Spouses: Coordinating - Common Courtesy or Overkill

Spouses, in the course of normal daily stuff, how important is it that you and your partner have clear communications to stay coordinated?

You know - not important stuff, like “you watch Billy and I’ll take Betty” in a crowded situation - more basic stuff like “okay, I’m taking off for my thing- you got it from here?” where “got it” is just basic supervision of kids, house, etc.

My spouse and I argue a couple of times a year over this - she thinks that if the plans are known (i.e., she’s leaving at 2pm) then if she takes off, so be it. I occasionally get frustrated that she doesn’t have the courtesy and clarity to check in and say “okay, I’m taking off now - you got it from here?”

Sorry if you think this is petty, but sometimes little communications issues feel big in a relationship. Do you and your partner ever clash over this type of trivial coordination? Do you have a basic POV - does either perspective seem more correct to you?

Seems to me that it’d be common courtesy to let someone know that you’re leaving for a bit, even if it’s just shouting it as you’re heading out the door. Not to mention safer, so that the one who’s going to be handling the kids knows he or she needs to start paying more attention now.

If you already talked about the plans already, I would assume that you should only call if it is NOT going as sheduled. This ties in closely with my active thread in this forum asking about different communication sttyles (common overcommunication IMHO). If I already said that I would do something, why would I have to confirm that I am doing it. It should go without saying and anything else is condescending and unnecessary. That is insulting and a waste of time to me. Even a simple phone call causes me to drop what I am doing and address it right then like a fire alarm. Why would someone have fire drills all the time?

I have two young daughters (5 and 1 year olds). My wife and I are very busy and do tag-team parenting where I pick them up at day care within a 10 minute tolerance after a 50 minute reverse commute at the end of the day. I have never made a mistake in 5 years. I then keep then for 2 - 3 hours, give them dinner, and do whatever else needs to be taken care of at home before my wife gets home. There is no need to waste even 5 seconds talking about that stuff with anyone and a ringing phone disrupts my concentration as I am planing things minute by minute constantly in my head. I have a running dialogue in my head going most of the time about how to keep things at a steady state. I am competent and input from my wife who works an hour away adds very little.

If you already agreed on something, why is there a need to revisit the issue if it is going as planned?

It’s both a courtesy and a necessity for us and, normally, we do it pretty well. Her schedule is much more varied than mine and, therefore, we communicate pretty frequently on who’s going to be where when. She’s especially emphatic, almost to the point of being a sales call… tell me what you’re going to say, say it, and then tell me what you’ve told me. While sometimes I’m thinkin’ “enough already”, in reality I’d not have it any other way.

I think it’s an important thing for a marriage relationship to always greet each other and say goodbye to each other. This may have started as my husband’s idea, he’s better at it than I am, but I think it’s a really nice courtesy for the loved one. It’s not so much about coordinating, but more of a ritual to acknowledge that being together and being apart are separate states, and we prefer the former. It also sends a nice message of “I’ll never just disappear on you.”

From a practical perspective, if one of us is coming home later than expected, we’ll call. There’s no need for a daily “I’m coming home from work now” call at 5.

My husband has a funny story he tells about “coordinating” between spouses. He used to work with this guy on a job that required them to be on the road at remote job sites for weeks at a time. The guy would always stop and call home about an hour before he got there. He said “You don’t want any surprises. Because you walk in, and you’re mad, and he’s scared, and that’s how people get shot.” Not sure how the guy learned this particular bit of wisdom.

Thanks you guys - simply for taking the issue seriously. I felt like it might just be a trivial issue I should get over.

**Shagnasty ** - I see your point of view and appreciate your sharing it…

My hubby is extremely scatter-brained (yes, he’s an IT pro, why do you ask? :wink: ) and if I don’t tell him something three times, then remind him just prior to the event, he doesn’t remember.

Now, I could get all huffy about how his bad memory is insulting to me or whatever. But I don’t. That’s how he is. I knew it when I married him. So, I just communicate with him frequently. I mean, how long does it take to tell him my plans, even if I have to tell him three times? What’s that, two minutes of my life? I think highly enough of him and of the harmony in our marriage to spare those two minutes to spare fifteen minutes of arguing later on.

My husband and I pretty much see this the same way. We do always tell each other when we’re leaving the other - and we always say, “I love you” too. When he’s working he always lets me know when he’s done on a job (if he goes home from the job) or if he’s in the area (if he’s picking me up first and then going home - we share a vehicle). If I drive myself to work I let him know when I get here, and I let him know when I’m on my way home. It’s just always been that way - I think deep down both of us don’t ever want to be in a place where we’d have to think, “I wish I had just had one more chance to say I love you” if something happened to the other or something goofy like that.

My husband and I will generally not bother to keep each other apprised of routine comings and goings - for example, I don’t bother to call him and tell him when I’m leaving the office if I’m leaving the office at my customary time. (Or, more accurately, within 5 minutes of my customary time - any more variation than that = a serious possibility of substantial timetable alteration because I’ll likely be on a different-than-usual train.)

If I’m not leaving the office at my customary time, I’ll tell him. This is so he knows there’s a non-emergency reason for my delay (as opposed to a random two hour delay because of, say, a fire on the subway tracks), and he need not worry that I’m not on my usual train. Likewise, if his traffic is particularly heinous or he gets off work later than expected, he’ll call my cell and tell* me*, so that I need not worry if he doesn’t answer the phone at home when I call to be picked up.

If we’re talking about comings and goings from home, i.e., I take off at around noon to make a 1pm lunch date with a friend on a Sunday or he’s leaving to make it to his Friday night card tournament, then I fully expect him to shout out that he’s heading out the door and to say goodbye (and vice versa). I consider that baseline good manners, and I’d be a little irked if he didn’t do it, even if I knew approximately when he left and what his plan was. I can understand the viewpoint that, since I already knew about the plans, being reminded that he was about to carry them out could be seen as a little condescending, but that’s not how I view it.

Yeppers. If I’m about to walk out the door to get the groceries, and mr.stretch knew I was going shopping that afternoon, I’d still let him know when I was actually walking out the door. When I have be somewhere at 1:00, I let him know that I’m leaving for that as I walk out the door. Mr.stretch would be quite unhappy if I just disappeared without letting him know. I also tell the dogs that he’s in charge while I’m gone. :slight_smile:

Well, I have to kiss him goodbye, so of course I tell him when I’m leaving and vice-versa. It does seem to me to be common courtesy to let someone know when you’re walking out the door.

Besides, what if you’re killed in a horrible accident while you’re gone, and your spouse is all upset because there was no last kiss? That would be sad!

I don’t call my husband to let him know I’m leaving work, but I do let him know if I’m working late. If I am working late, I let him know when I leave via email.

If we are both at home and I am headed out as per an arrangement I’d previously communicated to him, I would still say goodbye and give him a kiss. I couldn’t imagine just walking out of the house without doing that. It would feel weird.

Mostly between me and 'im indoors, it’s a case of making sure we know which of us is feeding the critters. He knows I feed them when I get up in the morning because I’m up earlier than him, and he assumes I’ll do the same when I get home because I’m back before he is.

Other than that, I often tell him (and write on the calendar) when either of us are doing things that might change the plans. I know he looks at the calendar without really seeing it or taking in what I’ve written, and I also know I can tell him things several times without it sinking in.

Mostly I will remind him on the day that I maybe won’t be home early, or I’ll be out all night, or whatever. Then maybe if I’m out shopping all day with the girls, I’ll text him to remind him to feed the cats.

Other than that, we pretty much manage to sort ourselves out without too much bother.

My husband’s schedule varies from one day to the next, so we have to keep each other updated. He might be home at 2 p.m., or he might be home at midnight, or anytime in between. I need to know how many I’m feeding for dinner that evening; might be him, might be him and my step-daughter, might also be two or three guys that worked for him that day. I have to plan ahead, because I can’t just pop a frozen pizza in the oven for 9 or 10 people.

We sort of tag-team parent, so when I want to take a shower, I let him know so he can take over with the kids and keep them from destroying the house or killing each other. When he’s home, I even let him know if I’m going to the bathroom, so he can listen for fights/arguments/crying from any of the three boys. Our house is a little crazy, so coordination is absolutely necessary. Otherwise, there would be days when the kids would get no breakfast, or they would get two breakfasts.

We probably have an advantage in that we have a NYC-sized (small) apartment, so you’d have to be in a coma not to notice if the other person was making ready to leave the apartment.

If we have established a plan, there’s no need to repeat when the time comes. We don’t feel the need to call if we’re coming home from work at the usual time (or within the window of the usual time). We do like the saying hello and goodbye, but for some reason, I see this as a different issue as coordination. That’s just pleasant.

On the other hand, if I mention I’m leaving at 2 PM, and something gives me reason to think that he has perhaps lost track of time and doesn’t realize it’s 2 PM (like engrossed in a good book, I guess), then I’ll try to alert him (hey, it’s 2 PM, so I’m heading out to book club). But again, unless I have some reason to think that, I wouldn’t feel like I need to mention it simply to be courteous.

I would phrase it more that you would really like it if she told you she was leaving, rather than it being something she “should” do. “Should” implies that her way was wrong, or disrespectful, or hurtful, and that she’s either mean or thoughtless. It’s easy to get defensive if you feel like you are being accused of such things. Saying that’d you like it if she told you makes the action of saying goodbye a gift that she gives you instead of an obligation she has to fufill.

I sometimes call my husband on my way home from work to talk over our day because I know when I actually get home I won’t want to talk.

When I saw the title I thought you meant fashion coordinating, something my wife tries to do when we go out together on the weekends that never ceases to get a :rolleyes: from me.

We try to keep aware of where each other probably is and about how long we’ll be gone. We don’t keep constantly tracking each other (unless we’re trying to meet up somewhere), we just let each other know that we’re going out, where in general that we’re headed, and around what time we’ll be home.

When it was just the two of us, we were a lot more casual, but now that we have a kid coordination has become more important since we can’t leave him in the house alone.

Well done, as always, **Manda JO ** - I will share this with her…

…again, it is really interesting to hear folks’ thoughts on this - adds perspective.

Hubby and I always take the time for a good bye kiss, even if the one leaving is only going to the store. It’s a habit we started before we got married.