Monday, March 3, 2008

He Said - Communication . . . or the Lack Thereof

So Catherine comes up to me about 4 o’clock on a Saturday afternoon and asks me “if I’m ready”. Having only just gotten out of the shower after yet another hard day of slaving away – yard maintenance, home repairs, etc., (you’re right; I don’t know how I do it either) – I am of course prompted to ask her (with no small amount of trepidation), “ready for what?”

At which point she informs me that we are supposed to go to a wedding that night.

At which point I ask “What wedding?” followed by the statement, “You didn’t tell me that we had to go to a wedding tonight”.

At which point she tells me that oh, yes, she most certainly did tell me about it. Two weeks ago, in fact.

Forget for a moment that I have no desire to go to any wedding and watch yet another unsuspecting young man “tie the knot” (in his own noose, of course, though they never tell you that part. You should know that years ago when I was a young man and still had the motivation to do such things, I once climbed a mountain to seek counsel from an ancient wise man. In an effort to test the value of his wisdom, I asked him what the longest sentence in the English language was, to which he replied without hesitation, “I do”).

So it shouldn’t surprise you to know that regarding yours truly, the idea of “going to a wedding” ranks just above “witnessing an execution” on the ole’ fun-meter. (None of this applied in any way to my own wedding, of course; it was completely different in every way.)

But forget all that for a moment. The real problem here is communication, or maybe more specifically, the lack thereof. And it’s not even that Catherine doesn’t actually tell me the things that I need to know (like having to go to a wedding, for instance), because she does. What I call into question, however, is her timing at informing me of such things.

Consider the following moments in time that Catherine decided would be good opportunities for her to relay important information to me:

* when I am taking evasive action to miss a deer that has suddenly jumped in front of the car

* when I have just woken up, when I am trying to go to sleep, or any other time my body is in a horizontal or near-horizontal position (up to but not including perfectly vertical)

* during the final 5 minutes of the Fiesta Bowl

* anytime there is food nearby

* when I am looking her straight in the eye while nodding my head and saying things like “Uh-huh”, “Yes”, and “I understand completely”

Ladies, you just have to understand, these are not good times to speak with your husbands about anything, much less “something important”. We simply do not have the capacity to hear what you are saying in these instances, and it’s really not fair to hold us accountable for what you might have said.

It’s not that we don’t value what you have to say – we do – it’s just that we don’t necessarily want to hear you tell us what it is, especially if it has anything at all to do with opera houses, malls, tuxedos, valet parking, activities that require applause, driving further than 5 miles in any direction, window-shopping, or eating at a restaurant where you can’t throw your peanut shells on the floor.

So, knowing that there are some inherent obstacles in every relationship that impede the effective transfer of information between husband & wife, how can you ladies open – and keep open – the lines of communication with your husband? Simple. All you have to do is keep your eye open for the 2 or 3 minutes of any given day where your husband is actually receptive to listening to what you have to say.

Once you’ve found that window of opportunity (and don’t blame us if you miss it; it’s not our fault if you’re in the other room when it happens) feel free to speak openly and honestly – and quickly, please – about whatever it is that is weighing on your heart. I can promise you on behalf of all men everywhere that we will listen intently to everything that you have to say, unless you start telling us something that we don’t want to hear.


Anonymous said...

I cant wait to read Catherine's 'She Said' to this!

I wanted to let you know I finished WSPWH -last week. I couldn't put it down. It was a great story. I really felt I got to know the characters, like I was a part for the story -it drew me in. Even though it was fiction it opened my eyes to little things going on in our country -and made me sit up and pay closer attention. Thanks again for the book and for a great story.
Keep up the good work!
Melody Joy

Blaine Staat said...

So glad you liked the book. As far as a "She Said" rebuttal to this post, do you really think Catherine will be able to make any sort of legitimate argument? She still hasn't even tried to defend my last one on the laundry!

I hate to be so right all the time, but . . . oh, who am I kidding? It's pretty fun.