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ASK MERRILY/ Thermostat Control

Merrily Preston
By Merrily Preston
Posted on Jan 27,2010
Filed Under Personal Development , Opinions,

Photo by FLICKR/rockinfree/3050675319
Photo by FLICKR/rockinfree/3050675319


Dear Merrily,

I have asked my husband to turn down the heat before he goes off to work, because he leaves after I do. He never remembers no matter what I do to remind him. I've even asked him if not remembering is a way to take some unresolved issue out on me. We even have programmable thermostats that he overrides!!!  Please help me resolve this issue that is costing a lot of money and my sanity.

Dear Sanity,
Marriages often revolve around seemingly superficial struggles such as thermostats, toothpaste caps.  Are you really willing to pay for this one with your sanity?  If your husband also forgets his wallet or cell phone when he leaves, you could post a list of things for him to remember.  But he might forget to look at the list, as he never remembers what you remind him to do.  Examine the dynamic in your relationship around your reminding and his not remembering.  On a basic level you are not hearing each other.
Maybe he doesn’t like being reminded.  Or the thermostat may not have importance to him.  He may need the house to be warmer than you do.  Metaphorically, he could need more human warmth in his life and not know how to ask for it.  Maybe he wants to control something and has chosen a seemingly harmless thermostat.  You might simply say: you could turn down the thermostat before you leave.  Have you yourself turned it down before you leave?  
In a situation we cannot change, there is always the option of insanity.  Another is to accept the situation as it is and make peace with our powerlessness.  As power and powerlessness are opposite sides of the same coin, both are always present.  To turn the coin back to the power side, you can adapt the exercise in my column “Reply to Anger First . . .” Give that a try, read the Serenity Prayer.  Staying caught in this kind of struggle can undo a relationship.  If you want the marriage, choose it. Choose sanity.  Let go of the thermostat and other reminders go for now.  Give you husband space to be who he is.
Merrily Preston is an Intentional Life Facilitator, who lives in Woodbridge. Her column is exclusive to Local Kicks in Alexandria, VA. Email questions to, or use online form at .

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