Why I Talk to My Husband

There’s some really hard stuff about marriage (that—gasp!—doesn’t involve our children) that we need to talk about, and it’s not what you think.

The hard stuff I’m talking about happens between the passionate love-making and the drawn-out, ego-fueled fights. The hard stuff isn’t about your baby’s poop color. Or your stressful job. It isn’t even about how to deal with your often flaky friends.

The hard stuff is about YOU.

We avoid the hard stuff like the plague and instead talk about those other things. Why? It’s easier.

Yep, you read that correctly: It’s easier to fight and love with all your might than it is to share the little stuff. You know, those small bits of happiness throughout the day. Fleeting moments of anxiety or fear. The rush you were in to get all the kids to their respective after-school activities. The fact that you never actually ate lunch (or breakfast, for that matter). The intensity of the meeting you sat through because numbers are a little low this quarter. That’s the stuff that gets tucked away, beneath the heavy. Because when you are in the middle of the child-rearing, dream-building, marriage-stabilizing stage of life, there isn’t much time for the little stuff. But, the problem is, the little stuff is the glue of your relationship. Without glue, you just have a bunch of pieces.  

Yesterday, I was out running errands. Alone. No children, no stupid Raffi song about digging in a garden blaring out of my speakers. Just Snoop Dog and I rapping at the top of our my lungs, the dry-cleaning, and a Yeti tumbler full of La Croix. It was glorious. I felt peaceful and full of joy. It was one of those fleeting moments that I became aware that I felt happy, perhaps even made a quick mental note, but that was it. It quickly became just another moment in my crazy day, unnecessary to talk about seven hours later at the dinner table. But, here’s the thing: I love me time in the car with music. I freaking love it. If I had to make a list of things that make me happy, it easily makes the top 10.

But, sharing that moment during family dinnertime is not the norm. Probably for most of us. It seems awkward to even revisit. “Hey honey, I know you’re currently getting spaghetti thrown at your head by an unruly three-year-old, but listen to me talk about how incredible my car ride was this morning.” It’s just not going to happen. Instead, we cut up food, intercept child demands, and rush to get that bath in before bedtime. That’s the stage we’re in, and that’s OK. But, the glaring problem is that if that were the only time I made for my husband and me to talk, he would never get to hear about my tiny happies, nor I his. And that would be a shame because that is a special “me” thread woven into a very busy day.

This is exactly why it’s hard to talk about. It’s just a thread, and the assumed “more important” threads are the ones that get attention. I’m not suggesting you try and talk over tiny humans at dinner as much as I am advocating for making the time to talk at some point. This is where the work begins. This is the part where the marriage gets harder and stronger. Creating that time is FREAKING HARD. Yep, I said creating, not finding, because I promise it’s not just sitting there waiting for you to find it.

How many of us have shared with our partner these silly little tidbits of who we are right now?

  • Current favorite song on the radio
  • Best meal eaten this week
  • Most dreaded part of the upcoming week
  • How you are sleeping at night
  • Something on Keeping Up with the Kardashians the local news that bothered you and why
  • A total parenting “win” for the day

I assume that some of you have and most of you have not. Why? Bigger fish to fry. Gotta get on (or back on, in my case) a budget. Gotta figure out the after-school homework schedule. Who’s taking the kids to baseball practice? Those topics are necessary, but they don’t connect us.

How do these small topics connect us? They reveal the real us. Who are you? What do you love? For me, it’s decorating for fall. Finding a favorite wine on sale. Football season. I have to make a point to offer up some of these things to my husband regularly so I don’t fall into the child topic trap. I make a point to tell him about my day before the kids’ day, and it goes a little something like this: “Hi baby, welcome home! GUESS WHAT? I got some quiet time in this morning! Eeek! And I got a pumpkin spice latte for the first time this season, and they made it so perfectly. Ahhhh, it was bliss. Oh, and I dropped off the dry cleaning…finally.” So, I share this moment with him. How does my over-excitement about overpriced coffee prove to connect us? On Saturdays, he’ll run to Starbucks to get me a latte just because he knows how happy it makes me. Boom! Connection. I’m sharing; he’s listening.

Here’s the tricky part: What if you or your partner isn’t the best at sharing? Well, you have to work harder. But, if you’re reading this, now you know—and knowing is half the battle. You might have to be in charge of asking the questions. Model the behavior/communication you want in your marriage. Don’t ask, “How was your day?” but instead, “What was the happiest part of your day?” (or the most stressful, the most rewarding, etc.). Ask questions that you actually want to know the answer to. That’s just a lesson in being real. And being real is, quite frankly, the best gift we can give to ourselves AND our relationship.

Also, I talk to my husband because I want to. Genuinely, I love talking to him because it’s mutual. I’m not talking at him (most of the time); it’s an actual conversation. We chose to get married eight years ago, and I want to be married another million. So, I make time to share the me he fell in love with, not just the mom me. He didn’t even know the mom me when we got married—I had other parts. It’s difficult to remember that about our partners sometimes, but it matters to our marriage. So we talk. A lot. About Snoop, instead of baby poop. It’s an obvious choice.

Erin is a born and raised San Antonio native. She is a proud graduate of Southwestern University, St.Mary's University and Texas Tech University. After graduate school, she married the love of her life and moved back to to town to be near both sides of their families. Together, they are attempting to raise three crazy humans: Chloe- 2011, Connor- 2014, and Charlie 2017 who make life fun, happy and hard. Erin is a marriage and family therapist and a contributor and sales coordinator for ACM. She is a lover of all things involving food, music, sarcasm and wine. And love. There must be lots of love. You can find her on Instagram at Instagram Favorite Restaurant: Nonna Osteria Favorite Landmark: Majestic Theatre Favorite San Antonio Tradition: Fiesta Arts Fair

3 COMMENTS

  1. Tammy,
    Thanks so much for reading AND for sharing. Learning how to talk to your partner comes at all stages of life, because life is constantly changing! Good for you for taking the initiative to polish your marital communication during this stage of life. I wish all the joy that comes from feeling known by your partner! May it bring you peace and closer to each other!

  2. I just read this and I’m in tears right now… this is so my life…. the part about “sharing” anyways… we have been together for 36 years, celebrating our 30th wedding anniversary in May. And we never have conversations like this… Our children are now grown up and two live on their own and one is in college – we’re past the stage that you are in so we shouldn’t have a problem drumming up conversation, but we do – my husband was able to retire young but I still work full-time and I love my job and it’s very rewarding but when I come home from a long day and he says “how was work” I always just say fine because I don’t know if he wants to hear about the details… like how one person came in and told a hilarious joke that had me laughing all day when I thought about it, or how I finally got that project done that I had been procrastinating about for weeks… and so I just say “fine” and we sit quietly and eat dinner while he watches the news and I catch up on the daily events in the local newspaper…

    My goal for this week is to tell him about the Zumba routine I mastered at class or that project I got done at work…. Hopefully we’ll learn how to “talk” again.

    Thanks for a great article!

    • Tammy,
      Thanks so much for reading AND for sharing. Learning how to talk to your partner comes at all stages of life, because life is constantly changing! Good for you for taking the initiative to polish your marital communication during this stage of life. I wish all the joy that comes from feeling known by your partner! May it bring you peace and closer to each other!

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