My husband. He doesn't so much want a dog. We have three cats already and he's perfectly fine with our current quasi-animal farm status.
Given my husband's work/travel situation, I could theoretically get a dog and tell my husband to get over his dog angst because this is what I want and that's all there is to it. I can't tell you how many people have suggested I do just that.
I am, after all, the one who takes care of the pets anyway. I am the sole feeder, waterer and litter scooper of our current pets. I am also the one who lives in this two-story house alone most of the time.
Why don't I head to my nearest pet store and pick up a cute pooch? Respect. That's why.
My husband has stated -- very clearly -- that he doesn't want us to have a dog right now. He gets my reasons for wanting one (safety being the biggest even if it's a small dog. I also have insisted that I think a dog would also be a great reason for me to get my butt out for walks every day too) but he'd rather we hold off on our next animal acquisition until after all of our cats have gone to the big litter box in the sky.
So I wait. I look at puppies the way most women my age look at babies. I long for the day I can leash my little love muffin and take him or her for a stroll around the block while I burn calories and he or she makes friends.
I wait because if the roles were reversed and my husband did something or brought something home he knew I was against, I would be LIVID to say the least. I would be angry as hell and it would prompt me to question my relationship and my husband's respect for me.
Whenever I need to decide to do or not do something as it relates to my marriage or my stepfamily, one of the first things I ask myself is what is the respect quotient? If someone did this to me, would I be grateful in the long run or would I despise them?
When it comes to my stepkids or working with their mom to make sure the kids are getting what they need, I call into play my respect quotient. If the shoe were on the other foot, how would I respond if X happened or if Y happened. For example: If I were unable to get home from work early enough to take the kids to something, would I appreciate someone helping me out? Darn right I would which is why I try to help my stepkids' mom out in that way. (I like to think she'd do it for me too which is why I also respect her)
Similarly, my husband flies home and back to his job at odd hours on the weekends. Nearly every weekend for 2 1/2 years I've gone to and from the airport for my husband. A lot of people tell me that after 3 months of it, they would have told the husband that enough was enough and he needed to find his own way. Not me. When I need to head to the airport, I rather appreciate when someone is able to take me. It makes me less stressed which is what I'm trying to help my husband achieve. It's all about respect.
When it comes to my stepkids, I factor the respect quotient particularly when it comes to their belongings (and mine). My stepdaughter has great style and I'd love to raid her accessories just down the hall, except if she did that to me, I would be mad that she didn't ask first. Same goes for a stuffed animal or a blanket that my stepson may have that I wouldn't mind taking with me on a business trip (I like to take one thing from home with me to remind me of my home life). Yes, he's 9, but I still respect the little dude enough to check with him before taking it.
I think a lot of stepmoms could see improvements in their own situations if they considered the respect quotient rather than expecting something should be done just because that's how they want it. I think respect is an underused action that we all need a lot more of toward one another -- and ourselves.
I'm not saying I have perfect marriage or stepfamily relationship. I'm not even saying that using the respect quotient makes for a perfectly harmonious life all around. Far from it. However, having this formula has helped a great deal in how I live my life. It helps govern how I make decisions and respond to things.
I wonder: to those readers who are having problems that don't seem to have any resolution in sight, could using the respect quotient make a dent in the problem? Why or why not?