Wednesday, May 31, 2006

whistle for me, my love

In my marriage, there are a couple of 'issues' which crop up again, and again, and then once again, just in case we'd forgotten. I suspect other marriages also have their own recurring conflicts. (If not, we are in deep trouble!)

Sometimes I find it depressing how nothing seems to change. Sometimes I find it vaguely we go again, where I say 'blah blah', and he says 'dum de dum'. Mostly, I just accept that two people can never live together in perfect harmony, and that we both do try to make each other happy. We may not get it right all the time, but mostly we do. Our arguments have become less frequent and less heated over time.

Something that has always driven me crazy is when Fatty doesn't listen to me. It wearies me even to tell you the details, so often have I tried to explain to this dear man what I would like from him. It is all rather like shouting into a gale-force wind! The fact is, I am fascinated by people, and love to hear their thoughts and feelings, whereas my beloved husband is fascinated by IPods, birds, football, and composting bins. Hence, my chosen topics of conversation often bore him silly.

One night, not so long ago, I spoke to Fatty about how I had realised how I had judged someone too quickly. (I had met the mother of one of Laura's school friends, found her to be a bit bossy and gossipy, and decided she was not someone I wanted to spend any time with. In time, I discovered she was an incredibly thoughtful and generous person, with a huge heart). I was amazed by the lesson I had learnt from being too quick to judge - I thought what I was discussing was terribly interesting. Fatty, on the other hand, was showing his ennui in no uncertain terms - yawning, lying staring up at the ceiling, making no response other than an occasional disinterested 'mmm' or 'uh-huh'.

When I finally snapped, and told Fatty how awful it made me feel to have him barely bothering to interact with me, he explained in not-so-many-words that what I was talking about bored him (my husband is nothing if not honest). He was not trying to make me feel bad, he continued, it was just that the subject matter left a lot to be desired. WELL. In my steeliest voice, I replied that not all conversation was for the sole purpose of entertaining him. I suggested that he would never treat a stranger in the street in that way.

We talked it through, and I admitted maybe I don't sound riveted, either, when he talks about who's been injured in his favourite football team. We are different, and that is part of the attraction. I conceded I would try to pick my moments - for example not chatting away merrily at bedtime (but why can't I? It's so much fun; just like a sleepover!). Fatty decided he would try to show more interest in my thoughts and feelings. He vowed to .... drum-roll..... start reading my blog! (yes, folks, my posts are eminently accessible to my life partner yet he NEVER reads them)

So now, my dearest Fatty, I am checking to see how you're going with that resolution of yours. The signal that you've read my words will be this - when we go to bed tonight, whistle the call of the magpie softly into my ear.

I can hardly wait.


Mimi said...

Well when you work all of this out please let the rest of us know how you did it. My husband does listen to me but we have our own unique ways of irritating each other. As long as you are working at it and making some progress I'd say good for you. I know it sounds trite but I do think the key is communication.


shellyC said...

I have learnt that if you "dramatise" what you want to say a bit and make is sound like it is a problem that needs an answer (even though it doesn't) you might get a bit more attention paid to what you are saying...from a man that is!!!
Men are from Mars - Women are from Venus. I didn't read that much of the book, but the first few pages state that men listen more when there is a problem to fix...just plain talking...well that is best left to women and women friends!

TUFFENUF said...

You might hear the whistle of the magpie tonight, but probably not in a week! I don't know why the people closest to us are allowed to hurt our feelings. My mother sometimes hurts my feelings with her brutal honesty. Likewise my son will tell me that he's "heard that story before, Mom". I would never think of saying anything that would make someone feel uncomfortable, and believe me in my line of work, that was sometimes pretty difficult! I guess the world is divided between the brutally honest and the wonderfully kind! I know which one you are!

Heather said...

My husband has full access to my blog and never reads it either. I am also fascinated my people and their complexities and my husband is mostly fascinated with . . . fish. ;-)

Every marriage really does have a couple of core areas from which familiar arguments tend to erupt. I suspect that Brad and I will always have arguments over certain issues.

But the making up can be so nice. ;-)

I want to know if you heard the call of the magpie.

John Cowart said...

If Ginny and I communicated, we'd have split up 38 years ago.

We feel that the important thing is not to communicate, but to assume good will on the part of your partner even when you do not understand what is going on.

While we share many interests, we are different people with individual likes and dislikes. Like oil and water we may blend, but may not absorb eachother.

Nothing wrong with that.

A poet said, "Let there be spaces in your togetherness". Sometimes we have to say, "I love you forever, but I can't stand you right this minute".

Although I've kept a diary, journal, blog for about 30 years, and although Ginny has full access anytime (with the one stipulation that she never read less than ten days worth at a sitting because no matter how pissed I am at her on one particular day, she'll see the over all tone of love in a longer passage because hardly any peeve lassts more than ten days) -- All that to say, she hardly ever reads my blog; she lives this stuff, she doesn't need to read about it.

Interestingly enough, she hardly ever reads any blog unless I particularly call it to her attention. It's just not an art form that appeals to her. The woman actually reads business news and financial reports for pleasure!

We live on the same planet, but in different worlds.

That's nice -- but sometimes agrivating.

mackeydoodle said...

I really love how you word things John.
Hope Fatty was whistling to you tonight Jelly;)

Alice said...

Believe it or not, I think you could be describing the vast majority of marriages. Many men shy clear of getting involved in discussions which call upon the emotions, and it may well be something to do with our basic survival instincts. Men are more focused on the practical survival skills and women are the nurturers, which includes our emotions.

That said, I can still understand your frustration when you want to discuss something that you feel is very important to you, but your husband cannot see the relevance to him.

Motherkitty said...

I have found through 38 years of marriage that husband thinks with the right side of his brain while I think with the left side of my brain. The result? Not always a meeting of the minds. What's interesting to me might not be interesting to hubby and vice versa.

I have always hated saying to him, you have told me that story five times already in addition to blogging about it and telling everyone within earshot the same information. Amuse me better next time. I, on the other hand, find it hard to get a word in edgewise when he starts talking and have to resort to a raised voice to be heard.

Jelly, it gets better the longer you are together. Hope that magpie sang a sweet song to you.

susan said...

Jelly, you can talk to us, we are always listening with rapt attention, hanging on every word...

manababies said...

*waves to Fatty*

My husband is hard of hearing so it's a bit frustrating to have conversations with him on the fly. We both have to be in one place, within earshot at least, and without the chatter of kids and babies in the background. Guess when that ever happens when I'm fully awake and coherent?

But I've come to realize that most of the men in my husband's family are hard of hearing, and they all cite different reasons as to how this came to be. I think it's a defense mechanism, and probably a true test of patience on the wives' parts.

T. said...

Hello Fatty!

Hope you have a whistling dixie of a good time tonight Jelly!

doubleknot said...

If you live with any one I think the problem is the same. Since my room mate has been home injured from work I have turned the TV over to him and just play around on my computer. I listen to baseball, football, poker, game shows, poker, baseball, poker, and of all things I have started enjoying watching reruns of Walker, Texas Ranger. All the westerns I usually like too. But over the Memorial Weekend I had to ask him to please no more war movies - I have Post stress and the constant gun fire was getting me on edge - wonderful he changed the channel. Good luck - don't expect too much though men just aren't interested. I talk to my mom and my sister a lot which helps.

Abandoned in Pasadena said...

I think John Cowart said it best.

Some men can just pretend at listening to us better than others.

I'm like you at bedtime...I become very chatty and want to tickle & laugh, just like a fun sleep over.

Hi, better be whistling tonight.

Flossy said...

Oh yes, it's just the same in my house! Although last evening, himself surprised me by having a conversation with me! And you know, he actually agrees with me about stay at home mums and raising kids and all that important stuff! Lucky me - no wonder I feel like I have a charmed life :)

Alice said...

So, Jelly - did the magpies whistle and the earth move?


Kerri said...

Jelly, you're describing my husband here!! He laughed out loud when he read this post...saw himself, no doubt. He always used to look either very annoyed or very bored whenever I was trying to tell him something (something very interesting, of course!! :). Now that he goes out to work, instead of milking cows and running our farm, he talks to me more about everyday happenings, and LISTENS to me more! This is quite a change from how he used to be. So you see, men CAN change! :)
So did you hear the magpie's whistle ?) :)