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How we talk...

I had a bit of a wake up call while on the phone with my mother-in-law last night. We were talking about family matters; health, money, you know, the sort of things that concern families. She and I were trying to work strategies for various things which would require me putting ideas to Dave that he might not necessarily be supportive of. Anyway, the conversation was coming to a close and I said I would talk to Dave and she said, "Alright, but don't let it come to words." I assured her I wouldn't and she said, "Sometimes you two say things to one another that [FIL] and I would never have said, and it upsets me to hear you both speak to one another that way."

She did, in fact, sound upset - which gave me pause.

This conversation has sat like a lump of luminescent lead in the middle of my brain space since. I've tried to push it into a dark corner somewhere so it wouldn't sit there shedding light on things I would rather not think about, but like lead, it's heavy and is going to take some effort to lift. This blog post is my attempt at lifting it.

Dave and I have a pretty good relationship. I'm quite pleased with it, in fact. My mum and dad's relationship left a lot to be desired. It wasn't pretty. I know it probably started out pretty enough and like most children of divorced parents I like to think that somewhere under all the bitterness and resentment they probably still love each other on some level, but to be blunt, they weren't very nice to each other most of the time.

Compared to that, Dave and I have a fabulous relationship. We both feel a very strong sense of commitment to one another, and we enjoy each other's company. There is a lot of affection between us.


Well, I don't know what mother-in-law might have heard us say to each other that upset her so much. Maybe it wasn't actual words that upset, maybe it was a tone of voice, or perhaps the volume in which we sometimes speak to each other. I don't know. What I do know, and this is what weighs on my mind, is that unless she has our house bugged, I can guarantee she has never heard us at our worst.

Life can be stressful at times. We have four children. We have an extremely low income (even for a family with only one or two children). Neither of us drive (yet) and so we don't go out much because we're reliant on public transport and it is extremely draining to go anywhere on public transport with four children in tow.

I would say the past 2.5 years have been tough and we've probably let it all hang out more than before in our relationship. The thing is, when you break the seal on speaking to someone else disrespectfully, and they respond in kind, it is easier to do it again next time, and so it does tend to escalate.

What mother-in-law said to me last night has shaken me because I know it is true. I know I have let familiarity breed contempt in my relationship with my life partner, and that is an infection that can't lead to any kind of good. So, I'm going to be more mindful of how I speak to Dave, because even though it's nowhere near as bad as my mum and dad used to be, it's not nearly as good as it used to be for us, or as good as I know it could be.


Anonymous said…
Wow, I think there is a lot in this post that i can relate to. It's really harsh to think about but like you I know that the way I speak is not always the way I'd like to think that I speak to my Husband, and worse still to my boy. Thanks for bringing this up because it's made me think about it and I'm going to try and alter this also.
Anonymous said…
lol, cancel that last word.
Ýr said…
Hi dearest - definitely food for thought! And so sorry about the awful role-modelling...You are right - Uff!

You don't want the boys to be able to say the same one day!

But, you are also right, there is a place where I still adore him though...and some great memories of good times and loads of laughter...and those eyes! :)

Here is my link, just in case...:
Sif said…
Lilham, I'm glad you got something from my rambling!

Oh hello mum! You know, of course, that recent role-modeling has been exemplary! Thanks for the link! You would pick THIS post to comment on, wouldn't you!
Rachael said…
You know I have heard the way some couples speak to one another and I'm shocked. Where situation normal is throwing objects and cursing at one another.

So I'm very glad this isn't DH and I *but* he has pointed out to me on more than one occasion that he is not my son i.e don't speak to him like that! I must also be aware to speak to him exactly as he is - my best friend and #1 supporter and team mate in life!!
Ýr said…
Of course! What are mothers for if not to pester a tad and be painful...;D

You know I love your blogs and visit often - thought it about time I sign in... :D

Thanks for the comments on the new site! SO much fun:D
Sif said…
Good onya mum! I look forward to reading more of you work! (I look forward to pestering and embarrassing my own children one day, too!)
I love that your mum has commented :P

My sister says to me: "Be nice to him, you're always so mean". But I disagree - my husband and I have very similar senses of humour and our calling each other names is done in fun, if we're having a genuine argument there is no name calling, that's how I know it's a real one.

BUT your point is really valid - we have to watch what we say, especially when there are children around.

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