Let’s get it out into the open. It’s my fault. But do I have an excuse? Yes, I’m a husband. Although somewhat housebroken, a husband I still am.
You’d think that after 12 years of marriage I’d be able to communicate with The Wife at least to an extent that I could understand exactly what it is I’m supposed to do. Sadly though, sometimes we speak different languages.
She speaks English. And I, of course, must be speaking something else. How else could I explain not understanding what she says? Now, I could blame it on Mrs. Newsome, my tenth-grade English teacher at Briarwood Home of the Mighty Buccaneers. But if I’m honest, it’s probably still my fault.
There’re some chinks in this Knight’s shiny armor after all.
For example, when The Wife asks for some quiet time during the one show she likes to watch Saturday mornings, she actually means for me not to talk. The normal ramblings of her husband, although riveting I assure you, are not as important as her time to sit, sip morning coffee, and unwind from a stress-filled week.
Yes, I know it may sound ridiculous that I haven’t figured out by now that she would opt for a moment of peace rather than hear the same stories I tell over and over again. But it’s true. And if I understood English, I would know already what quiet time means and I would try to be a bit more thoughtful.
There’s some tarnish on the old armor.
It seems that helping with the laundry is not a bad thing. It’s a thoughtful thing. But to load the washing machine full of different colored clothing, start it, and then walk off only to forget about it ... isn’t.
Wet clothes don’t walk themselves to the dryer after all. Nor do they fold themselves, nor put themselves away. Nope, helping with the laundry means all of these things.
And if I wasn’t so busy watching television or getting wrapped up in a new project and losing track of time, I’d know this by now. Then again, I am a husband and still in training.
There’s a troublesome dent in the armor also.
The difficulty I have understanding the English language doesn’t transfer to The Wife. She’s well versed in not only her understanding of it, but understanding her knight as well. When I come home after a hard, emotionally draining day at the fire department, she takes one look and knows I need some comforting. And comfort she does.
By the end of the evening, all is once again well in the realm. On the other hand, this ability has not been cultivated in yours truly as of yet. Instead, when she has had a bad day, I’ll not pick up on the subtleties. Instead, Sir Clueless here blunders around, complaining of this bill or that, totally missing out that she needs a compassionate knight.
The Wife wants a husband that will listen and comfort her. This is just one of the areas that Sir Clueless here needs to work on.
But fear not! All is not lost! Last weekend the armor was overhauled.
The Wife and her Sir Clueless of a husband sat down and went to work. Together we tapped out the chinks in my armor, banged out the dents, and polished out all that tarnish. Having an honest conversation is the way to help forge a loving, thoughtful, and compassionate relationship.
Even if you speak English and your husband speaks ... well ... doesn’t seem to understand English, it’s amazing what changes can occur by telling him exactly what you really need. I know he’s supposed to know, but take it from me, for the most part we’re clueless.
Even though we’re knights in shining armor, we’re husbands still in training.
[Rick Ryckeley, who lives in Senoia, has been a firefighter for more than two decades and a columnist for The Citizen since 2001. His email is firstname.lastname@example.org.]