Communication is many things. Heard, misheard, code word, wrong word… and between couples, a 4-letter word. Attempting to translate the alien language of the opposite sex proves to be difficult, frustrating, and, at times, futile. In the words of Charlie Brown’s teacher, “wa wah wa wah wah wah wa wa.” Or something like that. Maybe this was some code language understood by the Peanuts gang alone. But so often, I wish Lucy, in all her smart-ass future feminist extremist attitude, would yell from her desk…
“Enunciate bitch! We can’t understand you”
Obviously, conversation doesn’t always equal communication. One can talk endlessly without saying a thing. And one can speak volumes without being heard at all. Successful communication requires both speaking and listening. I once read that we have one mouth and 2 ears…so we should listen twice as much as we speak. Yet, we don’t. The longer we’re together, the less we listen.
I sometimes watch older couples in restaurants…wondering what they’re talking about, how connected they are, or whether they’re existing side-by-side oblivious to the other. Body language reveals so much about a couple’s mojo. Many times, I’ve watched as a wife eats and jabbers on about whatever is on her mind. She talks, but he’s not listening. This person she’s conversing with hasn’t diverted his attention from the edible orgasm on his plate in 20 minutes. He has no idea that she’s talking, let alone what she’s saying. Yet, she yammers on…and on…never seeming to notice that her “communication” is being upstaged by the perfectly seasoned and sauteed carcass that’s giving him more oral action than he’s seen in a long time. By this point of my stealthy stalking, I’m not sure who I pity more…they both seem immersed in their own worlds, bored to death, and hardly connected. Their exchange, or lack of it, fascinates me. I watch. I analyze. I wonder…
Would he “stand up” and take notice if she sandwiched that meat between her boobs while she spoke? 😉 I’m kidding. Ok, so I’m not. Of course he would!
Are they happy? Or have they mutually surrendered to a lonely parallel existence?
Any long time couple can relate. After years of “togetherness,” we inevitably lose touch without realizing it. We assume that because we share close proximity, we’re also close emotionally. And on some levels, we are. Living together IS close. Intimately personal gestures like putting ass to toilet seat while the other scrubs unmentionable areas in the shower requires a certain level of closeness — wouldn’t you say? 😉
But again, that’s physical proximity. Parallel existence is not communicating. It’s not connection. It’s not enough. Or so says the half of marriages that end due to loss of that connection.
Experts say there’s a reason we reach the “My husband/wife doesn’t understand me anymore” point in a marriage. And that reason is lazy communication. Research shows that we sometimes communicate better with strangers than with our own spouses. That long-time couples get to know each other so well that we assume too much shared information..and consequently, share less. The less we share, the less we understand, the less connected we feel. When communicating with a stranger, we realize they know nothing about us. So, we share more. More detail, more emotion – more in general – in an attempt to be understood. But when speaking to our spouse for the umpteen billionth time in a year, we mentally calculate (x number of years together = can read my mind). We falsely assume they know what we’re feeling and thinking. So we don’t bother to delve too much into it.
Like our bodies, our brains get comfortable…and lazy. After winning over our partner in marriage, we may let ourselves go, not make time for exercise, and avoid giving our mid-section a little in-spection. Our brains are no different. We get comfortable and let our communication slide. Maybe we eventually feel we’re repeating ourselves and stop. Maybe we feel the other doesn’t care, so why bother. Maybe we just assume he/she already knows…or should know what we’re feeling. And when “he” doesn’t, watch out! Because he should…right? Our brains are devious and self-protective enough to convince us that it’s the “other” spouse who doesn’t understand “us.” Or can’t read our mind. The lazy brain prefers to shift blame elsewhere. But to be heard and understood, Express Yourself!
If we’re failing to communicate and stay connected due to comfort, maybe we’re, in fact, too close for comfort. Sometimes we just get in a rut, take one another for granted, and grow bored. But remember the beginning of your relationship? When communication wasn’t a chore? When it came without effort? Communication just was, wasn’t it? We didn’t think twice about it. What else just was? Sex, cuddling, emotion. It all goes hand-in-hand. We communicate because we want to be closer. We want to be closer to have sex and a connection. So, a lack of communication will result in a lack of connection will result in a lack of sex will result in a lack of communication will result in a lack of connection will result in a lack of sex. Round and round we go. Where we get off – and don’t “get off” – we all know. Splitsville.
We can walk around with our iPods, iPhones, iAlones tucked securely in our pockets every single day. Reliably close. But if we don’t plug in the headphones and listen, we won’t appreciate them and will eventually decide we don’t need them around. Or someone else may steal them from our reliably close pocket when we’re not “listening.”
A happy couple needs three things to thrive: connection, love, and sex. Each relies on the other for success. If one falls to the wayside, the others follow in a domino effect.
Maybe the man in the restaurant would be less into his meal and more into his wife if he knew she’d be into him later in bed. After all, men communicate for sex. Women have sex to communicate.
So connect, communicate, and fornicate.
Plug in, tune in, “come” in. 😉
“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” ~ George Bernard Shaw