When we express our opinion, we can control our intention but not someone's interpretation of it. If it is interpreted as we do not expect, we need to reflect on why it happens.
A while ago, my mother-in-law came to help us when we had a baby. I have focused on a few priorities:
- keep the baby's health and my wife's health
- unburden my wife's load and save her time whatever it helps
- let my mother-in-law feel and see three of us can live in a fulfilling life so that she can relieve my wife's choice is right.
The very first three weeks went well after giving birth. My mother-in-law helped a lot by cooking, and do laundry. I always ask her what she wants to buy, eat, or do in the U.S. I respected her way of cooking, cleaning, or treating a kid, and tried to let her feel we demanded something.
One day, she got so angry but silently. I did not notice at all. When we had dinner cooked by her, I was talking about beans since beans were used in her dishes. For some reasons, I recall someone talked beans contains carbs, especially Mexican cuisine. This is the reason she got angry.
My wife told me she got angry about this since she did not directly express her anger at all to me. I did not say anything bad to her. She interpreted what I mentioned about beans as my complaint that the food is not nutritious.
Wait...I was wondering how this could happen. But after the period of reflection, I re-think this is not something logical. It was a stressful situation in a gradual but cumulative way where she cannot do much by herself, e.g., cannot drive, do shopping as she wants while she could do as she wants in her country. I just needed to shut my mouth and keep appreciating her help and try to release any stressor.
My comment about beans was not my intention. But her interpretation was an extreme case in a way since she was so composed, generous and kind all the time. I could not appreciate more than this. I cannot imagine that my wife and I only manage the first month of the baby without her help. Thank you so much and I am sorry for not considering her enough.
Word of the day: gullible