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Background:

Recently, a young couple moved into our area, and started going to church in our congregation. They first couple months, they struggled to make friends and fit in, so my wife and I decided that we would do what we could to help them feel more welcome.

As part of that effort, our friendship has started to grow as one might accept.

Recently, my wife created a trade of services with them. She agreed to teach them how to play the piano, if they would help us take a concrete pad out of our back yard. The husband in this couple makes a living taking out concrete, so he said that he was willing to call that a fair trade.

This weekend, we agreed to take care of their dog while they went out of town for the weekend. In the days leading up to this weekend, we were informed that the dog was sick, and that it was having accidents around their house. They seemed to thing that the dog ate something that made it sick temporarily.

Well, this morning when I got up and went to the kitchen, we were greeted with three diarrhea spots about 5 inches in diameter, and urine on our throw rug. Its the only rug in our house, as the floor is entirely tile. We discovered the oxy clean is really good at removing stains from rugs, so we got lucky that we were able to remove it.


The Problem:

Here's where the issue comes into focus. My wife LOVES that rug, and had spent months looking for just the right one for the living area. We recently got this rug a couple months ago, so we consider it to be new.

She wants them to replace the rug ($147.89 on amazon), and the memory foam pad ($97.92) that went underneath, since the mess soaked through to the rug. This seems like it could have a negative effect on the relationship, as they don't make much money, and I work full time as an engineer, which pays significantly better.

We are doing a lot to save money for other financial goals, so to my wife, loosing money in this way is very painful to her, as is the case with other non-essential expenditures. She doesn't want to spend money, so she wants to avoid that by asking these friends for payment.

Personally, I'm inclined to forgive them, and buy the rug ourselves. Considering their financial situation, I really feel this might be the best path. They're ripping out the concrete pad from our back yard, which has a value greater than that of the rug if we were to hire a contractor.


The Question:

I'm concerned that if my wife gets too upset, we may loose this new friendship that's been growing over the past couple months. I also fear that these raw feelings may drive this couple away from attending church with our congregation.

What can I do to help my wife let go of her frustration?

After she's cooled off a little, how should I propose my inclination to forgive the damage to the rug and take care of the replacement ourselves?

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    Hey AJ! While we specialize in helping interactions go the way you want them to, unfortunately we don't analyze situations and help you decide which action you should take (read more here). We can't tell you whether or not your wife should push for compensation. However, if you decide on that course of action, we can help you and her approach and have that conversation with the friends in a conflict-averse manner. – scohe001 Feb 14 at 20:00
  • @scohe001 Thank you, I wasn't sure if this would be on-topic, but I tried to fit it in. Would the portion about helping de-escalate the crisis fit the criteria for the IPS stack exchange to be on topic? – ajsmart Feb 14 at 20:06
  • Ahh I think I see. You're asking more about how to talk down your wife as opposed to how to talk with the friends. I think that could be an on-topic question, but it's still not super clear to me what your goal is. If your goal is to "avoid driving these new friends away," that seems a little broad/nebulous for us to help with. – scohe001 Feb 14 at 20:41
  • @scohe001 That's more or less it. The simple goal is conflict aversion. I want to be able to talk her out of asking them for an excessive amount of compensation (like have them pay to have it cleaned), and encourage my livid spouse not to do something precipitous. I don't want our frustration to be the cause of someone never coming to church again. I'll edit the question to reflect this, but it will be later this afternoon when I have time to do so. – ajsmart Feb 14 at 20:47
  • FYI I've voted to close for now, since I see you're planning to edit (and it's already gotten one answer). Please check out our help center too - like that says, we aren't here to give you points to argue. Instead, I'd recommend focusing more on the challenges you anticipate when talking with your wife - how do you expect her to respond if you just explain what you say here, that you'd rather eat the cost than risk pushing the couple away? – Em C Feb 14 at 22:55