This post is long overdue. I don’t know why I wrote this article first. Maybe because when we woke up, Anthony totally went all men-o-pause and thought I said something I didn’t. I was like, “whoa, I didn’t call you stupid or think you couldn’t talk to and get your point across to the doc.” Let’s be clear, I may have been thinking it, and I should’ve just gone and did it myself but I didn’t say it! Bless his heart. ;)
We all know, men are very simple. The average man wants two or three things out of daily life and only uses 7,000 words a day but they aren’t counting Marines unless grunts are included. They use maybe 3,000-4,000 a day. This is no bullcrap. I’ve caught Anthony just glazed over eyes, looking at my mouth moving but he ain’t listening to me! I think sometimes they have so much on their minds they can’t multitask like our Google brains can. Ohh, those sound like fightin’/challenge to me, men?! They wouldn’t be able to juggle everything like we do in a million years. Cue the Lifetime, man hating music. LOL. Just kidding men.
So after a little “Semper Gumby” moments through our PCS across the country with two teenagers, my husband, two dogs and two guinea pigs (yes, pigs) we all survived yet got to practice what we preach a bit. It could’ve been worse right? Don’t laugh too hard ok.
So let’s be clear, we’ve found two main points that really help us in positive communication and overall in our Marine Corps family. I’m no Oprah or Ricki Lake, well maybe since she gave good advice too sometimes and I do accept wine if you somehow get extra attention from your spouse.
Active Listening. If you’re already thinking of something sarcastic to say before the other person isn’t even done talking, you’re not fighting fair. When we were first married this happened a lot. He would tell me something & I was literally creating an Excel spreadsheet in my head of all the points I could make. Guess I wasn’t “fighting fair” by actively listening & being in the moment to hear what he was actually saying after he said that first sentence because I was creating Excel columns and rows.
No Negative Rebuttals. If constructive criticism is aimed at you and you quickly think of something negative, counterproductive or completely irrelevant to the entire conversation about that other persons flaws, character or habits, you’re not fighting fair. Once, we were discussing where to eat for dinner; which I somehow in my mind flipped his comment around because I know he said I was overweight and need to eat healthier. I told him that MAYBE he shouldn’t use the bathroom with the door open while talking to me. It took us a while to eat Subway again afterwards since it was such a “remember when you went nuts…” moment. We laugh now. 7 years later.
Both points apply to both spouses. Now with age and time come maturity for some. Well this is the Marine Corps so these tips may not work while he’s wasted at a Dining In or the Ball. In those instances we know they’re all the same age, crazy teenagers. It can also apply to dealing with other people who may not have the same common sense, manners or common courtesy as yourself. Somehow it can be tougher to keep your calm in these situations so tread lightly…(cough, cough, military spouses…)
When conversations go negative, most people shut down and don’t even listen after a certain point & you start going in circles about the same thing. Sometimes it’s wise to not even begin or get into it depending on what it’s about. If its the toilet paper roll on wrong or the toilet seat down, there are worse things in life to holler about so perspective and rationality come into play here. If he gets whole milk instead of 2%, just send his cute ass back to the commissary and get some chocolate and wine while he’s there.
Momma always said, if you don’t have anything to say, don’t say it at all. I don’t think everyone got that lesson. Just saying. She also had this little plaque in the kitchen that said, “The way to be seen is stand up, the way to be heard is speak up, and the way to be appreciated is shut up.” I always wondered if my dad gave it to her. LOLLL.
Marines (men in general) have a short attention span so make your words count (remember they don’t use very many in a day) & get your point across as calmly as possible. Despite wanting to shake the shit out of them and slap them silly, breathe, and even though they probably see the red in our eyes and Lorena Bobbit twitchy hand, maybe respond in your best and calmest “Horse Whisperer voice” and say, “Babe, I’m always thinking of you and what will be best for all of us and I’m only trying to help.” After all, Bryan Adams says, “When you love someone, you’ll sacrifice. Give it everything you got…” Arguing should be the minimal part of your lives. Your spouse is the best part of this Marine Corps lifestyle and the reason you’re in it. Just eat the damn Subway and keep your possibly overreacting comments to yourself to avoid the awkward stories your family & even strangers will hear over and over.
Love, laughs and hugs to y’all!