As a youngster playing around, I remember unconsciously hearing ladies converse. Sometimes they would say ( so self-righteously that I could almost see a halo around them) , I tell my husband EVERYTHING, I NEVER hide annnnnnything from him. Their emphatic tone impressed me.
So when I got married I did the same. I told him everything that had happened during the day – the new friends I’d made, where they lived, what they had said to me, the new neighbours and what they believed in, the stray teacup epiphany I had had…… you get the idea. And then one day I realized that this new husband was not really listening. He looked trapped, eyes glazed. I was upset. There were hot words and I was, as I said, extremely upset. What was wrong with us, I wondered woefully. When men through the ages had listened to their wives telling them evvverything, why couldn’t he?
At that he stated, most emphatically and convincingly, that while women had not been keeping annnnything from their husbands, no husband worth his salt had ever LISTENED to such rambling/ irrelevant/ uninteresting talk. On the verge of dissolving into hot tears, I saw this sudden picture of women pouring out every mundane thought that crossed the mind, believing they were communicating with their husbands.
So this was not communication, hmmm?
Then began our real communication. There are days when we talk and share a lot, there are also silences. But generally these silences are the companionable sort. He may not know the current book I’m reading, I may not know which science fiction movie he wants to see. But we do know what the other believes in, is worried about and how to be supportive.
Over these past many years I have thought a lot about this most important aspect of life- communication. We spend our lives talking but don’t really communicate. Sad.