I was entertained by my grandsons this week and in between smirks and laughter, without their knowledge of course, I was reminded of the age old dilemma of communication with the opposite sex. I write through the lens of my own experiences, married to a quiet man, a very quiet man and raising three boys. Y pues, of course like a true woman I talk to other ladies, who are also looking for ways to fix them, I mean the problem of communication. Por supuesto que there are the rare occasions where in a relationship a man is a talker and the woman could be, but she’s not quick enough to get her words out.
Asi es, for a long time it has been discovered, or maybe uncovered? Girls love to talk and want to be heard, by anyone, by everyone, pero, especially by their husband or honey. Ves, it’s so important it’s got to come out now! Meanwhile boys don’t want to talk, but they will if the topic is in their radar. Otherwise, they would prefer not to hear us, because when they do, they are confused! “What is she talking about?” Or in the doghouse, “What did I do?”
Por supuesto, in a good womanly fashion, I must tell you some back story before I share my “Conversations with the opposite sex” stories.
I think that the empty nest changes have provoked Ben and I to work on “us” more intimately. Like in, working really hard at better communication. Imaginate, my cold blooded Englishman is digging deep, maybe even borrowing words from others to have a conversation with me. Meanwhile I’m exercising much self control to not say too much, or worse! Say nothing at all and still communicate my love and peace with him. Hijole! Ya se, ya se, you would think that after 34 years of marriage we would be “coaching” others verdad? I can report that God is patient and longsuffering even when we’re not. He isa great coach for us, when we let him, he directs us from his word and through easily accessible resources.
One of the places I’ve gleaned from is a recent podcast called Real Relationship Talk. After listening to Dana Che I realized that we just didn’t communicate at all, but now I realize that we were! It was just not good communication. She puts both sides of an issue on the table, raw and real conversations that have helped us. As Empty Nesters were starting from the beginning, getting on the same page😉.
Without further ado, here’s a clip of some of my conversations :
Rosie: Man! I didn’t take my walk this morning, I have to make sure I do it tomorrow morning.
Ben: If you can wait for me, I’ll walk with you tomorrow”
Rosie: Oh, ok. (But in my mind I had mixed emotions since my morning walks are my “hashing out my issues” in conversation with God, now I had to talk to Ben. Duh! Isn’t this what I want, time with Ben?
The next morning…
Rosie: Are you ready?
Ben: Yup, just let me get my tennis shoes on.
We stepped outside and the silence wasn’t acceptable so I started talking.
Rosie: Maybe we can listen to a conference sermon?
Ben: Oh, ok. (regarding the neighbors yard) I don’t care for this yard, rocks instead of grass.
A few steps of quiet, oh oh.
Rosie: (I pull out my phone) Let me find that sermon.
Ben: I don’t think it’s gonna rain after all.
Rosie: I don’t know, it looks like it might. (I hold off on the sermon)
A few more seconds of empty space. Ok, I’ll talk then.
Rosie: It’s going to be…
Ben: (regarding another yard) I don’t like this ivy, I prefer grass, just nice green grass.
Rosie: (In my mind- Maybe I’ll not play the sermon, maybe he’s gonna want to talk) Yes, I think green…
Ben: See it gets brown and messy. (regarding someone’s boat) I don’t like those kinds of boats.
Rosie: (looking over at the big speed boat-aren’t they all the same?) Really, why?
Ben: they’re just power boats, no place to sit, they’re just for speed.
I had no response and I worried the conversation attempt would die.
Rosie: I wonder How Joe’s doing?
Ben: I liked my dad’s boat, it had character.
Rosie: oh (in my mind- he doesn’t need me to hold a conversation)
All of a sudden, I had nothing to say and I was walking faster. The warnings blared as he glanced over at me and the words escaped Ben as he tried to figure out what happened.
Later that morning I was watching my grandson Judah. Judah was happy to read a book. Then I also had a couple of little girls from church to babysit. When they arrived Judah kept on reading. They immediately wanted to play with him, he wasn’t interested, nor was he listening as they jabbered away. Then he snuck out to the backyard, but the girls were quick to get their shoes and go outside too. A short while later I went outside to check on them.
Judah was standing there just staring at them.
Ama: What’s going on out here? Is everyone behaving?
Judah: Yes, but I don’t understand what they’re saying.
Belen: My name is Belen, b. e. l. e. n.
Judah stared at her confused.
Ama: What are you saying Belen?
Belen: His name is Judah. My name is Belen, b.e.l.e.n. (all that was said as she multitasked, climbing in and out of the toy car)
Judah stared at her blankly.
Ama: Alveena? (the toddler was also jabbering away) What are you saying? Judah, can you tell me what she’s saying?
Judah: No, I do not know what she’s saying.
And as she ran across the yard she screeched
Alveena: I chay it!
Belen: cheese, cheese cheese
Ama: Oh my gosh
Judah was immersed in their words and not knowing what to do he decided it was best to ignore them.
I had a good laugh, poor Judah, he would never understand them, or any woman for that matter. De repente, it hit me! Ben and I had just had that very same experience! Lack of understanding or misunderstanding. He thought I wanted words from him, it is what I have said to him. Pero, doesn’t he understand that what I really want is time well spent with him, communicating in silence is doable, I’ve had to learn things when I step into his quiet space, pero, I also want and need meaningful conversation. What I didn’t see was that Ben was really trying, he was using topics he was comfortable in. Ok, scrap that attempt, let’s try again.
Luego, the next evening, on another round of abuela watch, I loaded up the van with the other grandchildren. We were off to keep Thomas busy at his job at the city recreation center.
During the drive, I was reminded of how straight forward men talk, no backstory and minimal description. Fijate.
11 month old Uriah: Da Da Da Da Da Da
3 year old Jeremiah: D’mamybabybrotherdays
Uriah: Da Da Da
Ama: Yes Jeremiah?
Uriah: Da Da Da
Ama: Yes Jeremiah
Ama: Jeremiah I don’t understand you. Say it again, slower (I listened with a sharp ear)
Jeremiah: Riah days he loves you D’ma!.
Uriah: Da Da Da
Ama: Awe Uriah, thank you, I love you too.
Some couples flow in their ability to communicate so easily. Well, at least that’s what it looks like from the outside looking in. I’m encouraged, God has been with us for thirty-four years and as empty nesters we are relearning and learning new ways (new to us at least) of communication con la ayuda de Dios, because God has always helped us, I’ll learn and respect “Benese” and he’ll learn and navigate through “Rosiese”
God Bless you all in your communication growth 🙃