I’ve spent 24 of the last 35 days away from home helping to care for our daughter and her family post-surgery. Tom was with me most of that time.
A great benefit of retirement is that what I used to do alone we can now do together. I love it!
However, the final four days Tom was no longer with me. I flew home alone on Saturday. Saying goodbye to my grandkids is always difficult for my Nana heart and quite emotional. Given the fact that it had been a long time since I was alone made my emotions that much more prominent. Add to this, I was tired and less able to control the oncoming flood. I found it ironic that the tears fell from my eyes as the plane lifted from the runway. I hadn’t cried in a long time. There were so many emotions swirling in my mind all I could do was pray and ask God to help me unpack all I was feeling.
Once home, Tom and I were able to talk but it wasn’t easy.
Even after 40 years of marriage, communication about deep emotions can be challenging. Especially when you are so different in this regard. I didn’t even know where to begin. So Tom asked a couple of good questions, which helped me put into words what I was feeling.
When I finished sharing, his first response was how to help “fix it”. I laughed and said, “It’s not about the nail!”
Communication can be a difficult task. It takes commitment to listen without interrupting each other. It also takes patience to repeat what you heard to make sure you fully understand. Assumptions never help in this regard.
Listen to your spouse.
Ask questions to give clarity.
Repeat what you heard them say.
You both may discover you are more equipped than you think to help each other change and grow. An added benefit is that intimacy increases with such communication.
How have you grown in your ability to communicate?
People think I’m made of steel,
and hard beyond belief.
So confident I cannot feel
fear or pain or grief.
If I tried to tell you of last night
when breath came with agony
you’d think I was making light
and fun of what’s foreign to me.
It’s true that I make a joke
of cancer, but to survive
I can’t permit my soul evoke
tears shed to stay alive.
The stainless front is what I need,
but I’m still a man, and still, I bleed.
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We are right behind you on the 40 years and recent retirement. We have made much progress in the communication department but will never arrive to perfection. Recently, while we were preparing for our talk on communication and intimacy for a breakout session at a marriage conference, we had some real communication struggles ourselves and had to keep working on it until we came to a good place that we both felt good about.
I understand. It seems each stage of life brings new communication challenges. Makes us aware of our constant need for God’s Grace and mercy.
Thanks for sharing your honest struggle, Vickie.
Debi, I really enjoyed your article. You are so gifted!!
Thank you, Becky. You’re such an encourager! ❤️
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