It happened again. After a weekend getaway, another pair of my shoes had vanished. I sought out my husband.
“Dan? Did you double-check our hotel room before we checked out?”
He shrugged. “No, didn’t think of it.”
Silently, I fumed. When I was a kid and my family visited a motel, my father would load everyone in the station wagon before going back to our room for a final sweep, making sure there were no clothing, toys – or shoes – left behind.
I always assumed that when I got married, my husband would do the same. After three lost pairs of shoes (okay, so I’m a slow learner), I realized Dan had no idea what I expected of him. It wasn’t his fault but my own.
My simple realization helped us seal this and other lurking fissures during those early years of marriage.
Once I finally explained my father’s ritual to Dan, and how I’d become so used to it that I figured he would do the same thing, we had a good laugh. He then offered to carry on the tradition, and I sheepishly thanked him.
Communicating the big and small things
Sadly, analysts say communication breakdown is one of the top reasons for divorce.
Rifts in communication may start with the small things, such as whose job it is to lock all the doors at night, before moving on to larger issues – child-rearing decisions, lifestyle preferences, money matters. The trouble lies not in discussing these issues but in ignoring them.
Now that Dan and I have been married awhile, we’ve had plenty of chances to talk openly and work to please each other.
Just the other day, I found Dan on all fours, peering beneath the beds at checkout time after a brief vacation – just as he’s faithfully done for most of our 16 years together.
I’ve learned not to assume my husband knows what I expect but to talk to him about the big things as well as the little – like lost shoes.