Hearing, listening – couple’s communication tests patience

Hearing, listening – couple's communication tests patience
Brian tells me his hearing is perfect, but sometimes I wonder.

Take for instance the other day when I said to him, "I think I am going to crash," after a solid week of nonstop work by day and freelance writing by night.

"You think you are a cat?" Brian seriously replied with his own brand of active listening.

"No. I said I think I am going to crash," I repeated with as much annunciation as I could muster.

In these brief moments between my self-expression and my husband's attempt to "be there" for me, it boggled my mind how anyone could make "cat" out of "crash."

Besides, there was no logic in this at all. When in my lifetime have I ever said, "I feel like a cat?" Never.

For the third time, I slowly repeated myself, having moved closer to Brian's earshot. "I-think-I-am-go-ing-to-CRASH!" I said, giggling sarcastically.

"Oh-h-h-h! You are going to crash," he affirmed with a tone of epiphany.

Exhausted, I suggested to him half-jokingly and half-dead seriously, "Maybe if you were to read my lips, you would hear what I'm saying."

This was not the first time Brian heard something completely different from what I said. He may not agree with me, but I think this happens at least once a week, if not more often.

With the little time we have together, we communicate not while sitting side by side on the couch. Rather, we chase down our conversations from room to room, activity to activity, while paring potatoes, catching up on cleaning, surfing cyberspace, doting over dachshunds or loading laundry.

Take for instance one morning not too long ago when I was leaving for work�� I hollered to Brian, "Would you lock the door behind me?" He was in the next room sitting at the computer with Good Morning America blaring.

"Would I meet at four?" he said.

"No. Would you lock the door?"

"Wait a minute," he said, pushing mute on the TV remote.


Still standing at the front door, I repeated, "Would you lock the door behind me?"


A resident of Southeast South Dakota for more than 30 years, Paula Damon is a popular columnist, keynote speaker, and freelance writer. Her columns have won first-place national and state awards in The National Federation of Press Women competitions. Most recently, Damon's writing took second place statewide in the South Dakota Press Women 2007 Competition. For more information, e-mail pauladamon@iw.net.

� 2007 Paula Damon

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