My husband and I have had several experiences this last year that have taught us both an invaluable lesson – it is critical that spouses talk to each other…openly and honestly…about everything…all the time. We decided to share one of the experiences that helped us learn that in the hopes that if other couples are struggling like we were they might benefit from the lesson we’ve learned:
Many days in our marriage start with me sharing with my husband all the things I have on my list to accomplish that day and then asking him to share what he has on his list to accomplish that day. If you read my blog yesterday about having an accountability buddy, then you will understand that my reason for going through this exercise with him was to allow us to be one another’s.
It just made sense to me that I’d have my husband as my accountability buddy. Loving him as I do, I knew that there is no one I would push myself for more because there is no one I’m more excited to make proud of me than him. And in my mind the reverse was true, so who better to be his accountability buddy than me?
Now being that I’m a woman, I never actually explained to him that my purpose in going through that exercise each morning was to be one another’s accountability buddies, I just figured that as my husband he should be capable of reading my mind and therefore he understood and appreciated my motives. But it turns out that – SPOILER ALERT – husbands aren’t capable of reading their wives minds (…and it’s only taken me ten years of marriage to figure that out).
Not only did my husband not understand or appreciate my motives, but being a man he’d just been assuming the entire time that he did know what I’d been thinking, which it turns out, was totally wrong. It turns out – SPOILER ALERT – husbands shouldn’t assume they know what their wives are thinking (…and its only taken him ten years of marriage to figure that out).
Come to find out, both our perspectives of what was happening all those years was completely wrong, but because neither of us talked about what we’d actually been thinking and feeling with one anther, we spent years being frustrated and upset about something that wasn’t even the case. In talking about it, we learned that we had both been interpreting things from two totally opposite perspectives that both stemmed from having only the knowledge of how we each personally were feeling rather than the knowledge of what both of us felt. I’ll illustrate:
As I would walk him through my list of items each morning –
From my perspective: Here I was sharing my list so I could let him see that I was excited to make him proud of me that day. Yet as I went through my list he acted detached, bored, and frustrated as if to say “why do I need to know this and why would I even care?” which left me feeling that my husband simply didn’t care about me and that nothing I did would be enough to make him proud of me.
From his perspective: As I walk through my list he is feeling anxiety because he isn’t sure what he can do about all the things on my list – he can tell my list is a big one that makes a heavy burden for me to carry – and he starts feeling like he’s failing as a husband because he he doesn’t know how to take any of that burden off his wife’s shoulders.
As I would ask him what was on his list for the day –
From my perspective: As I asked what’s on his list he seemed annoyed and irritated I was asking him to share it, which left me feeling like he didn’t care about me enough to want to share his goals with me.
From his perspective: By me asking him what was on his list he felt I didn’t trust him to spend his time wisely and didn’t view him as a capable adult.
So many times over the years I’d been thinking he didn’t really care about me – and he’d been thinking I didn’t really trust him. We had both been hurting about things that weren’t even the case…and all it took was one open honest conversation to completely clear up those misconceptions and feel like we were on the same team again. And we’ve had a hundred other experiences similar to this one that have all taught us this one valuable lesson:
Wives – he can’t read your mind! Husbands – don’t assume that you can! Talk to each other!
Be open and honest about everything you both think and feel. Never allow hurts, fears, misconceptions, or frustrations to go on for days, weeks, months, and years. Get back on the same team! TALK TO EACH OTHER!!! TALK A LOT! TALK OFTEN! TALK ABOUT EVERYTHING! #soworthit #trustme
~Amy Rees Anderson