“It’s not worth making a big deal about,” Ann told herself when she came home from work and discovered Ron hadn’t done the breakfast dishes. She did the clean-up, made dinner, and for the third time in a week “just wasn’t interested” in making love.

Ann and Ron were proud of their trouble-free relationship. “We don’t fight, we talk to each other. We get things settled. We’re reasonable people and forgive and forget the insignificant things like squeezing the toothpaste in the middle, forgetting to leave a minor message, getting the wrong kind of breakfast cereal, and stuff like that.”

The problem is that Ann and most of the rest of us don’t really forgive and we don’t really forget. We store up so many little frustrations because we decide they’re so unimportant that nothing needs to be done about them.

We may believe that nothing can be done, so we do nothing. Finally our irritation expresses itself by feeling turned off. We don’t take responsibility for expressing our irritation and asking firmly for what we want. We just lose interest and sometimes even go away.

Ann decided to start being honest with herself. She listed all of the irritations at Ron that she could think of. For each item on her list she completed the sentence, “I wanted _______ , and if I had gotten it I wouldn’t still feel angry (hurt, frustrated, resentful.)” When she looked over her list she discovered that she most wanted Ron to keep the agreements he had made with her.

When she finally shared her frustration about the broken agreements Ron took extra care to make sure to keep up his end of things. Their sex life improved dramatically.

[tags]self-improvement, personal growth, self-help, emotional problems, relationship, sex[/tags]