Communication is very important in marriage, particularly when there are young kids in the house. I’ve been married for almost 7 years and I’ve learned that you don’t have time to beat around the bush. There are only a few hours that we are awake that the children aren’t– specifically daylight hours. For those taking notes, that would be 0 in our house. Zero. Nil.
Hence, today we had this brief but important conversation. He is away for work right now, so our time to talk is precious. Long, drawn out estrogen fests for girlfriends (and I have some that are GREAT at those talks). However, sometimes couples need to talk to each other. Relationship experts, get out your pens. It’s time for some big issues. Let’s analyze. (Rhode Island is neither a road nor an island. Discuss.)
Me: Okay, I need you to go to sympathy-and-my-wife-is-awesome-mode as I vent.
I can only imagine his mind went straight to this:
Note that I, a female, told my husband exactly what I needed. I told him I was going to be venting and exactly what to say. Thus, he could easily understand my expectations. This is NOT a men-are-stupid-thing. Not at all. In other aspects of life we directly communicate what we want. Waiters, clerks, children, and pets all get a direct idea of expectations. Why not the ones we love? This took a while to practice, however. Don’t be too impressed.
Note Hubby’s excellent listening skills. He is probably anticipating that my problem is with him, the children, world hunger, or a deadly wedgie.
Me: There has been SO MUCH POOP today. 2 baths for your Firstborn. Exploding diaper in the STROLLER. Diarrhea everywhere. No quiet, and we’ve been up since 5. Tomorrow we do preschool, which is emotional. AH. Need that “good job Babe” because I really miss how awesome you are with the boys, especially on weekends.
This is his opportunity to pick whether he is going to be sympathetic to the feelings, make me feel alienated by giving advice or telling me I am wrong, etc. Rookie mistakes. No, not my man. Why? He is intelligent. He has also learned from experience. Also, he is a MAN. Thus, the word poop did him in.
Hubby: Good job Babe, no one does poop like you.
Way to take that crap.
Well, take care of that crap.
First, he did exactly what I told him I needed. He said, “Good job Babe.” Brownie Point!
Second, he lightened the situation with humor. This hit my weakness. I used to teach high school. My humor card was traded in for pun appreciation long ago.
Me: That is why I love you, married you and had your babies.
(Those babies were nicely playing together at this time. They were having a fart contest. Sigh.)
Hubby: and sorry it has been so intense. Some day there will be no more crying, and no poop in heaven
Third: He showed true sympathy, helped me see the long-term objective and tied in a “Tears in Heaven” lyric into the precious thought of Glory.
Revelation 21:4 tells us“He will wipe every tear from their eyes”, not “she will wipe all poo from their tushies.” Amen.
Me: I love you, I love you, I love you. One son is crying hysterically while he tries to poop more and your oldest son has peanut butter in his ear, salsa in his nose, and is ice skating on DVD cases. Better go be a mom.
Now for my part: Appreciation. Three I love yous. After 7 years he know that one is accompanied by a head shake, one by a “a wish I weren’t laughing at that poo pun under my breath” and one genuine and heartfelt. Very Mr. Darcy.
I needed to end the conversation but didn’t want to do so abruptly after Hubby had done SO very well in providing the support I needed, so I transitioned from “Do you want to know what happened in THIS house today?” to “I really should prevent the house from burning down.”
I think you’re incredible and I appreciate your awesome listening/sympathy skills.
Hubby: I love you too. Goodnight
There you go. You have romantic comedy in 5 minutes. A couple, a conflict, potty humor, the promise of a better (and cleaner) future, and a reminder that we are in this together through thick, thin, and through whatever poop may come.