Okay not all couples live Gone With The Wind type romances – many of us are married folk who have been together for many years and in those years we have learned what each other’s facial expressions mean, how to finish each other’s sentences, and the art of succesful communication in general.
But sometimes we goof a little. Take the other day for example. Devoted Spouse and I were standing in the kitchen playing with the new coffee pot I had brought home and while standing next to him I said something to the effect of, “I am SO done with you.” He turned around and looked at me with this puppy dog look on his face as if I had just asked him to pack his bags and get out of Dodge. Actually I was referring to the fact I had finished buying his Christmas presents. For some reason I expected him to understand this, because I had been having this conversation in my head about Christmas. I simply forgot he couldn’t hear what was going on in my head (and that’s not a bad thing). So, of course, I quickly amended my statement to “I am SO done with your Christmas presents.” The puppy dog look left his face. Successful communication often involves thinking quickly on your feet or moving your feet quickly to get out of the way.
Here’s another example of how to communicate. One day last week Devoted Spouse had a doctor’s appointment and at that appointment he had to give some blood (ick). So when he came home there was a bandage on his adorable little arm where they had leeched him (just kidding about the leeches). Now, Devoted Spouse knows I have a problem with some bodily things — like blood, especially his. And I’m very squeamish about bandages and wounds, and even the smallest bandaid if ripped off in front of me can reduce me to tears. So what does he do? When he finally realizes he still has the bandage on his arm he starts chasing me, pointing to the bandage and making ripping sounds. Isn’t that cruel? I might have started yelling…things like, “Ack, dont’ rip that thing off in front of me!” Or I might have said something like, “Rip that bandage off in front of me and your clothes are going out the bedroom window.” He kept joking around with the bandage and I kept yelling. Louder and louder. EmmaLou, Golden Destroyer, figured this was a new pack game and she joined in the fun and frolic by running in circles around us, “Gimme the bandage, dad, I want the bandage, I love bandages.” She would have eaten it, too, had she been given a chance.
This went on for some time until I finally convinced Devoted Spouse it was no longer funny (it hadn’t been funny to begin with) and if he ripped off that bandage and I fainted, hit my head on something and died, I would come back and haunt him forever. He went upstairs, out of my sight, and did whatever it is he does with used bandages. I didn’t care as long as I didn’t have to watch it.
It’s all about communication and getting to the point where you can say anything and your spouse or partner will understand. Sometimes communication is as easy as finishing each other’s thoughts outloud. Sometimes it’s a bit more forceful, as in “Touch that last cookie and tomorrow I have the locks on the house changed.”
Always keep the lines of communication open. Be ready at a moment’s notice to fully explain what you meant to say. And if all else fails, get your spouse’s mind off whatever subject is getting heated — toss them a beer – fast. Then go shopping. And remember to bring home a surprise.