Pitner Orthodontics February 2019


February 2019

Better Than a ChoreWheel Making Room for More Appreciation

partner who tends to do less work starts expressing their gratitude.When we show our gratitude, we are recognizing someone has given us a gift. As a result, we are more likely to return that gift. In this situation, that often means contributing more to household chores. I’ll admit, I am guilty of not expressing my appreciation to Kirk as often as I should. Like I said, it actually annoys me sometimes, which is not the right mindset to have when your husband wants to organize the living room. I do cook and clean at home, but Kirk does so much and I am honestly grateful for it. I love coming home to a pretty house. I’m glad everything has its place. I like not having to clean when people come over, because it’s already clean. Because my response threshold is much higher than Kirk’s, I can feel frustrated when he insists on cleaning something right away when it doesn’t bother me, but I am glad it’s clean. After so many years together, I’ve even adopted many of his neat and tidy habits, which make me much better off. In relationships, it’s less about who is responsible for what and more about each person feeling appreciated for their contributions, whatever they may be. This Valentine’s Day, I wanted to take the time to appreciate all the work my husband does. Kirk, thank you for being so neat and tidy — even when it annoys me!You (literally) make my life shine.

In my own married life, I’m the messy person. My husband, Kirk, is extremely neat and tidy. He always has been, and it borders onOCD on occasion. There are times when his neatness annoys me. Kirk insists on having clean wood floors. This means when the Swiffer comes out, Buster and I are confined to the couch until the wet floors are dry. I’m glad the floors are clean, but why does that mean my dog and I have to go into quarantine? It drives me crazy! Kirk and I aren’t the only couple who have a different outlook on chores. Household labor is a common cause of distress between cohabitants. I know some people who get so frustrated with their partner when they come home to find dirty dishes in the kitchen. Their partner had the day off, so why didn’t they take care of it?When asked, a common response is “I didn’t notice.” To someone who can’t stand having dirty dishes in the sink or laundry piled on the floor, this response can drive them crazy. It sounds flippant. At the same time, the person who didn’t notice the dishes can “IN RELATIONSHIPS, IT’S LESS ABOUT WHO IS RESPONSIBLE FOR WHAT AND MORE ABOUT

feel like their partner is overreaching to something that’s not a big deal. The pot from last night’s dinner is still sitting on the stove. Who cares? It’s just a pot. Recent research has found the source of these common arguments is less about laziness or overreacting and more due to each partner’s different “response threshold.”This is “the degree of disorder that must exist before someone is sufficiently bothered to perform a task that’s not being done.” Someone with a higher response threshold to dirty dishes won’t bother with a few dishes in the sink, because it really doesn’t really trouble them. These differing response thresholds are why there always seems to be an imbalance of labor between partners. The person who is most bothered by disorder will end up doing more of the housework. person doing more work isn’t the real source of conflict. Trouble arises when the person who does more work doesn’t feel appreciated by their partner. If one person always cleans the bathrooms or takes out the trash, it can become “their job.”Their partner may not recognize the effort or appreciate it, and even if they do recognize the effort, they can fail to show that appreciation. When I was reading this study, the most interesting thing I learned was that one


What was really interesting about the study is how the workload can change when the

–Dr. Leslie Pitner


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