Communication, or the lack thereof, seems to be a constant source of friction in many marriages. I wanted to share some of our struggles and how we dealt with it. After many years of working hard at communication, this source of “friction” is rare for us. And for that, we are very thankful.
Early in our marriage, before the age of cell phones, hubby would not come home in the evenings. Me, being a typical, emotional female, would give into fear. I would think, “What if he drove his truck off into a ditch and no one sees him?” The what-if-this and what-if-that, would put my stomach in knots.
After eight years of marriage, and now having a daughter, things weren’t much better. He still would just “disappear” and I wouldn’t know where he was until much later.
Where was he, you ask? He was at his mother’s. Because I didn’t have a good grasp on communicating well with him, he thought I just resented him going to see his mom. I didn’t. What I resented was his failure to let me know when he was going to be gone for several hours. And how was I going to be graceful in pointing out that I went to the effort of making a nice, hot supper for him, only to have him not show up for it? After all, tact was not one of my strong points! How was I ever going to address this situation without coming across as a nag???
After much prayer, the Lord gave me some insight to it.
First, I praised him for being there to help his mom. When he would go see her, it wasn’t just to visit. It was to mow the yard, and help her with other things. No one else in the family would step up and help her, so I commended him on his sensitivity to her needs and his willingness to be there for her.
Second, I told him that I didn’t resent that he spent time with her. I explained how worried I got when he didn’t come home and it would literally make me sick to my stomach when I had no idea where he was or if he was safe.
Third, I pointed out that it was hurtful to me to put the effort into making a big supper, and not having him show up to enjoy it.
Fourth, I pointed out that if he would just let me know where he was going, it would do this:
- Keep me from worrying.
- Let me make different (and easier ) plans for supper because I could do something quick for supper like grilled cheese, cereal, etc., and it would help me to have a more relaxed evening.
- It would help our relationship because good communication was put into place.
- It would help both of us to have more respect for each other.
Moving forward to many years later (as in, Thanksgiving 2013), here is another issue where good communication helped us.
Hubby had an outside job to do in three different cities in another state. And it was the week of Thanksgiving. So what do we do? We TALK!
- He would not be here for Thanksgiving.
- If he delayed, the weather might be much worse since the weather is turning really cold and thus, making the job much more difficult to do.
- He would get the job done before really bad weather hit.
- He would be done with the jobs and be home again before my vacation starts on Dec. 4.
- He would be here to celebrate my 50th birthday.
After discussing it, the answer was clear: Get the job done during Thanksgiving week. It was what he wanted to do, and it was also what I wanted him to do. For us, it was a win-win situation. (And he would still get to enjoy the Thanksgiving leftovers that I saved for him.)
FYI — He got home the day after Thanksgiving, which was several days earlier than I had expected! Woohoo!!
- Gratitude Tree (sheldonumc.wordpress.com)
- Household Budgeting: Secrets to Marital and Money Bliss (quicken.intuit.com)
- Look out for your spouse (marriagedevotion.com)
- Things You Should Not Say In Marriage (spyghana.com)
- Communicating the Small Stuff- Relationship Communication (youuniversityonline.com)