Read any marriage book, and you will likely learn some variation of the following:
- Women need to talk.
- Men need alone time…in their “cave”
- Women need to discuss their feeeelings.
- Men are incapable of discussing feeeeelings.
- Women need “face-to-face” time (talking together).
- Men need “side-by-side” time (doing an activity together).
Now, I say the following with tremendous respect and love and affection and admiration for my beloved:
My husband is such a woman.
(It’s OK. He already knows it. I’m not saying anything he hasn’t already heard a million times.)
We defy every marriage book out there. We have assumed the exact opposite marriage roles – at least as far as relational interaction goes.
I’m the one who needs the cave. He needs to talk. I have no immediate opinion about my feelings on any given subject. He still wants to know, and will badger me until I
make up something tell him what he wants to hear. My ideal together-time involves sitting together and watching TV. His ideal time is talking endlessly without taking a breath.
We’re so screwed up.
But here’s the thing. I have little people talking to me all day long. All. Day. Long. They don’t shut up. And frequently, they all talk to me at the same time. I’ve seriously considered changing my name, because “Mom/Mommy/Mama/MOOOOOMMM!” isn’t so much working for me. Mama just wants a little piece of quiet.
When all the precious little people are tucked quietly in their beds, and I drag my weary body and exhausted mind down the stairs to sit on the couch, I just want to sit. I don’t want to talk. I want quiet.
But my beloved…my dear, sweet beloved…he loves me so much that he wants to know what I’m thinking. What I’m feeeeeling. He wants to connect.
I just want quiet.
And a cave. A nice, quiet, dark, peaceful cave. With a nice, big, comfy couch. And a nice, warm blanket.
So we have a little conflict. We’re working on it. We’ve been working on it for about 11 of our 14 years of marriage.
(Meghan just turned 11. You connect the dots.)
(I fully realize that many, many, many women would kill for a husband who wants to invade her world and talk about feelings and thoughts. I don’t take it for granted – really. I’m crazy about him. I’m just saying that my husband’s wonderful, warm, loving soul does not always mesh with my cold, insecure, introverted world. That’s all.)
Last weekend, the five of us headed in different directions: Meghan went to a preteen retreat with the church, Michael and Griffin went to visit his parents, and Nathan and I stayed home.
(Nathan was supposed to go with Michael while Griffin and I had “Mommy and Griffin Time” – which he desperately needs every once in a while, being the confused middle child and all – but Nathan came down with strep throat, so we had to rearrange our plans…blah, blah, blah…so there ya go.)
Nathan and I took full advantage of sick time, which in my world translates to TV and pajamas. ‘Cause he was sick, which requires low stimulation and comfortable clothes. I put him to bed early – because he was sick, of course! – took a long, hot shower, put on my fuzzy pajamas, cuddled up in a big, comfy chair with a nice, warm blanket, and settled in front of the TV for some nice, quiet channel surfing.
And no talking. Nothing but blissful, peaceful silence – and brainless TV, including The Singing Bee which, OH MY WORD, was so addicting. And then there was What Not To Wear, which made me question every article of clothing in my closet. I stayed up way too late, but my inner introvert was so happy. Oh so happy.
By Saturday afternoon, Nathan no longer had a fever and a sore throat. But technically, he was sick, so we had a nice, quiet, relaxing time at home. I did some more cleaning out (in my pajamas), and later in the day, we did venture out to get new shoes for him (because his shoes that I bought in August were TWO SIZES TOO SMALL). But mostly, a relaxing day. With minimal talking.
Nathan strongly favors Michael in his need to fill small chasms of silence with meaningless verbage – a fact that ironically drives Michael bananas – but Nathan can be adequately distracted with a beautiful little gadget called a Leapster. Loooove the Leapster.
I’m such a great mom. Mom O’The Year, right here, folks.
We picked Meghan up at the church early Saturday evening, zipped her over to a birthday party, zipped through the drive-thru, zipped home for a quick dinner, then zipped Nathan up to bed. I still had a good two hours of blissful quiet left in the evening before Michael and Griffin came home.
Happy, happy Mama.
Fast forward to Sunday morning. Lots of noise. Lots of chaos. Lots of arguing. Lots of talking.
(“Everybody just shut up and get ready to go worship the Lord!!!”)
(Not what I actually said, but what I was certainly thinking.)
Grumpy, grumpy Mama.
It took me a little while to get out of the grumps.
Doing so was especially difficult when two TVs were on two different channels, drowning out my nice relaxing music from my iPod, while three energetic children were expressing their jubilation with great volume.
Oh, how I missed the piece of quiet.
Somehow I managed to make it through the afternoon without killing anyone – but I wasn’t happy about it.
A visit from this little guy improved my mood significantly:
The lesson here? I am a textbook introvert, and I recharge my batteries with silent alone time. When I can’t get quiet alone time, I get grumpy. When I have quiet alone time, and then my surroundings are no longer quiet nor alone, then I get grumpy.
Makes you want to spend time with me, huh?
As I sit here typing this, much joyful chaos and jubilant exclamations surround me. I’m trying to simultaneously tune it out and soak it in. Someday my house will be very, very quiet – and I’m certain I will miss all the noise. So I need to remind myself to suck it up, enjoy the cacophony…and get the little suckers in bed as soon as possible.