When my husband and I first started dating, instant messaging, texting, and social media were running rampant. Things were nowhere near the level of craziness we see now. But he asked me on our first date over our office instant message system. Twenty minutes before he saw me in person. And then he barely gave me a smile and wave.
I also told him he could kiss me in a text message.
Our first real fight that I remember? It happened over instant message as well.
With all that, somewhere along the way, we established the phrase, “Family Meeting.” Sometimes these are serious, sometimes trivial. But it always means: We need to talk. In person. Face to face. No distractions.
Over the years, those family meetings have gone from, “Where do you wanna eat dinner?” to, “How did we get this far into debt?” Some conversations end in laughter, some in tears, and some in angry words. But we never let it stop us from communicating. Honestly.
It was easy in the early years. We lived together. Worked together. Had all the same friends. We were totally together all the time. But right after we had our first child, that all changed.
We decided to open our own business and keep our daughter at home. Our lives went from seeing each other 24/7 to only being together in 15-20 minute spurts a few times a day. We were exhausted and overwhelmed. Needless to say, we saw the writing on the wall. We knew that schedule and demanding life would take a toll on our marriage. During a late night crying fest (for me), I remember my husband saying, “Why didn’t you just tell me that? I didn’t know you felt that way.” I am sure I mumbled something like, “I did!” or, “You should just know.” Maybe I did. Maybe I didn’t. But neither of us liked the feeling of being in the dark. It was time for a family meeting. But not in the middle of the night. So we slept on it.
The next day, over breakfast, the one meal we cook and eat together almost every day, we reminded each other that we have always communicated well. Sometimes we communicate too well. Simple conversations can turn into silly escalations quickly. We have always said the hard things, embarrassing things, and the deep dark things. We kept each other in the know about plans, friends, and family drama. If it is serious, crazy, or unbelievable? We confide in each other. Over the years, we have noticed that we are in the minority. Couple friends comment about how we always know everything the other is up to, talking about, or planning. It is now habit.
From small details to life plans, we talk, talk, and talk some more. Maybe we know too much. But we take pride in our open and honest communication. It has kept us grounded during the tough times. Brutally honest conversations have helped us navigate life changing decisions. We are better parents because of our ability to confidently speak to each other.