Love and Listening

Sorry. You Were Talking. I Wasn't Listening

annoyed wife talking and bored husband not listening

Longtime married couples think they’ve heard it all. But after decades, love and listening may go their separate ways. In which case, even the happiest of marrieds may discover they’ve missed something important. I know. It just happened to Handsome Hubby and me. Crisis loomed!

HH and I have been married 32 years. It’s a good marriage. A happy marriage. We don’t fight. We agree about most things. We still laugh and have fun together.

But let’s face facts. After 32 years, the glow does fade a bit.

HH doesn’t buy me flowers anymore. He rarely tell me I’m the cutest girl in the room, like he used to. And he rarely comments on the clothes I wear … or notice when I’m not wearing any at all!

Yet, the other day, our love was put to a real test, a listening test.

Love and Listening Put to the Test

Of course, it involved the Golden State Warriors and the National Basketball Association Finals. (Hang in there, non-sports fan gals. It’s a universal tale of love, listening, and marriage. You will relate. I promise.)

HH was at the computer. (Where else is HH … unless he’s in front of the TV watching the aforementioned Warriors?) I was in the kitchen. He was talk/shouting at me about treating us to tickets to one of the games on a Friday. This was indeed a treat … a big, expensive treat.

I talk/shouted back over the garbage disposal, “Cool. Go for it. Thanks. Wow.”

At the same time, I confess, I wasn’t really paying attention. I mean, admit it, ladies, when your spouse of many decades talks to you from the other room (or even the same room) do you listen closely? Do you really?

Marital and Money Crisis

Anyway, when he said Friday, I hadn’t focused on which Friday he meant. BIG MISTAKE. No sooner had he hit the “buy” button and the “purchase approved” message had appeared on the computer screen, when a string of obscenities began spewing from the office. And my otherwise sweet, patient husband shouted, “Did you not hear the day I said I was getting us tickets for? Did you not listen?”

And by then, of course, I was listening. I had to. HH was standing next to me, jabbing his finger at the date on the calendar.

He had just purchased those insanely non-refundable pricy NBA finals tickets for the same night we had already obtained tickets, no, not tickets, but a table for a charity fundraiser we HAD TO ATTEND. It was an ugly marital and money moment.

Love and Listening, Where For Art Thou?

Fraught hours later, HH had re-sold the b-ball tickets, but it got me thinking. Why hadn’t I paid attention when he spoke to me? Alternately, why hadn’t he stepped away from the computer to come speak to me directly? After all, he was arranging a super nice treat for us. Shouldn’t  we have been working on it together?

And this Warriors ticket fiasco wasn’t the only time we have had communication hiccups. Lately I’ve noticed we tell each other little stuff and don’t really pay attention. “I’ve got a meeting with so-and-so, so I’ll be a little late” or “I’ll be out at a dinner meeting tomorrow. No need to make dinner.” “Boy, so-and-so really got on my nerves again today.” Nothing earth shattering, but still we don’t quite listen. We think heard it all before.

Couch Conversations and Cuddles

When we were younger, we certainly didn’t talk/shout at each other from different rooms. Of course, when we were younger, we lived in tiny apartments. So, the “office” was likely to have been the small kitchen counter or, just as likely, we would have been cuddled up in each other’s arms, more whispering and kissing than talk/shouting.

Even if we were separated by a room or two, we definitely had better hearing when we were younger, and I know, at least in my case, I was better at juggling two or three tasks at once. Ah, aging! Ah, diminished skills and diminished romancing!

The Big Night – Game and Gala
That infamous Friday arrived. We attended the gala. Happily, it was a fun event and we had a good time, but, of course, that didn’t keep us from surreptitiously – and continuously – checking our phones to see how the Warriors were doing in the Big Game.

Love and Listening Renewed

“How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.” So goes the famed sonnet by Elizabeth Barrett Browning. Enough to miss a Warriors championship b-ball game? Only the strongest of marriages survive that test! Fortunately ours did.

Yet, marital lesson learned. From that ticketing crisis forward, when HH speaks, I put down what I’m doing, look up, and listen. I now face the facts – I don’t hear as well as I used to and I don’t multi-task as well as I used to. Besides, when you can face a face as cute as HH’s, why not look up and pay close attention?

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