Friday, May 26, 2006

Marital communication: Has it come to this?

We’re heading to Oklahoma again this weekend, this time for a niece’s graduation. Much as I do not want a repeat performance of last week’s trip, I am looking forward to getting a chance to talk with my husband Dennis. Maybe since we’re leaving in the evening this time, the kids might just fall asleep, and we if we are lucky, we will get to talk uninterrupted for even a small part of the 2 ½ hour trip.

Sad, huh? We have to go out of town to get to talk. I have a friend who has a set Friday evening date night with her husband. I admire that so much, but over the years we’ve never been able to pull it off. Our excuses: (a) it costs us a fortune in babysitting; (b) we’re usually at some kid function (or there are five or so extra kids spending the night); and (c) by Friday we’re usually dead tired.

I suppose we make up for this in a small way by sitting down as a family for supper most nights (even if that means mac n’ cheese on paper plates). After dinner we shoo the kids out of the kitchen so we can talk for a few minutes without having to say, “Hold over,” or “Elbows off the table!”

Now that our oldest can watch the little ones, we sometimes go out for coffee after everyone’s in bed. And we do have an occasional date that’s more than just a trip to Home Depot for potting soil, although when we're desperate, even that trip could be construed as romantic!

But there’s always so much more to be said. Not enough hours in the day. So we’ve sunk to new lows in our marital communication:

We email each other.

That’s right. Dennis (in recruiting) is on the phone or in meetings all day, and I’m doing whatever it is that I do
here. We talk once or twice during the day, but it’s usually an “I love you” call with little time for much detail.

So what do we email? Mostly schedule items, items we want to talk about later, decisions to be made about the house, kids. While I’m thinking of it, I shoot him an email so he can know what’s going on here. He sends me his schedule, his travel itinerary, his initial thoughts back. That way we’ve laid the groundwork, and by the time we can talk on the phone or talk in person, we can get right to the point and we don’t have to waste time.

It’s more than just good business, although we’ve saved each other from many a missed baseball game by that reminder email.

Nothing fills my emotional cup more than knowing my husband is on the same page with me.

So in its own weird way, this seemingly unexciting communication tool has tremendous romantic implications. My husband, the astute man that he is, is very aware of this, and is most eager to participate.

On our “agenda” to talk about this weekend:

- Nail down July vacation details.
- Ongoing discussion about whether to hold back or put 4-year-old in kindergarten next fall (turns 5 in July – Sept. 1 is the deadline here).
- Decide whether to let 12-year-old participate in expensive summer volleyball program.
- Fix (or pay to have fixed) that squirrel hole in the siding
- Figure out how to bring our grocery bill back from its journey into the stratosphere.

I’m sure there are some other things…

I’ll have to go through my emails and check.


Nettie said...

It is so good that you have figured out a way to include communication with each other in your busy lives. And, I had to laugh at your home depot date suggestion. We recently had a very nice date at Lowe's!

Code Yellow Mom said...

It HAS come to this...:)Very funny and accurate picture of finding a way to communicate with the one you need to the most. And "Nothing fills my emotional cup more than knowing my husband is on the same page with me" is one of the greatest truths of marriage, I think.

(Can I put in my two cents worth about the kindergartner? Hold her back. My sister and I were both on the edge of the deadline, I went to kindergarten "early" and my sister went "late" - a year later. Academically, it didn't make a lot of difference, but socially/emotionally it was huge - my mom often wished she would have held onto me a little longer. Hope that's not too nosey of me...:))

Karla said...

I often leave messeges on my husband's voice mail during the day so I don't forget to tell him important things(he's a teacher so I know he won't be able to answer most of the time). It is nice to have him on the same page.

Nettie said...

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Millie said...

I will never forget teaching something in Relief Society and I mentioned that my hubby and I email each other several times daily, and can get quite flirty. One older sister smiled and stage whispered, "CYBER SEX!"

I don't think it's bad that you have to go out of town to get a chance to talk... it's a time out from the ordinary daily stuff, and isn't it great that the first thing you think of to do is talk to your sweetie? Hubby and I have great talks on trips. I look forward to them. :) Hope you had a good time.