Thursday, May 26, 2011
The 5 Things I Love About You
My husband has always been a very quiet, introverted person. On our first date, I don't think he said more than a few words the entire day. We had fun, don't get me wrong, but our 2 hour drive home was pretty quiet. I kept asking questions, trying to get him to open up, and most were answered concisely, with little to no elaboration. He takes a lot of time (sometimes days or even weeks) to formulate his thoughts and words. This is just the man he is.
In stark comparison, as probably exemplified in these ridiculously long blog posts of mine, I almost always have a lot to say. I'll admit, I am often loud, and have a tendency to "overshare" when I'm talking to people. I will tell anyone what I am thinking about anything, everything, and at any given time, and sometimes end up rubbing people the wrong way. (Not that that is ever my intention.) I think on my feet and can answer any question about anything on the spot. No processing necessary. (Which has resulted in regular "foot-in-mouth" moments.)
So my husband's quiet nature, contrasted with my own boisterous personality, causes insecurities in me, and annoyance in him. I am often left feeling like he just doesn't want to talk to me. I love him for who he is, and don't want to change him, but unlike me, he doesn't see the need to constantly reiterate the things he says. However, I like the regular reiterations. Like, really like them.
Last night, as we were falling asleep, I asked him, "Just for my own curiosity's sake, tell me 5 things you like most about me. Don't think about it, just fire them off." He turned the table with, "Well, its your idea, you tell me first." So I did.
Here are my Top 5:
* He's emotionally stable and strong
* He's a hard worker and provider for our family
* He's funny
* He can build or fix just about anything
* He does lots of special little gestures and outings for our kids
He then shared his with me.
Here are his Top 5:
* I am a good cook
* I am a good mom
* I am funny
* I am a caring mom (I told him this was cheating because he already said I was a good mom, and he told me they're different. Being a caring mom refers to all the "above and beyond" things I do, such as my son's special Feingold diet.)
* The last one is just between us, so I'm keeping mum. ;)
I fell asleep feeling more satisfied and validated than I have in a long time. He didn't say much, but he said enough.
While he was making his list, I resisted the urge to interrupt or ask for elaboration. After he listed his five things, I just laid there and absorbed it. I think maybe I just had a breakthrough! I had figured out how to get what I wanted to know, the validation I so desperately was seeking, without freaking him out!
I think maybe the key to communication in relationships, is to know how much is enough - and not to go over or under. If you need to tone it down, tone it down. If you need to step it up, step it up. Either way, its going to be a foreign feeling. But if our conversation last night was any indication, it can work. All I needed to do was ask, and not overask. Dang! If I'd known it was that easy, I'd have done it a long time ago!
So I am feeling good this morning. I am feeling proud of myself for communicating effectively. And I'm feeling loved and appreciated. I have reminded myself of what is so great about my husband, enlightened him to what I value most about him, and been enlightened as to what he sees as my greatest contributions to his life, our children, and our family. And so I feel grateful for who I am, the husband I have, the children I have, and the life that I have.
I'd love to hear your thoughts. What would your "Top 5" be about your partner?