I’m almost always cold at home. The winter months in Nashville aren’t horrible but I’m still chilled most of the time. I sit around with a blanket covering me and my husband thinks I’m insane since he’s sitting there perfectly comfortable. I walk past the thermostat and notice it’s turned down. Hmmm. I shoot him the evil eye. He ignores it. I reach out and turn it up a degree. Now he gives me the evil eye. It’s on.
The game of turning the thermostat up and down when the other isn’t looking has begun. Not a word is said. It’s a silent game and one that’s silly and ends up costing us more money than if we’d just agree on a temperature and leave it alone. But what can you do? I’m always cold and he’s always hot. There is no good compromise. Someone’s going to have to lose. I’m either going to have to cover up or he’s going to have to strip down.
Diane Sollee, founder and director of the Coalition for Marriage, Family and Couples Education, reassures us that conflict is perfectly natural in loving relationships.
"It's normal to disagree about just about everything, because you're two different people," she says. "The myth is that you become one at the altar, but you don't. That's something to celebrate and be glad about. If you want to have 'one,' you can remain single and then you can leave the temperature wherever you want it."
So what’s it going to take to either call a truce or end the thermostat wars for good? Well the answer is simple. It’s not about whether you win or lose. You have to stop thinking about your wants and think about your partner’s wants. Instead of sneaking into the hall and turning the thermostat up or down, we have to stop and discuss it with our spouse. We have to be grown-ups and one of us will have to give in. It doesn’t have to be the same person all the time, but one of you will be either too hot or too cold.
So break out the sweaters and blankets, the shorts and portable fans...it's time to agree to disagree!
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