. I thanked him for all the help and told him that the hall is beautiful!...and it is!
The gift: I have my hall painted. It looks lovely. My husband feels good about himself for a job well done. Our relationship continues to improve. And I continue to learn how to let go.
The most important thing I can do differently would be to improve my communication skills and be much more specific.