Last night, once again after the business of the evening was over, she said "Why don't you go print out that spreadsheet." These were items along the lines suggested by Ms. Rika - things I could do that would make her life easier.
We ended up with 17 items that I can do, ranging from the quick-and-easy (Make sure her cell phone is plugged in at night) to the projects-that-need-to-be-scheduled (pay the bills). I presented the list with a heading as follows:
This sheet is things that I can think of that need to be done around the house that I could do. Some of these things I think I should be able to enlist the kids on, like the dishes, but in the end it's still my responsibility to get done. This also doesn't mean you can't do any of these things that you want to whenever you want to. *WANT TO* is the key phrase, not "feel like you have to because it's not getting done."
Obviously, this list is longer than can be done. I think we need to work together on how that works, if that's OK with you.
In the end, she asked me, "how do we handle this?" I looked at the list and couldn't think of a good reason why I couldn't get started on it. It won't all be done in a day, but there's no reason why the "quick and easy" ones can't be done every day, and why I can't get a start on the big ones (laundry and bills). So that's what I've committed to do.
I'm thrilled and scared. Time to put the activities where the fantasies have always been.
Just for the record, the list was entirely stuff I can do that makes her life easier. If that works out for her, at some point we'll have a talk about "treats" - she'll want to know what they are for me rather than having to guess... or I'll want her to know, but I would expect that to be a month or more away.
We didn't talk explicitly about casual "requests" or decision making - we covered that on Sunday and she read my notes on them and approved them.
So there was no big ceremony, no big symbolic thing. There was just me saying "So, we're doing this, right?" and her response, "Right." I think she's waiting to see what actually happens as well. I did mention that I'm probably not going to be 100% good at this initially, and that her feedback would be welcome. Also that I'd like to check in once or twice a week to see how this is going from her point of view. Aside from that, it should be "set it and forget it" for her.
So far the difference has been ... not much. Partly this is the "How would life be different if we had been doing this" question. Partly it's that not much has come up that needs to be done. And partly it's her waiting to see how this works out practically.
I think she was tired last night; I'm very insecure about all this and perceived her manner as "put upon" rather than intrigued, but we snuggled and talked a very little about this in the morning, and I expressed my gratitude. She seemed OK with that, maybe even good.
I owe Ms. Rika a big debt of thanks, and a book review. Her book and advice got us to the top of the hill and gave us the shove we needed. Now it's our responsibility to steer the sled....
Woooooshhh..... off we go!