Anyone who knows Kelli and I knows that I'm the talker and she's the quiet one. Not by definition, but if you had to decide which of those title went to which, I'd be the talker and she'd be the quiet one. I'm a little more outgoing, a little more willing to put myself out there, and she's more reserved, more introspective, more pensive.
So I don't really know why I came into our marriage believing all those marriage books and everything I'd ever heard about communication within marriage were going to apply to us. The general understanding is that wives love to chat about their days, and their husbands need to hang on their every word, all the time, because we're getting glimpses into their spirit. Communication, communication, communication. The lack of it is the number one cause of divorce, or something.
I understood this, and I was so ready. When I got home from work, I'd devote as much time as Kelli wanted to just chatting it up, as she revealed her spirit to me through conversation. I was pumped. I was going to be the best husband ever. I was going to listen to her even if she talked my ear off for five hours and then it was time for bed.
So understand my confusion when Kelli just didn't really want to talk. I'd try and broach subjects. I'd try and open those lines of communication. But sometimes she just didn't want to throw me a bone, or at least as much of a bone as I was hoping for.
Nope, sometimes I'd get home and she'd just want to put on a movie and lie on the couch with me. I didn't get it. Why didn't she want to talk to me? Was I being a good enough husband? Was I bad at conversation? Did she feel she could relate things to me? Wives are supposed to want to talk... right? Why am I the one that wants to communicate?
What I was failing to realize was that lying on the couch and watching a movie is communicating to Kelli. It speaks to her spirit just to spend some quality time together with our brains turned off and the safety that comes from marriage. She needs that.
A lot of it has to do with how we grew up. While her siblings and her were spending quiet evenings watching movies, my siblings and I were making them with home camcorders. One isn't better than the other, they're just different.
So it's the opposite of the social norm, but now, I recognize her need for the occasional quiet evening, and she recognizes my need for conversation. It's taken some getting used to, but I love loving my wife in that way.
File it under "Things You Couldn't Have Planned For." The roles are reversed, and it took some time and patience, but we were able to adapt for each other. And that's good communication.