Saturday, September 18, 2010

The Male-Female Language Barrier

It's Saturday, I'm alone in the apartment for once, and I actually have time to sit and sip my pumpkin spice coffee (courtesy of Mr. D) in peace rather than racing around getting everyone ready for work and school. This is as close to meditation as I get.

Mr. D and I talked a lot yesterday. Right after my mother and I talked a lot. It's still eerie how so many of the fights Mr. D and I have are just the modern remake of the same ones my parents (who are still happily married after 24 years) had. Nothing is magically fixed, that only happens in movies and sitcoms due to the time constraint, but I think we each finally understand where the other person is coming from and that's a good place to start. We agreed to have dinner together (being that it was date night after all) and had planned to see a movie afterwards because date night out alone never happens anymore. We're never off together on a night when Chris is staying with his Mimi. But, one too many of my concerns were shrugged off at dinner, and the movie was nixed. Instead, we sat in the car for almost an hour attempting to communicate. And I came to these conclusions:

1. Mr. D is blind. He truly doesn't notice that the laundry hamper is overflowing, or that the bathroom is in need of some attention, or the dust on the bookcase. I'm not his mother, and I hate feeling like I'm giving him a honey-do list, but that's what he's asked for. The things that I notice truly don't register on his radar until he trips over them or I start to do them, and by then it's too late. So starting this week, we're making a list of things that need to be done during the week and we can both check things off as they're finished.

2. Mr. D does not own a translation guide for women-speak. Like a lot of women, unfortunately, I drop hints in hopes that he'll catch on without me needing to say what I actually mean out loud. But guess what? When I ask, "Have you been in front of the Xbox all day?" That's exactly what he hears. He, like most women, doesn't analyze and pick apart what I said until he comes to the accurate translation, "Why are the dishes and laundry still piled up?" So I have to start saying exactly what I mean, and draw pictures if necessary.

3. Mr. D has grounds to gripe about our "communicating" just as much as I do. Because I bite my tongue for too long and then blow up, he really doesn't realize why I'm mad or where it came from. He just thinks his wife is nuts. When I do something that irks him, there's not much of a delay on his reaction. He doesn't explode like I do, he just points it out right then. A lot of times, that drives me crazy (the constant negativity is a separate issue) but I'm never left wondering how that one thing I did/said led to Mr. D's head spinning around exorcist-style. Although I could argue how he doesn't hear me when I try to tell him nicely at the time, I don't know that it would hold up (refer to #2).

Our issues are still there, but now we're at least able to discuss them in ways the other person can understand.

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