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on Communicating

Most of the time,  Hubbs and I communicate pretty well.

He’s a planner, even more so than me. It’s the Virgo in him.  You can set your watch to this guy.

He’s the one who taught me to speak up about where I’m going and what I’m up to and what time you can expect me to be somewhere.  Being a Gemini, I’d never much considered telling anyone all that. But, as we dated, I seemed to have a knack for frustrating him. If he said “let’s meet at such and such place at this time” he’d be there. Early. Every time.  Not so with me. I’d be there, on time, or shortly thereafter. I’d see him look at his watch and sigh and give me the look.   Quite honestly, it was annoying.

It took me a few years to understand that when I stopped at the grocery store on my way home from work without saying anything ahead of time, that action caused him anxiety. I thought he was ridiculous. He thought I was uncaring.

It took him explaining the knot he got in his stomach when I wasn’t where he thought I’d be. It took him referencing his brother’s sudden death for me to understand that my actions were actually causing him pain. When I wasn’t where I said I’d be, his first thought, his first instinct, was that I was lost to him … forever.

Geez that’s heavy stuff.

But in the 22 years we’ve known each other, I’ve grown.  I’ve learned to communicate proactively, to share my plans because someone else cares to know. I’ve learned that speaking up doesn’t mean surrendering a part of me, it means caring for another, too.

But even after all that, we still have our moments when I think we’re talking two different  languages.

I’m all about words, kinda obvious, since I write a blog. 🙂

He’s a quieter guy who doesn’t always want to talk.

I can talk about anything and often do.

He relishes silence.

So the other day when he commented about “having to clean out the dryer lint drawer cause no one else ever does” what I heard was “you’re an inept housekeeper and whatever you do will never be good enough for me.”

That’s not what he said, but that is what I heard.

And that’s when the snarping started.

I understand now what he was really saying: See me.

I understand now what I was really saying: See me.

Later today, I’m heading out to run a few errands. The 9-year-old in me doesn’t want to tell anyone where she’s off to.  The woman in me commented on the amazingly clean lint drawer and referenced stops at the dry cleaners and gas station.

# # #

How do you and your loves communicate?  Has it changed over time?

“The only way that we can live, is if we grow. The only way that we can grow is if we change. The only way that we can change is if we learn. The only way we can learn is if we are exposed. And the only way that we can become exposed is if we throw ourselves out into the open. Do it. Throw yourself.”
― C. JoyBell C.

related – Virgo and the Circus

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Categories: Attitude, Faith, Family, Life, Men, Personal, Relationships, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , | 26 Comments

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26 thoughts on “on Communicating

  1. Oh, wow. You & I sound EXACTLY alike with what he said and what you heard regarding the dryer lint! Must be the Gemini in us.
    I know folks complain about cell phones, but I think they’re wonderful. It makes letting your loved one(s) know if you’re going to be late and WHY. Since I’m a worrier, I really appreciate having that connection.

    • Yep — that is totally what I heard. Maybe it is a Gemini thing, we can go from thing to thing that ppl think we’re not that deep when really we’re often highly anxious and wanting to please EVERYONE at the exclusion of ourselves. I’ve done a lot of soul searching on that point and can see that I am highly sensitive to others opinions and often can’t hear/see the good about myself.

      I have learned to communicate proactively but it was a real struggle when he and I met; it occurred to me that it had been years since anyone had cared to know … I had to lean into it.

      Thanks Dianna, kindreds yes we are!
      MJ

  2. Sounds like my house. Sort of. I never know where my hubs is. Not that I worry and sometimes don’t even care. I just need to know if I should lock the door on the way out! About talking…he says I can spend 20 minutes talking about nothing (so true). I say his quota is 100 words a year (again true).

    • Yep — sometimes he is a real talker but most of the time he is more of a quiet thinker, always studying, often contemplating. Sometimes it drives me nuts and sometimes I drive him nuts. A great pair! 🙂
      MJ

  3. I’m the Virgo, and he’s the Gemini. Our’s is a mixed-up combination of both. I like the way you describe the ‘knot in the stomach’ anxiety because I’ve not been able to explain it to him. Thanks for the help. 🙂

    • Ok, there it is … glad to help 🙂

      Have I mentioned how much I love your gravatar? Such a great photo!
      MJ

      • Why, thank you. It was taken back in the stone ages when I was 16 years old and wasn’t in one of my sulky moods. If I’d only known then what I know now….oh, well, such is life. 🙂

      • how true is that? (if only we knew then what we know now!)

        Bests – MJ

  4. We do pretty well at communicating, but time gets away from hubby, especially with his demanding job. I never know when to expect him, even when he says he’ll call/be here at a certain time. Now I know he’ll be home when I hear the car in the driveway (though he may take a call from his brother and not come in the house for awhile)! That only happened once, recently, but I was still waiting to have dinner. After 30+ years, I’m starting to get used to it. 😉

    • You made me chuckle with the “after 30+ years I am starting to get used to it.” We all have our quirks, Hubbs knows that one of mine now is when people say they will do something I expect them to (his example taught me that). I like that I can set my watch to him :)!
      MJ

  5. We actually communicate pretty well. Email helps!

  6. I’m the verbal one, Wife is much quieter. We are still learning how to communicate effectively without it degenerating into the “crazy cycle” . (and it will be 35 yrs next anniversary) I could write you a couple of chapters on this topic. Great post! DM

    • Ooh I hope you write a couple of chapters on this topic, it’s so interesting to me, DM!

      Happy 35th year 🙂
      MJ

  7. He’s right on the cusp of Libra/Scorpio and I’m a solid Cancer. Such an interesting post on your end and it seems you have finessed this issue. I am the quiet one and he is the communicator, however he forgets so much that I communicate. I hate being held up and communicating something the second and third time…holds me up from my perspective. I find that texting rather than saying something, puts it in writing and gives him a reference. I’m still working on it though.

    • I got my feelings hurt about the dryer comment until the next day when I really thought about what he’d actually said. At the time it translated to “I cleaned the lint drawer give me a gold medal” and I also heard, in my head, ‘I don’t see any of the 10,000,000 things you do.’ Logically, I know it’s not true, but in the moment that’s how I took it. We’re still finessing it, quite frankly. He’s a bit of a blurter, saving things up and then blurting them out instead of letting comments come forward along the way. So sometimes the blurts don’t jive with the moment but I’ve learned that’s how he communicates.

      Your texting tip is a great one — having it in writing is very helpful. I leave notes by the coffee pot 🙂

      MJ

  8. Your husband cleaned the lint filter in the dryer? I don’t think mine ever has so you must be doing something right. I give you an A+ on communication girlfriend!!

    • After 20+ years, 10 of which he’s worked at home, he figured out it would be faster if he did his own laundry. Now that he’s doing it, he’s become the laundry expert (wink).

      I give him an A+ for effort but could live without the commentary 🙂

      MJ

  9. I’ve had the same concerns with Connie and her lateness, though have come to accept it. I’ve tried voicing my concern, but she’s a big girl (with a strong stubborn streak). Its a mean and ruthless world if you’re in the wrong place at the wrong time, or perhaps I just fret too much.

    • I’ve learned that the only one I can change is me. Not that he hasn’t adapted but I’m less aware of his than I am of mine for I know how much of a struggle they’ve been for me! Sounds like you’ve found a way to work through it, RR 🙂

      MJ

  10. Mark and I were like that. Only I was the worrier and he was the one who didn’t think anyone else might be wondering where he was. When he worked the night shift and didn’t show up at home at his usual time in the morning, I imagined him in a wrecked car in a ditch somewhere. Our progression took a different turn than yours. I couldn’t bring him over to my way of thinking, so I changed my behavior to mirror his. He’s not bothered by my detours to the grocery store and I’ve relaxed a lot. So we worked it out. Not like I would have thought we should, but there’s peace with it.

    I guess there’s always room for growth in a marriage. Good for you for recognizing and embracing that.

    • I’ve learned to communicate better/proactively b/c of him, he’s learned to communicate MORE b/c of me … like you said .. we’ve worked it out, maybe not as I thought we would, but we did.

      Growth never happens without growing pains 🙂

      MJ

  11. Haha! I married a Virgo, too. Birds of a feather…

  12. Pingback: Cats & dogs | Emjayandthem's Blog

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