August 16, 2008

If Nothing Else, Acknowledge The Elephant

Things in my life have been pretty crazy over the last couple of weeks (which does explain the unfortunate silence on this blog). It's been so crazy, in fact, that I've noticed some unusual tension between my wife and me.

My wife and I communicate well — really well, if you ask both of us. But over the last few weeks I've noticed a breakdown in our speech. And I do mean breakdown; the simplest things have not been communicating. When I try to explain basic things (simple "He said, she said" conversations even) she just can't understand. I would make casual side comments throughout the day about certain things and she acted like she couldn't hear me at all, asking "What?" over and over. I would get so frustrated repeating things like, "So I said I would see" and reverted to just saying, "It doesn't matter, forget it."

And then it finally came out. She felt the tension and didn't understand it at all. We sat down and talked about it. She said she couldn't understand why I had been mumbling so much lately (which might explain why she hadn't been understanding me :o). She expressed how much stress she has been feeling in life and admitted that the stress could be part of her listening problems.

So now it's out there. Are things much different? Not really, but it's out there and it feels good. And having it out there makes me feel much more relaxed about it. And having it out there makes me so thankful I have a wife I can openly talk to about these problems, even if there is no immediate solution to be found.

Talking about the elephant in the room might not directly relate to removing that elephant, but it sure makes things a lot less awkward when you admit that it's there.



  1. My wife and I are big fans of talking about our irritations. Sometimes I just get into a bad mood or become irritable. My wife notices. Before I used to deny that I was generally feeling grumpy so when I inevitably said something uncharitable, she thought my problem was with her. It led to a lot of fighting. However, now I'll just tell her that I'm feeling irritable and apologize in advance if I snap at her. It doesn't make the behavior any better, but if she knows my problem is external and not with her, we can work around it and avoid a fight. It's all about communicating your mood and being open with your feelings.

  2. I have been married for 28 years ,and I can't figure out why there would be ANY point to arguing about anything anymore , we STILL do , but far less.

    August, and December are the hardest months for us. I think because I am trying to get our kids ready for school ,and some are having big transitions. It's too hot in Aug. Everyone is uncomfortable ,and grouchy especially after 3 months together. I am fed up with the kids ,and THEIR whacking each other either verbally or physically. August just produces job burnout.

    In December I have to always put on a Martha Stewart Christmas production for the family ,and I am sick of that too, and then the money worries of Christmas. Then again the kids are home whacking each other when I turn my back . Those sweet little darings.

    I think of marriage like a circle or a cycle. Just like everything else on the planet it runs in a cycle like this.....

    I love my husband.
    My husband is the best husband on the planet.
    My husband is okay.
    My husband is kind of a jerk.
    What was I thinking.
    Did God really intend for me to spend the rest of my life with him ?
    Did I make the right choice?
    Did he make the right choice?
    My husband is pond scum.
    My husband isn't so bad.
    My husband is really a great guy.
    My husband is the best husband that God ever made.
    How did I get so blessed to have such a wonderful husband.
    I cant live without him he's perfect.
    My husband is okay.
    My husband is not too bright.
    What was I thinking.
    and these thoughts keep spinning in a planetary revolution ,but like the seasons each can last a bit of time.

    People divorce when they are in the middle of the cycle. If given enough time it would cycle back around.

    Even so I understand that some folks simply can't live together. If people understood how the cycle of life works they might stick it out. How many times have people been sorry after they have gotten divorced. I would say many .

  3. I love the cycle the commenter posted above - so true. This is great timing, actually, as my boyfriend and I just acknowledged a huge elephant last night. I'd been carrying it around for a while thinking he could see it, but he couldn't. Finally last night I unveiled it while we were cooking dinner and he realized it had been there for a while. We had a fantastic talk and I feel so much closer to him now just for "putting things out there." Good practice for when I finally do get to call him my husband instead of my boyfriend.

  4. What if you have a husband that doesn't talk at all.... despite your efforts to tell him the communication is necessary? Wive's can feel so distant when they won't talk things out. I know he means well, but he just can't learn to expose anything that's going on internally, and it's always a guessing game.

  5. Jennifer until he learns this ,you will have to carry this cross ,and it may be a long road ahead of you.

    My husband still has trouble with this issue. It was our last argument. 2 weeks ago'ish. Sometimes I give up , but mostly I pray. Prayer works much better than anything you can say or do.
    Example.. I say I don't like this annoying habit that you do. I tell him , nag him , threaten him for um years, and years, then I pray ,and all of a sudden this thick skulled man finally figures something out , because I went to Jesus. The same darn thing that I had told him for years.....
    Jesus took ,like 5 minutes of quiet time to fix.

    You fix yourself . Your sins,and your personal flaws. Let him fix his own . Put this down cause only the Lord can fix this. it probably isn't you ,so try not to be bitter or hurt. Pray hard.
    Also pray that God will give both of you a sense of humor it would help a lot. I fix me , he fixes himself , and I laugh at him during the process...

    All for Jesus....... Remind him though . Happy wife ,Happy life.
    Some day hon, some day......

    Now you didn't really expect to get out of this world pain free did you??? Emotional neglect counts too.

  6. Jennifer, I also think that during those times in which you feel neglected, it may be God calling you into a deeper relationship with himself. Really our existance is all about God .He comes first our husbands second. Our daily lives should be totally about our service to God. We love our husbands, but our one true love is Christ.

    We let Jesus use us to love our husbands through us. Focus on your relationship with Jesus first, and your husband will follow your lead. Above all else our primary marriage goal is to help our spouses get to heaven.
    Let me say again life is a complete struggle, ever since we were thown out of the garden, all we have done with our spouses is bicker,and some couples are worse than others.
    You shouldn't compare your marriage to other marriages, yours is unique just like your thumb print.

    Don't expect more out of life than there really is. Life mostly sucks with ocassional moments of brightness, joy and beauty in one form or another. I really have a wonderful life ,but it still isn't heaven my true home ,but to compare my life to a perfect life like on TV simply isn't fair to me or my husband. Sometimes this IS as good as it gets , and that's okay.

  7. Thank you for this. We've been experiencing a great deal of stress in our house, too, because our child is having surgery. It's difficult when you both deal with the situation in completely different ways, but communication is definitely a step in the right direction.

    This article helped me stop and take a look at the level of stress between us.

  8. However good communicators you may be, there's comes a time when fatigue and stress slowly creep in and makes you change your behavior unknowingly. Had the same thing happen to us last week. A day and a half of total disconnection from the rest of the world brought things back to a normal level and cleared the way for intelligent communication to resume. Great post!

  9. Loved this post... but Belinda, I have to say thank you also for your comments... I've definitely gone through that cycle in my engagement at times--luckily the negative ones don't last as long, but it's nice to hear that others experience the same things. It just adds to my confidence in my upcoming marriage--so thanks!

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  11. This reminds me of a powerful visualization that I use in my personal life and with my clients:

    First, imagine you and your partner facing each other across a table and seeing EACH OTHER as the problem.

    Now imagine yourself choosing to get up and move to the same side of the table as your partner. Now you are side by side, facing the problem that is OVER THERE on the other side of the table.

    What changes?
    What's possible here?
    What do you have to do to get up and make the move to the other side of the table (what kind of man do you need to be)?

  12. Dear Elisabeth, Even if he is Mr.Perfect, Your still gonna wanna kill him sometimes.Perfect people are the worst.

    Martha Stewart IS perfect ,and look where it got her. ALONE with her cats, dogs ,and organic chickens. Oh ,and don't forget her fresh farm eggs. People don't really like her . Not even members of her own family .