My husband speaks in ellipses. He claims to not understand what I mean by this. Naturally. I was inspired recently by It’s A Dome Life, who wrote a very funny blog about communication. It made me think about communication in my own marriage, or lack thereof.
The phrase “What did I say? or “What did I do?” is constantly uttered by my husband, in a rather plaintive and whiny tone of voice. Is communication between husbands and wives really that difficult? Do we misunderstand each other on purpose? Are we truly just not speaking the same language? Is he from Mars? Or was it Venus? Remember those books?
My husband takes a ton of abuse in my blogs, and yes he does read them. Some of it is justified, and some of it is just me on a rant. Luckily for me, this blog is one-sided. Before you start feeling sorry for him, please know that he’s got a pretty big ego. I don’t say this in a mean-spirited way, it’s just true. We joke (not really) that he hasn’t met a reflective surface he didn’t like. He can admire his visage in a water puddle in the middle of the street after a good rain. Not to abuse him further (lol), but I just want to clarify that he is a really good sport, and he knows that I love him dearly, and wouldn’t be married to anyone else. He is without question, my biggest fan. Maybe my only fan. (I don’t have his…let’s say, “confidence”)
Having said that…communication, please send a locksmith, we’ve lost the key.
By far the most annoying communication style my husband possesses is “the ellipses”. What do I mean by this? Here is an example:
Me: “So, I am going by the store and then picking up child #3, can you swing by and pick up child #2 because child #1 has plans and can’t do it today?”
***now, anyone with any sense (wives and/or mothers) knows this question is basically rhetorical. The correct response is “sure” or “ok” or “no problem” with a smile.***
Husband: “Ok….?” (he says this with a lilt on the end of the “k” while scrolling through his blackberry, checking his calendar, with his eyebrows pulled down into a scowl)
I glean several things from the way he’s said ok. First of all, there is Ok (period) and there is Ok (ellipses). The first implies consent and acceptance. The second implies there is an issue and compliance may not be in order.
Me: “What do you mean ok…?”
Husband: “I mean, sure I guess that’s ok…?”
Me: “What do you mean you guess?”
Husband: (yells) “I said I’d do it!”
Me: (also yelling) “You don’t have to yell, just agree to do it in the first place!”
Husband: (still yelling) “I thought that’s what I did!”
Me: (yelling and door slamming) “Clearly not! Or we wouldn’t be having this conversation and now I’m late….(mumble, grumble out the door)
My husband utilizes this style of answering quite frequently. It’s giving me grey hairs and frown lines. Just say:
Or freaking elaborate! But don’t utilize the ellipses style one-word commentary or I will cut you!
His next style of communication that gives me fits is “yes, I can do that but…” Here is an example:
Me: “Child #3 doesn’t have to be at school early this morning. Child #1 is sick, so child #2 doesn’t have a ride to school and both Child #3 and Child #2 have to be at school at the same time and I need to be at work because I have a report due this morning, so can you take Child #2 after dropping off Child #4?” (I know it’s hard to keep up with all these kids, imagine how we feel.)
Husband: “Ok.” (no ellipses here, yay) “I had a meeting at 7:30 this morning, but I guess I can take it from the car. It is sort of an important meeting.” (I celebrated too soon)
Me: “Ok, no problem. I’ll just be in two places at once.” (this conversation happens over text by the way, as most of our conversations do)
Husband: “Don’t be that way. I said I would do it. I don’t know why you can’t be more supportive.”
Me: “More supportive? MORE SUPPORTIVE? (right about now, my husband is silently screaming at the sent text ABORT! ABORT!) What does “more supportive” look like to you? I don a cape and fly our children around at super sonic speeds so they all make it where they need to go without being tardy and we end up in truancy court (again), all so you are spared the horrific inconvenience of taking a call in you car from your blackberry with your bluetooth for the first 15 minutes of a meeting that probably won’t start on time anyway?!?!?!?!?”
A few hours later:
Husband: “Why can’t I stay mad at you?”
Me: “Because you are always wrong and you know it”
Husband: “Well played, my dear, well played.”
This next style of communication meltdown might be the worst, only because not only does my husband use it, but so do my kids. I call it simply “The Repeater.” Despite popular opinion, I am not a walking calendar. My strong belief is that if you have access to the same information I do (i.e. school calendars, band schedules, etc..) or I have previously communicated necessary information to you, then you are responsible for it.
Here is an example of what I am talking about:
Husband: “So, what time do we have to be there?”
Me: <sigh> “Well, as I said in the e-mail I sent to both your home and work addresses and the follow-up text I sent this morning, we have to be there at 7pm”
Husband: “Sorry (clearly not sorry), I just wanted to make sure.” (because the legion of communication I sent out wasn’t clear)
Me: “Yeah…whatever” <insert eye roll>
Husband: “So, are the kids riding with us?”
Me: <glares incredulously at husband>
Husband: “Kidding!” (As he frantically looks up the e-mail I sent him previously)
Why do I even bother trying to be organized and communicate?!??! If I hadn’t sent the e-mail, text or both, the conversation would have been centered around the fact that I never tell him anything!
How did I survive marriage and children before blogging? More importantly, how did they survive? Our kids beg us constantly to go on a reality show like Amazing Race because we are so funny (believing that we are hilarious is probably a coping mechanism they use to deal with us). I’m pretty sure we’d have every Dr. One-Name (like Phil, Drew, etc..) knocking down our door or committing us or taking our children away (wait…that thought has merit…lol Child Services, don’t threaten us with a good time!)
I’d love to believe as we get older/wiser that our communication will get easier/better. I would even settle for mildly improved upon, but working with Seniors has taught me the fallacy of this thinking.
Our only salvation is our ability to laugh at ourselves. Right, honey? Honey?