“I’m sorry I wasn’t more helpful today,” with the requisite sincerity and timing, you should respond:
1) It’s okay, we’re both under a lot of pressure.
2) Really? Cause I really loved coming home from ice skating to find a pile of laundry taller than Michael Jordan, a Jenga-like stack of dishes teetering precariously in the sink, and you, wondering cluelessly what food might materialize out of the clear blue sky for dinner.
3) Ok, but I can’t handle it when you…(fill in the 30 things you happen to think your spouse is doing wrong today)
I picked a combination of 2 and 3. Based on my husband’s reaction, that wasn’t the right choice. He got it. He screwed up. He was trying to make amends. But I wanted to detail his transgressions and extract an apology for each one. Which he pointed out is very un-Spousonomical.
Economists would call this information overload. Psychologist John Gottman calls it flooding – essentially drowning your spouse in negativity. My mom calls it lame behavior.
After seeing the error of my ways, I recanted. “It’s ok,” I said, trying for a second approach. And, “I can’t wait to see what you make for dinner tonight!”
Photo credit: Plutor at flickr