I immediately felt put down and became defensive. I really didn’t think about where to put the bag of dirty laundry as long as it got to where it needed to be — back in the car so we could continue our trip.
Aaron Anderson, a marriage and family therapist in Denver had this to say about beginning a sentence with “Why didn’t you. . .?”
He says, “Never begin a sentence with ‘Why didn’t you. . .?’ As harmless as this question seems, there’s a presumption behind it that your partner should have known better In other words, your criticizing them for not being smart enough, not knowing better or not thinking it through. You’re questioning their intelligence. The same is true for asking, ‘What made you think that?’ You’re essentially asking your significant other to read your mind about what you think they should have done differently Let them have their autonomy and make their decisions. You don’t need to criticize them for their decisions, even the bad ones.”
David, my husband, and I talked about this and came away with a better understanding of why this was upsetting even though that wasn’t his intention. Well, as we travel this journey of marriage, we are constantly learning and this is a lesson we hope from which we can grow.