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WHEN my husband retired from his job as a quality control engineer, our adjustment went smoothly. I continued with my activities outside the home, and he developed some hobbies, fixed things around the house, and began working part time during the winter.

Eventually, however, we were at home together for many hours at a time, and we began to step on each others' toes.

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My husband accused me of wanting to direct everything he did, and I accused him of ``quality controlling'' the housekeeping.

We were both guilty as charged, and we were smothering each other.

The solution turned out to be very simple (although reaching the solution was not).

We reactivated a set of rules we used when the children were growing up:

The one who turns a thing on - be it the television, stereo, lamp, or lawn sprinkler - is responsible for turning it off.

The one who makes the mess cleans it up.

The one who starts a project is in charge of how it is done.

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The new system hasn't helped us decide who is going to sweep the patio or scrub the kitchen floor, but it has given us each breathing room. Whoever cleans the patio can do it the way he or she wants - without advice from the other. Peg Gingerich Minneapolis

If you would like to share a short constructive experience about family relationships, please send it with a stamped, self-addressed envelope to In the Family, Home & Family page, The Christian Science Monitor, One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115. Sorry, there is no payment, and we cannot reply to all submissions, which become wholly the property of the Monitor and are subject to editing.

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