My wife and I generally agree on the big things in a marriage like money, family and supporting each other. However, when it comes to the small things we often fail to adequately communicate what we’re thinking.
Sometimes this is because of technology, other times it’s because our tongues can’t fully translate the perfectly logical thoughts in our heads.
A couple weeks ago provides a good example of our troubles.
My wife had a day off work and we decided to use the opportunity to meet for lunch. Picking a restaurant wasn’t any trouble. However both of us getting there became an obstacle.
“Want to pick me up?” I texted my wife a couple hours before my lunch break. I didn’t receive a reply. Then just before we were scheduled to meet, I checked my phone and saw two messages from her.
“Here” and “Are you at work?”
The texts were only a minute apart, which led me to believe she was already at the restaurant. I left the office got in my car and headed toward Aggieville. When I parked a few minutes later and checked my phone again I saw I had missed two calls from my wife.
I quickly called her back to discover she’d been waiting for me in the parking lot at work.
We had a good laugh about the miscommunication before finally getting something to eat, together.
A similar flubbed text exchange when were dating also ended with laughter, but that only happed well after the fact.
My future bride had sent me a string of one-letter messages spelling out a complete message late one evening. I responded that she was using too many messages to get to the point. It was meant in jest, but delivered through the phone without my trademarked sarcastic inflection the joke missed. Badly.
Again this exchange too place late at night and I didn’t get a response. I got up the next day and went about my business as usual. It wasn’t until I called the next evening I realized something was amiss.
I can’t remember the conversation exactly, but I do remember it was short, I did most of the talking and I was assured that nothing was wrong. I didn’t believe it.
I kept pressing and eventually discovered my joking response had missed the mark. I’d spent an entire day blissfully unaware that my significant other was not happy with me. And her unhappiness only grew with time.
Explaining that my response wasn’t serious, on the phone this time, helped relieve some of the tension, but I think it took several weeks before she believed me. We can laugh about the exchange now, but I think my wife still has a lingering suspicion it wasn’t a joke. (It was. I’m sorry.) My favorite example of our communication failure, though, is one involving a dropped adjective.
We were stretching a fitted bed sheet over our mattress when my wife suddenly uttered “Sheet.”
I took her interjection literally and started to wave the bed sheet in an exaggerated manner.
She continued to say “sheet” and began pointing at the bed. After a few seconds, I became thoroughly confused and suspected I didn’t understand the joke.
It wasn’t a joke, but we were soon laughing at the exchange.
A dryer sheet was stuck to the underside of the bed sheet and my wife was merely trying to alert me to its presence before we trapped it under the covers.
While these miscues are generally harmless — there’s only one I won’t write about because it’s not funny to us yet — my wife and I always question just how strong our marriage is afterward.
If we can’t get on the same page for a lunch or have difficulty making our own bed, what else are we missing?
At the rate we’re going, we’ll probably never know.