The following exchange happened, oh, I dunno, 45 bah-jillions times before I met my wife:
Me: Honey, what’s wrong?
Her: (shuffles) Nothing.
Me: Are you sure?
Her: Yes, I’m sure. (looks away). Nothing is wrong.
Her: Yes really.
That goes on for an hour. Sometimes longer. I spin in circles while she does something passive-aggressive. Calls an ex-boyfriend. Eats ice cream, then throws it up. Poops with the door open, whatever.
Then, an argument occurs that, on the surface, appears to be about who didn’t do the dishes, but is actually about her jealousy of me having female friends.
I would estimate that 99.9999999999% of my relationships festered into a cluster-f–k demise in no small part due to this kind of behavior. No, I was not perfect (far from it) but I’m just giving you my point of view, ladies, from the other side.
However, I was about 6 months into dating the woman I am now married to when the following occurred:
Julie (marches into living room): Jordan, can I talk to you for a second? I know you’re watching the game…oh, I’ll wait for Chris Tillman to blow it again.
Jordan: Thanks (Tillman gives up 6 runs at the bottom of the 2nd, and the inning mercifully ends). What’s up, babe?”
Julie: Well, the thing is, we are having a party tonight and I did all the shopping, and did all the dishes…I just feel like I didn’t get enough praise for that.
Jordan: Oh. You’re absolutely right, babe. I’m sorry. I really appreciate you doing all the hard work. I apologize.
This went on for a year and a half. We would have a problem of some kind that I wasn’t aware of, and Julie would calmly explain it to me. Then, one day, it dawned on me…no woman I have ever met has done this before.
No passive-aggressive nonsense. No playing of games. Straight talk. To the point.
She will actually march into a room and tell me in clear and concise language what is on her mind. No yelling. NO YELLING.
Whether she is correct in seeking praise is irrelevant (she is). What matters is that she is a black belt at communication. And, “miscommunication,” is uttered as a reason for divorce just as much as, “irreconcilable differences.”
Ladies, do you have any idea of how awesome this is??? I almost married her on the spot. Of course, she already had an engagement ring on that I had given her, so I was covered.
If you have a problem, but you can’t find the words, take a breather. Go for a walk. Better yet, if he asks you what’s wrong, say, “I can’t quite find the words yet, I need to think about it, and I will get back to you, okay?”
It is so nice to be married to a woman who is nice as well as sane.