Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Relationships 101

Mom said something to me when I was freshly married that has stuck with me.

She said that it took her a long time to get to the point where she wouldn't cry when she was trying to explain something personal to Dad (That's the gist I got, Mom...don't be mad if I got it wonky).

She told me this when I was in the middle of the belief that if something was wrong, Jeremy would somehow just know what it was, apologize, and then shower me with reassurances and/or chocolate.

I don't have to tell you (but I will, since I need blog-filler) that this never worked. Not once.

Why?

Because men don't read minds.

I know.

I was blown away, too.

Anyway, it's taken a lot of work these last 11 years to figure out how to communicate in a way that didn't involve tears, frustrated and/or exasperated sighs, temper tantrums (though I still do these because they are fun), or some other form of manipulation.

Men need direct communication. No silly mind games involving the idea that what I say and what I mean are not the same thing. No should mean no, and yes should mean yes.

I mean, would you want somebody doing that to you?

If your husband or significant other said something to you, but didn't mean it wouldn't that drive you crazy? Or if they said, sure, they would love to go clothes shopping with you for hours on end, but really didn't want to, and spent the entire time gripping and sulking, wouldn't you feel a little betrayed?

Then why do women think it's alright if they do it? (I'm not pointing fingers, I have done this, too, on a small scale)

I think we are brought up to think that this type of behavior is normal, and we've all come to expect it, even if we don't agree with it. So, men think that women don't mean what they say, because we frequently don't. And women don't believe what women say, and read into things waaaaaaaayyyy more than they should (and this is why I didn't make many friends that were girls in college....drama....ick....), and both parties end up feeling wronged.

It's quite stupid, really.

The hard thing is that when you don't buy into this, or have stopped using this form of "communication," that people are still functioning in that other reality. So, even if you say what you mean, they still think you are speaking in double negatives, twisting and folding your meaning in such a way that would make professional orgami-ists green with envy.

"See these words that I made into a perfect peacock? Yeah, I'm that good. And now I'm going to make a functioning rubic's cube from one sheet of paper..."

I've struggled with this with Jeremy to some extent, but I didn't realize how bad it was (not that it was his fault, because this is our culture, and since he was basically raised by four women...well...you get the picture).

For example...

I was sitting with Jeremy, trying to explain something to him. I had explained it to him many times before with no success. I couldn't figure out why.

So, once again, I was trying really hard to make my point as clear as possible.

"Okay," I began. "When you do X, I feel Y, and that stops you from accomplishing Z, because now I hate Z..."

Before I could even put a period on the sentence, Jeremy let out the most incredulous "NO!" I have ever heard in my life. It was like the light turned on for me, and I saw how he really felt about the things I was telling him. He thought I was saying something that 1) I didn't mean and 2) made no sense.

I laughed.  

In that moment, it all became clear, for both of us.

I meant what I said.

And that made his brain hurt.

Make me think of a scripture:

But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil. Matthew 5:37 

Bottom line, we need to always, ALWAYS, say what we mean, and mean what we say. Nothing good come from a relationship where the two individuals aren't being perfectly honest. 

1 comment:

Katscratchme said...

Hahah! It's funny knowing the inside story. :P

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