Tell Me How You Really Feel

Not communicating is easier than communicating. Assuming that everything is great is easier than checking if it is. The thing about not communicating is that if you don’t (husbands), someday you might get to hear your wife tell you this:

“Some days I have to choose between taking a shower and eating.”

This is the kind of thing you get to hear when you’re not paying attention to what’s really happening in your household.  Unless you’re unfortunate enough to have a spouse that can hold everything in.  Thankfully mine cannot.

After Austin was born, our lives were turned upside down. Lori went from career woman to mother in 24 hours. At first, I was very helpful, making sure she didn’t have to do an any laundry, dishes, cleaning or cooking.

After a week or two, I got comfortable and lazy. And because she’s awesome, Lori picked up the slack. If I didn’t do the dishes, she did.  If I forgot to bring the laundry up from the dryer, she did.

I conveniently ‘forgot’ how much work she was doing at home taking care of a newborn, while I sat in my comfortable chair at a desk. I assumed that since she wasn’t complaining about anything, she must be getting better at this mothering thing and able to handle some of the housework again.

The problem is, none of my information was from outside my own head. Lori never told me that she found herself sitting around wondering what to do with her time. I never asked her if she still wanted me to keep doing all the housework.

I just stopped.

And we stopped talking about it.

Then one night, thankfully, she couldn’t take it any more and we had a very uncomfortable talk.  I listened to her describe her day, realizing how inattentive I had been, and how close to depression she was slipping.

All while I sat at my desk drinking coffee at work every morning.

It would have been much easier if she had been accusing me of being lazy, and not caring. Then I could have just gotten defensive, and we could have both felt entitled to something.

But as she poured out her heart to me, she wasn’t accusing me, she was practically begging for help. Because she was trying to do it herself and she needed my help.

You may be intuitive, you may be perceptive. But I challenge you to ask your spouse today if they need your help in some way you don’t know about.

Unless you ask, you’re just guessing.


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