“It’s so hot outside. Eva and I are buckled in and waiting for air conditioning. Why on earth is he standing outside the van reading the grocery receipt again? He did that inside the store twice.”
Daniel looked at the receipt several times that day, fixated on the turmeric I purchased. I saw him Googling™ it, comparing prices at local stores. I didn’t understand why.
I buy a new bottle of turmeric every few months. It had been longer than normal between purchases, but this was not a new thing. My family accompanying me to the supermarket was out of the ordinary, but I didn’t see why a bottle of turmeric was such a big deal.
He seemed confused and asked me about it a few times throughout the day.
“Why do you need turmeric?”
“I use it every day.”
“Yes I know, but you can buy it at other places besides our normal supermarket. Didn’t you know?”
“Of course I know, but I was already there and the price for a bottle doesn’t vary more than a few cents no matter where you buy it.”
“I don’t think you understand. I found four different stores where turmeric is at least ten dollars cheaper than what you paid.”
“Ok, but yesterday we discussed this month’s grocery budget and I didn’t exceed it. I don’t buy turmeric often and this was a really good deal. I won’t need to buy more for several months.”
“No you won’t. I’m sure with that price, the bottle must be massive.”
“Why does it matter so much?”
“I guess it doesn’t. I just don’t understand.”
Frustrated sighs from both of us.
Two more versions of this conversation happened before bed time.
If you had been a fly on the wall during these discussions, you would have noticed at first, they were friendly. While they never turned into a serious argument, the strain to be patient with each other grew. Especially with me, when I noticed Daniel rummaging through the spice cabinet, then the rest of the kitchen, with intermittent internet searches for turmeric products. What in the world?
Daniel’s unspoken thoughts:
“Why does she need so much turmeric? Why did she think that price was a good deal?”
“I’ve been buying turmeric for two years. Has he just now noticed?”
In the evening while Daniel set the alarm, I turned down the covers and reflected on a good, but unusual Saturday. I decided to try to understand one more time.
“Why have you been Googling™ turmeric and explaining better ways for me to buy it? You’ve done that several times today. And you seem a little frustrated with me. Why?”
“Because $12.99 is a lot of money for something like that. And I think the cashier at the grocery didn’t even bag it or you’ve misplaced it, because I can’t find it.”
“I put it in the medicine cabinet.”
“Because I always do. You know that.”
“You…are talking about a supplement?”
Daniel shook his head and sighed.
“I thought you bought it for cooking. I was looking for a massive bottle of thirteen dollar turmeric. I didn’t know what you were thinking.”
“Oh. That would have been stupid. No one needs that much for cooking.”
“Exactly. That’s what I’ve been thinking all day. Sorry. I couldn’t figure out why you would do that. I thought maybe you didn’t understand there were more options.”
“I didn’t understand why you cared so much.”
We laughed as I switched off my lamp.
If you’ve been struggling with communication in your marriage- be encouraged!
In March, Daniel and I will celebrate our 15th Anniversary. He speaks three languages and has been teaching English to adults for several years. I’ve seen how wonderfully he communicates with students. He studied Cross Cultural Communication and Education. Inside and outside the classroom, he’s so gifted at helping people of other cultures grasp important concepts that they will be able to use in everyday life.
I studied Communication as well– not because I’m perfect at it, but because it intrigues me. I want to learn about it the rest of my life. Fifteen years ago I did not fully understand how marriage would be the most intense classroom for “keeping up to date” in interpersonal communication. Honestly, I struggle with that area the most. Thankfully, God gives so much grace.
Apparently Male/Female communication is a tough culture to cross sometimes. It’s still very possible for Daniel and I to misunderstand each other. Even after all this time.
Communication is an important skill we never stop refining- especially in relationships where people are together often. God brings an array of people and personalities into our lives in the process of conforming us to the image of His Son. Sometimes it’s difficult to appreciate the differences, but what we learn and how we change are invaluable. In these we see facets of our Creator reflected in others and ourselves.
©2017 Chrissy Winslow – All Rights Reserved
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