The British dating site ForgetDinner.co.uk wrote that a couple married for fifty years will talk to each other tor only three minutes during an entire dinner hour. The Sunday section of The Chicago Tribune featured a cover story by Nara Schoenberg detailing the importance of having quality conversations everyday for ten minutes. This entails "sharing your private feelings, fears, doubts, and perceptions with your partner." Since we've been married for over twenty three years, I thought this would be a piece of cake, but after reflecting on our years together, I realized ten minutes could be an eternity.
When the kids are away at school we normally discuss if either one of us has heard from them. If I say "yes" then my husband's next response is "at what time?" For some reason that particular question sets me off into a tirade and the discussion ends quickly. While most husbands fantasize about their wives greeting them in a sexy strapless gown; mine would be perfectly happy if I held out a rib roast and strapped on a Timex. The next time I spoke to one of the boys I wore my watch, and told him every detail of the conversation. This lasted about four and a half minutes. Maybe we needed to go deeper.
The article talks about research scientist Terri Orbuch's theory of "affective affirmation" to show your partner how much you love them. This could mean anything as simple as offering a hug to show your appreciation. After my husband washed my car, I threw my arms around him to show him my gratitude. This worked well for about twelve seconds until my husband turned me around at the right angle so he could face the TV. Later when I called him on it he apologized and offered up an even bigger hug. It took me a few minutes before I realized he was also reading the sports section while I was backed up against the kitchen counter.
The truth of the matter is we're both perfectly happy talking about everyday inconsequential things. My husband is more than willing to talk about almost anything with me as long as it doesn't involve screaming, whining or spending money. Tonight we even hit the ten minute mark at dinner with topics ranging from the weather to what's on TV. For all of the other stuff, that's what girlfriends are for.
(This was originally posted on January 18, 2011)
We talk a lot about 'stuff.' We share a lot of interests though, so a good portion revolves around those things. (My wife can run with the best of them when it comes to movies, music, and sports.) Good to know we're probably beating the odds.ReplyDelete
That is an odd phenomenon, isn't it? At least you know you aren't alone. How much can people have to talk about after 23+ years?ReplyDelete
It's been 38 years for us. I really don't know what that article is talking about. I can't get mine to shut up.ReplyDelete
Delores, You just make him so happy that he probably doesn't know what to do with himself!Delete
Alex - We also love movies. We just saw The Silver Lining Playbook which has something for everyone in it. With sports, dancing and romance, it's the perfect date movie that I'm sure you and your wife would enjoy. We all know what a great listener you are Alex, so it's no surprise that you would beat the odds.ReplyDelete
Tonja - Now it's been 25+ years, and we still find lots of things to talk about. The trouble begins when you start thinking too much about it.
We were so fortunate this weekend that all the kids were in town for the Holiday, and with two of them getting engaged, it made it all the more special.Delete
Congratulations Ira! We knew about Josh, but who is the second? Now you have double the celebration! We will call you and Elise soon.Delete
My parents don't talk much. They will be married 50 years next July. But, they never did talk about a lot. My husband and I talk still, but it has only been 17 years since we moved in together. Who knows in 6 years?ReplyDelete
My husband and I can have nice long talks when there are things to talk ABOUT. On a day to day basis, when not much is happening, then we tend to just hang out--side by side. We snuggle every night while watching TV but I guess we don't necessarily TALK that much. I don't think there's anything wrong with that though. We've been married twenty-five years and are totally, completely in love. So it's all good. :)ReplyDelete
Hmmm well I can have conversations with the cat that last longer than 3 minutes haha, but that is all around here for me, unless I want to talk to the wall.ReplyDelete
Ruth - So it's obviously working for your parents. I'm sure that you and your husband will be happy for many years to come.ReplyDelete
Tamara - I think that there's a happy medium and you've found it. Snuggling while watching TV is the best. There is such a thing as comfortable silences, and when things start becoming uncomfortable there's a problem. Here's to another 25 more wonderful years together!
Pat - As long as your cat is a good listener, you've got it made!
Before I was married I used to look at couples in restaurants who didn't talk to each other and think, "how sad." Now that's me, and I'm kind of okay with that. By dinner we've already used up our ten minutes of conversation for the day, and all we want is something to eat. :)ReplyDelete
Well, now that the election is over, and we are talking again instead of arguing -- it's all about -- wait a minute I have to go upstairs and ask him. He's into 24 sports now and our conversations are -- oops -- nonexistent!ReplyDelete
But that's okay, whenever he wants (maybe once since we married) to talk I'm always writing, lost in an imaginary world were talk is never the problem. I can't hear a word he says. :)
L.G. - Hey, you don't want to talk with your mouth full. The worst is when you see couples who are playing on their cell phones during their entire meals. My older son has mastered sneaky under-the-table texting, so this will never be a problem for him.ReplyDelete
Yolanda - I also look forward to when the football season is over, but then there will still be basketball and baseball. As long as he still gets some exercise in between games it's okay with me too. It's nice how you're able to tune out now and then. I think I'll try it sometime.
Haha, for their girlfriends. I've been married 16 years, and while we can still hold a conversation, we are perfectly happy sitting quietly together, maybe trading a remark or showing a snippet from online. Silences don't have to be filled, and that's what those couples have learned after 50 years of marriage.ReplyDelete
Shannon at The Warrior Muse
Hi Julie - I think that's probably right .. it's the security/safety aspect of being happy and together - any problems can be discussed - there's no point in setting the world to rights all the time .... just enjoying being together and sharing all things - love the thought of a roast served on a Timex!! Cheers HilaryReplyDelete
Shannon - I agree that silences are only awkward when you make them that way. Thanks Shannon!ReplyDelete
Hilary - I also find these studies amusing, and try not to take them too seriously. Very well put about " no point setting the world to rights all the time." Thanks Hilary!
Haha! This made me laugh, because I don't mind silence at all while Mr TR can talk up a storm for hours! It actually works quite well...ReplyDelete
When we were traveling it was easy - although it usually involved money. Just curious, when you reported the phone call, minute by minute - did he like it?ReplyDelete
What? We're supposed to talk?ReplyDelete
Ohhhhhhhh........that explains all that noise she's making.
Is this what I have to look forward to? LOL!ReplyDelete
Talli - It's good that Mr TR is so chatty. This way he can spend hours talking to Baby TR, and give you a chance to rest.ReplyDelete
Rhonda - Yes he enjoyed it very much. I also can mimic their voices, so I try to provide a theatrical presentation. I'm sure you had great conversations on your trip around the world, and will continue to have them for years to come.
Al - Surely you find time to talk while she's fetching your slippers, and drawing your bath.You are after all polite.
Sherry - Don't worry everything will be fine. If not, there are always board games!
I can talk to my wife of ten years all night long.....so long as it's via text! I must be incredibly boring. She never puts that thing down!ReplyDelete
Thanks for posting this again, because I wasn't in the blogosphere yet when you ran it the first time. We've got 43+ years in now, ans while we don't have as many all-night long gabfests like we used to, I'm pretty sure we beat the ten minutes by a pretty safe margin. (One-sided conversations count, right? HA! Just kidding...)ReplyDelete
Bushman - Nah, I'm sure she just likes to multi- task! I can't imagine you ever being boring Bushman!ReplyDelete
Susan - Did your parents let you get married when you were still in grammar school? Of course one-sided conversations still count! BTW, we met just a few months later during A to Z that year. Thanks Susan!
This made me feel a lot better. It seems like there is a lot more quiet than their used to be. I need my husband to talk. We do once in awhile but not for very long.ReplyDelete
Maybe if you got involved in an activity together it could spark some conversation. For example, we go for long walks which is a relaxing way to find things to open up about. At this time of year, an outing to a museum might be nice, or even a good movie with a discussion afterward.I'm sure you'll find something that works best for you Yvonne.Delete
Thanks for posting this!ReplyDelete
Thank YOU Gina!Delete
Live-In Handyman and I talk about everything under the sun. He is a gifted conversationalist. The only downside is I don't get to listen to as much music as I'd like because we're always involved in a conversation. I wouldn't trade :)ReplyDelete
we have been married for thirty some years and we still talk quite a bit----and a lot of it is the same thing over and over :)ReplyDelete
I'm glad you posted this again, Julie, I don't think I saw it the first time around and it made me laugh, especially about the Timex. Your husband's obsession with time cracked me up LOL LOL. Fun post! :)ReplyDelete
Carol - A "gifted conversationalist," and a handyman?! You found a winning combination Carol!ReplyDelete
Lynn - I've noticed that too, but I think that's the case in many situations. I'm always repeating myself with the kids too hoping that something will eventually sink in.
Julie - It is pretty funny especially because I am always late. Fortunately, he's extremely patient and has a great sense of humor. Thanks Julie!
Yes, that's what girlfriends are for. I see a lot of couples at restaurants, for example, who sit in silence throughout the meal. On one hand, it seems odd. Then again, when a couple knows each other so well, they don't always NEED to talk - especially if one of them is a man.ReplyDelete
Robyn, We always talk in restaurants, though sometimes it's hard to hear each other over the chewing!Delete