Our Tuesday morning Mops meeting was one that got me thinking a lot about my relationship with my husband. Since we got married eight years ago, we have had to work hard on our communication. I realized quickly that when I would ask too much of him, he would shut down. I attributed this to the way he was raised and figured it had nothing to do with me. Boy, was I wrong.
My husband is the sweetest man I have ever met. Because of his size people become hesitant, but after a quick Harvey laugh, it is realized he is hilarious and light-hearted. Things don’t ruffle his feathers and he has the ability to go with the flow. Our beginning vacations as a married couple consisted of riding by the seat of our pants. At times we would find ourselves driving up to Kirkwood in the dead of night or meeting up with friends in a faraway place at the drop of a hat. It was fun and always an adventure. His flexibility and sense of adventure is attractive and exciting. I like reflecting on that time when decisions didn’t feel heavy.
Life progressed to beautiful children and a lot of necessary communication. First of all, raising kids involves a lot of talking, planning, follow through, revisiting and repeating. The fun is and will always be in our relationship, but having to talk business is a chore. I find we get offended easily and in turn we don’t want to talk about it again. And, hay, who wants to deal with the un-fun stuff anyway? Adulting in general is hard and I was not surprised to hear that the majority of problems in a marriage are not the big ticket items. In fact, it all relates to how we communicate with each other. Come to find out it is not all related to the way we have been raised; it has to do about the way we act towards each other. It should be simple. Here I am madly in love with my husband trying to be a good partner, friend, lover, and wife. Aren't we all working towards that goal? But things get in the way and riffs happen.
Fixing those small things that bug us about each other have a simple solution.
Number 1: Examine the way we question our partners. Day in and day out I ask why. Questioning is part of understanding and it is what I do. I thought that asking why was helping our communication. My husband is not one to readily spew out details, so asking why seems like a way to get more information. Asking why is okay, but the way we ask may change the results of the conversation. My goal is to try to ask why in a way that does not assume that he has not thought through the situation. Remembering that he makes choices by considering all options will make my questioning come out prettier. My hope is he, in turn, will not attribute my asking why to nagging.
Our partners crave respect. Showing respect can be as easy as a simple thank you.
Number 2: Say thank you. It is time to start noticing those small things and thank them for it. I tried it last night, and it brought out a smile. I am not just thanking him for the things I ask him to do, but for things he usually does. My goal is to thank him as much as I hear I love you, which is an awful lot!
Finally, the racy part.
Number 3: Our partners want to feel close and connected to us. Women can feel this closeness and connection through many different outlets, like a heartfelt conversation, but men need it in a physical way. Although it is so hard to want to make love when you are bugged, it may be something that will help the communication. That physical connection is the antidepressant for him and may make the situation feel lighter.
In our marriage we have grown and are continuing to learn how to empower each other. Our pitfalls should not be considered a road block. Working on communication by speaking kindly to each other, respecting the choices we make and connecting emotionally and physically can help bring both individuals back into alignment. Being on the same page will make conquering our challenges together easier.