I hope that everyone is having a wonderful summer so far. Although I was originally going to talk about all of the fun things going on in the community and great ways to enjoy the summer, there has been such a prominent theme that has been surfacing lately, that I must write about it, instead.
One particular morning my husband had left early for work and I was rushing around the house washing supper dishes from the night before, sweeping the floor, straightening any messes and getting the house organized.
I was extremely excited that we were going to finally have an evening off together and I wanted to ensure that there would be nothing that needed attention when we got in the door.
The previous days had been hectic and often there are days at a time where we are so busy that we barely see one another. This one day, I was committed that I was going to come home early, because he was going to be off after 4:30pm.
I left for work and, after a couple of hours, received a text. My husband advised that he was going to be working a double.
My heart sank. I was fuming. I expected that we would have the whole evening so we could have dinner together and spend some quality time. My blood was boiling. I was so upset.
For the rest of the day I went silent. He tried to call, on his supper break, and one of his texts to me was that he missed me. I could not help but mumble under my breath that he obviously did not miss me that much or he would not have taken the overtime shift.
I proceeded to spend the next several hours stewing. Right before I turned off my phone at bedtime, I finally decided to text my frustrations and explained how disappointed I was that he accepted the shift.
I knew that he took the shift to make extra money for us; however, I was feeling distant and was looking forward to some couple time.
There was one major problem with this whole situation – I had not told him that I was looking forward to spending time with him that evening. I just assumed that he was going to be off after his day shift and I had arranged my schedule to make sure I was going to be home at the same time.
Often, I work well into the late evening and any other day, it would not have been a big deal. I was in a twist because I had an expectation about something, which was all planned in my head, but not communicated to him.
After I pouted all day, I went to bed grumpy, ignored his effort to say that he was sorry, once he arrived home, and went the whole entire night giving him the cold shoulder. I was so shut down that I did not even want to talk about it.
He felt so bad. He apologized for not running it past me and truly did not realize that it was a problem, until I finally expressed my feelings properly, in the morning.
I apologized for my childish episode and was reminded how a lack of communication can cause so many issues and derail the strongest of relationships.
He was sincerely apologetic, because he did not know I had anything special planned and he said he would be sure to run any overtime shifts past me, in the future, before accepting them.
I wasted several precious hours of my life being stuck in a funk because I failed to communicate that I was missing him and needed time with him or that I was looking forward to seeing him after work.
He realized that talking with me about the fact that he was thinking about taking an overtime shift might be a good idea in the future. I explained that if he is not able to reach me then certainly decide on his own, but at least give me the opportunity to discuss it, as it would have allowed me to share any plans I had (in my head).
In the end, after discussing this thoroughly, it all worked out and we dedicated the next evening to be together. It is remarkable; however, just how many issues arise in relationships when couples, family members, friends, business associates or work colleagues fail to communicate properly.
Good communication can be about expressing feelings in a healthy way, letting people know how much you care about them, saying sorry when called for, involving others in planning or scheduling, sharing information that is relevant, telling somehow how proud you are of them, establishing guidelines that will allow interactions to function more smoothly, including people in the loop about your plans, or outlining anything else that might be important.
If communication is lacking, then assumptions are made and expectations are established, which when not met, can be so frustrating. Assume nothing, is what I will now use as one of my mottos. It might be worth reflecting if there anything you need to share with someone…
Communicate, communicate and communicate; at least if you want healthy relationships.
“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” – George Bernard Shaw