When my husband and I were nineteen a large part of our conversations centered around music. I thought about that this morning while I set up the children’s books for a school lesson. Having just completed a phone conversation with my spouse, albeit a texted one, I realized that the nature of the types of things we discussed had changed.
When you’re running a home together naturally you are required to discuss how best to steer the ship. Financial obligations suddenly took the forefront, often times even causing strife in a relationship that once upon a time had only held such mundane concerns as “which movie would you like to watch tonight, dear?” It was replaced with things like, “you can’t buy lunch this week. We only have $19 in the bank.”
When you became parents suddenly the topics that were exciting changed. Rather than rushing to share who was coming to concert near you, it became a thought of, you wouldn’t believe the clever thing Junior said today. Your joy was found in the successes of your offspring, your worries were diverted towards their wellbeing, and as expected most conversations tended to turn in that direction.
“How are the kids, today?”
I know as a stay-at-home mother it was easy to bombard my husband the moment he arrived with something like, “you would not believe what your daughter did today!!” If it was especially heinous it was always “your daughter,” right?
But a part of me knew I couldn’t talk to my husband about these things. I mean, not just about these things. Because he was more than just the father of my children. And I was more than just the mother of his daughters. While becoming parents was one of our greatest joys, it was not our only joy. We had begun our relationship as a joy to one another, and it was important to remember that.
As I readied the children’s schoolwork I smiled at the conversation I had just had with my spouse. He had sent me a Bible verse, and then he had sent me his observation on it. He had inserted an open-ended question, and we had conversed back and forth a wonderful dialog concerning our thoughts on this section of God’s word. I liked that he stimulated me to think about things beyond diapers and dish water, and I enjoyed how he caused me to stretch my ideas about a situation. He challenged my thinking, and he complimented my areas of weakness. And vice versa.
Yes, we still talked about bills due and bank balances, but we also still talked about music.
We shared our excitement about our growing, brilliant daughters, but we also could focus on one another.
Conversations culminated about discipline, schoolwork, and the latest cute moves perfected in ballet class. Yet at the end of the night when babies slept, the lights were out, and only the glow of hot embers from the fireplace illuminated our faces, we would talk about us. It went beyond, “how was your day, dear,” and instead comfortably merged into topics of dreams for the future, or even secret fears. Sometimes it was simply silence, as my head rested in his lap, and that was good too.
It was good to have someone you could talk to about everything, but it was also good to keep talking about everything. Not to just hash out the things that had to be discussed. In a working relationship, where schedules were crazy, and obligations were even crazier, it was easy to stop talking beyond what absolutely had to be said. But sometimes you needed to purposely not talk about those things. Sometimes you simply needed to talk about music, what the Lord was speaking to your heart, or even a recap of your favorite show on Netflix. Marriages will always run on open communication. Occasionally you might just need to reassess exactly what it is you’re spending the majority of your time talking about.