This time of year most of us are busy cramming New Year’s resolutions into already jammed up to-do lists that will remain incomplete months from now. That’s human nature. But there is another kind of list that might be more relevant and create more lasting value.
Over twenty-two years ago and two weeks into my new marriage, I arrived home to a neatly hand written three-page document from my new bride entitled “ways you can respect me more.”
Apparently Tania needed only two weeks to size up my habit set and did the courtesy of taking the guess work out of understanding her preferences and expectations.
On this list were a number of items about cleaning up after myself and how she likes the house to be kept, including detailed instructions on how she wants the towels folded and the bed made.
This might seem a little high maintenance, controlling or intrusive but the reverse turned out to be more true. Most couples struggle with conflicts over this sort of thing. She provided me with a detailed manual that in time I learned to perform as acts of service and demonstrations of love for her.
To this day I hang up the towels the way she likes and make the bed every morning according to the decades-old instructions–even when I am travelling alone and staying in a hotel. These were not her commandments, just her way of making our relationship easier. My list has only one thing on it: I just like having her around.
Partnerships are both the most wonderful and miserable of relationships. A list of ways your personal and business partners define respect is a handy tool to make the relationships easier and more connected.