There was a man who loved to make lists of “dos and don’ts” when it came to his relationship with his wife. It seemed to her it was perfectly reasonable to ask him to remember simple acts of caring: please put the toilet seat down, please put the cap back on the toothpaste, please take out the garbage, and so on.
While he was at work, she had a plumber come to the house to fix their toilet. The plumber removed the toilet seat. When he came home he noticed there was no toilet seat and so he replaced it making sure the toilet seat was down. He didn’t realize the plumber was in the middle of repairs and now the seat had to come back off. His wife was upset because they were paying the plumber by the hour.
No matter what he did, he still upset her. He went to brush his teeth and noticed the cap was off the toothpaste so he replaced it even though the tube was empty. He threw it in the garbage. He didn’t realize she wanted to use that cap for a do-it-yourself project.
He was always doing something wrong. Furthermore she asked repeatedly for the same request and since it was always confusing to him, he would reply that he forgot or deny he did it.
The confusing part for him was the application. It made sense for one thing but not for the other.
When they went for counseling, the counselor suggested he not use his list but rather focus on her heart.
“It is not the list that matters, but the love behind it. Love supersedes duty.”