“It’s not real if it’s not in my inbox”

March 7, 2011

in Communication, Seeing Clearly

E-mail © Grafner | Dreamstime.com

A fellow I used to work with often reminded me that I had not told him something if I had not sent him an e-mail about it. My bride and I have adopted this largely – we sometimes even send e-mails when we are sitting a few feet apart.

This prevents many problems with not hearing, or not remembering. It also makes sure that the details are right, and ends forever arguments that start with “You didn’t tell me …”. If you and your bride have problems with things not being communicated, e-mails, text messages, or a place to leave notes is a good plan.

BTW – today and Friday’s tip are along the lines of finding a way to work around a problem so that problem is ended for good. I encourage you to try to find ways to end things that occur repeatedly. Constant arguments, bickering, and frustration are bad for your marriage and your family; if you can work around so the source of problem is removed, do so. 

Image Credit: © Grafner | Dreamstime.com

2 comments
Rick
Rick

I don't want to take anything away from this post as I think these forms of communication DO have great value for little details, especially to alleviate the "You didn't tell me...", so please take this as a caveat mainly applying to "the big stuff": Email and texting can become an easy shortcut out of sensitive and thoughtful interchanges -- and truly listening to each other. Saying, "If it's not in my inbox, it's not real" is kind of a selfish comment, even in a workplace (better to politely ask, "Can you please email me the details?"). And it's downright dangerous to a marriage because it discounts the other person as a subordinate instead of equal partner. Plus, since they carry no body language or nuance, email and texts can easily be misunderstood and abused by both parties. This can become a very slippery slope. Like Paul and his wife, my wife and I do use notes, email and texting, but usually only for very small things -- grocery lists, errands, forwards, the occasional "here are the details" info, little "I love you" reminders and other positive reinforcements. BTW, this can also be a rich form of foreplay! (That may be a future topic idea, Paul...the pros and cons of e-communication in a good marriage.) I'm not saying don't utilize it at all for big things like arguments -- there are some of us as husbands and wives who wouldn't be able to get a word in edgewise without it, or when things have broken down so far that you feel it's your only option (marriage counseling may be a great idea if this situation is common for you)...but again, if it's a serious argument or it could grow into one, I'd ask myself, "Is this something that might be better said after I cool off...and face to face?" Just be thoughtful, that's all. And be prepared to calmly discuss what you wrote and why -- together and with computers and phones off.

The Generous Husband
The Generous Husband

@Rick - Thanks for the great thoughts. You are right that it can become a way to avoid properly dealing with things. Certainly a great way to say "I love you" or "I am thinking of you" - and we can never have too much of that. My thoughts here were to use it as a way to avoid arguments about what has or has not been communicated - and some couples have such arguments often. On most things my bride and I communicate by voice before or after an e-mail. The e-mail ensures that it was communicated clearly, and can be checked as needed.

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