What’s the first thing most of us wives want to do when our husbands come home from a long day at work? We want to tell him about our stressful day at work, we want him to discipline the kids for some embarrassing antic they pulled in Wal-Mart that afternoon, we ask him to take the trash out or even “nag” him about something he didn’t do- like he promised.
That’s right many of us wives are guilty of always having something to say whenever our husband “steps foot” across the threshold. It doesn’t matter if our mates are tired, frustrated or irritated from their jobs–we make it a point to get whatever glacier is on our chest off.
For the past 5 years of marriage (and 7 years of dating) I did this on a daily basis. It didn’t matter the day, time or hour I was notorious for unloading on my husband as soon as he came in from work. Usually it would be something minor but sometimes it was about major issues that came up in our family. I felt like it was his job to fix whatever problem was going on.
I did this until a year ago I learned an important lesson about communication. I learned to shut up sometimes and that silence is sometimes truly golden in a relationship.
Let me give you the story about what changed my thinking. About a year ago I had a particularly bad day at work. My boss was on me about a project I needed to finish, the kids were awful on the way home and I had just gotten a call from my eldest son’s school.
I was so stressed out that I remember pulling over just to collect my thoughts. The only solace that I had was that this was my husband’s “off day” and that as soon as I got home I’d get some peace. I was wrong. As soon as I walked in the door, I was immediately bombarded with a million problems, questions and issues–all from my husband. I had forgotten to take out some meat to cook for dinner. The washing machine was not working properly. Our neighbor had came over to let us know some strange men had been parked outside our house a couple of days ago. My mom called complaining that she hadn’t heard from me in a couple of days. All of these problems needed my attention–immediately. No one took in consideration that I had had a crappy day–no everyone needed me.
Now keep in mind I had barely gotten into the house, the kids were still in the kitchen taking off their school shoes, I still had my coat on and my phone was ringing. I had literally walked into a firestorm. From that point on I had a horrible evening. Not only was I trying to “put out” all the various fires, but my family was putting on the pressure for me to pay attention to them. Needless to say, I was stressed.
When I went to bed that night I realized something–I had just got a taste of my own medicine. Unknowingly to me, I had did this to my husband for years. Despite him working long days at a high demand job in a stressful environment, I would pile all of our problems on him as soon as he walked in the door. Who wants to come home to a mountain of problems after working in a stressful environment? No one does, especially our husbands.
The next day I decided to do something different. I decided to keep my mouth shut when my husband came home. I promised that specifically for an hour (after work) I’d leave him alone to gather his thoughts before I’d ask him to do anything or bombard him with problems.
The test came when he got home at 6pm and the day was just as hectic as before. As he opened the door, I braced myself to simply give him a hug and KEEP my mouth shut. It was hard but I kept remembering how it felt the previous day and I managed to be quiet. As he rested, I made sure to get his plate ready, I put the kids in their playroom and had shelved my hundred of issues for later that evening.
At first I think he thought I was having a mental breakdown because after an hour he came in and asked if I needed anything. Then, I let him know what had went on that day. He couldn’t solve/handle everything but he seemed much more willing to try instead of escaping to the couch for some peace.
Needless to say we all were less stressed that night and instead of getting into an argument about something petty we went to bed relaxed–and happy. From that point on, we both agreed that one of the biggest communication rules we can have in our relationship is to SHUT OUR MOUTH once in a while and give one another peace.