A Grateful Heart: “I love you more!” and other good communication habits

The only kind of yelling I really want to do. I usually end this exchange
with “Well, you can try!”

“I said DON’T turn it on!”

“Turn it on, you said?”

“No, I said DON’T turn it on!!”

“Turn it on??”

“I SAID DON’T TURN IT ON!! Do you have your hearing aids in??”

I was out walking Goliath when I overheard that snippet of conversation this morning. (I probably could’ve been around the block from our elderly neighbors and still caught it word-for-word, by the way.)

I watched as “Marge” scooted a plastic lawn chair toward the edge of the driveway so she could sit and water her plants, all the while ranting at her husband. I noted how, despite her hollering, “Frank” sweetly unwound the hose and helped her get it into position. And I got to thinking about marriage and kindness and how people speak to each other in the day to day.

Last night Mr. T took me to the Mondavi Center at UC Davis to see Lyle Lovett and his Large Band for a belated birthday celebration. (The concert was spectacular for the record!) During the performance, Lyle and the gang sang a song called “What do you do/The glory of love” and one of its refrains asks: “What do you do when it quits being new?”

Having just celebrated our third wedding anniversary, T and I spent a little time having a “state of the relationship” talk over dinner the other day. It’s a conversation we have every so often, really to take stock of how we’re feeling and what we might change if anything. Over steaks and later, espresso, we got to talking about our mutual goals and how much different (and BETTER) life is post-me being in grad school. Having listened to the warnings in Lyle’s twangy, bluesy country ballads as well as Frank and Marge’s exchange, I’m so glad that our relationship is maintained with open communication, affection and humor, for the most part.

Now, I can hear you saying “Well three years? You’re practically newlyweds! No wonder things are rosy.” And by some accounts, it’s true considering that up until a year ago, I split time between states. But I’m still immensely thankful for the communication habits we’ve established early and continue to finesse. Things like offering frequent appreciation, confronting hot button issues instead of letting them fester and nipping problematic communication patterns in the bud (for instance my finely honed penchant for passive aggression).

When I think about our next 50 years–when we for sure turn into Frank and Marge–I sure hope that we’re hollering sweet things into each other’s old ears. And with our careful consideration of communication in these early years, I think we just might be.


Other posts you might like:
“You’re kissing me on purpose”: Laughter, the key to a happy marriage and life
“Secrets to a spectacular marriage” aka communication
Turning points and transitions: Reflections on the first year of marriage
Coffee conversation: Chicken flavored patriarchy
Living and loving long distance
Anniversary, the second: Love in the little moments

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