Recently I’ve been looking for ways to improve my communication with my wonderful wife. Any time I walk away from talking with her and feel anything negative, from her or in myself, I examine what we just said. I look at what I said, and compare it to what I actually meant. I look at how she might have perceived what I said, and how it might differ from what I meant. I think about what she said, and how she might have meant something other than what I perceived her to be saying. Yes, I’m putting it all on myself; not because she’s perfect, but because I can examine myself far better than I can examine her, and because I can change myself. Sometimes my thoughts lead to a discussion with Lori, sometimes not.
The other day I walked into the kitchen to put out butter so I could make toasted cheese sandwiches for lunch. The butter dish was not on the table, so I said to my dear wife, who was at the sink, “Where is the butter dish?”
My assumption was she had washed it, and I wanted to know where she put it – but that is not what I said. I didn’t ask if she knew where it was, I asked where it was as if it’s her responsibility to know at all times where the butter dish is hiding. I realise I do this often, asking as if she knows, or should know, where something is, when what I mean to ask is if she knows where something is.
This is probably a minor thing, but it pokes her in a place she was poked a great deal as a kid, so it does sting a bit. Not enough to start a fight or even get a comment most of the time, but still, I don’t want to poke sore spots if I can avoid it. So, I will work on asking “Do you know…”, and I will accept “No” as a valid answer.
If you learn to examine your communication when you feel something did not go as it should, I bet you too will find ways to make your marriage a bit better.
By the way: The butter dish was by the stove, where I left it. Oops!