Improving Communication?

06/23/2005

Thursday

There’s been a fair amount of discussion amongst those the write relationship blogs about sharing these diaries with their mates. At the outset, this might seem like a good idea. One could improve communication by writing down thoughts and feeling throughout a day, when time is short and life gets too busy for face-to-face communication.

The best attempt at this I’ve seen, is Jay Loves Kitti. For the past year or so, readers have been treated to the rare opportunity to read both points of view. However, the results have not been pretty. Both partners write and express themselves exceedingly well, but the things they’ve posted to and about each other sometimes make me wince. They reveal some pretty raw emotions that can not help but provoke an emotional reaction from readers. Which is why a lot of us enjoy reading them so much.

But it’s different being a detached observer and being right in the middle of a story as a main character. I relate strong enough to Jay that I know when something Kitti writes is going to hurt. So much of what she writes is painful for me to read because if Arwyn were the writing type, these would be things she would be saying. Kitti writes about her lack of passion for Jay. She tells about how she’s not sure about their future. She writes about her annoyances with him that are near constants. She writes about being smothered and wanting more freedom and space even to the point of exploring relationships outside of the marriage.

Jay, for his part, has tried to put the best possible face on all of this. He absolutely does have passion for his wife. And I suspect that it is through her writing that he has learned more about her than she would be willing to reveal face-to-face. He wants to know her and be known (and loved) by her.

The rawness of her revelations have put a strain on the two of them. So the question is: would he have been better off not knowing? Maybe some things are better kept hidden. I can not answer for Jay, but for me it seems that the closer I try to get, the more pain I’m subjected to. Maybe this is what is behind Kitti and Arwyn’s retreat from emotional intimacy. Maybe they were quicker to discover this, and have long since abandoned the field of battle, leaving Jay and I to fend for own emotional lives.

I may never know what is truly behind Arwyn’s fear of intimacy. Much probably came out of having an alcoholic father and having her parents divorce as a teenager. She didn’t choose me out of passion but out of practical pragmatics. She was 34 when we married and obviously wanted children so the biological clock was banging and clanging away. I was apparently a safe and stable choice. A fine Christian, a hard worker with the potential to provide for a family.

I think the first step for me is to forgive her for being who she is. She can be no other. She is, for all practical purposes, the best teacher of life lessons for me even though most of these lessons are exceedingly painful. God picked her out for a reason. He called the universe into being, created the Earth and populated it in just a certain way that would bring forth the circumstances and choices she and I face today. Scary thought on some level, but comforting on another.

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3 Responses to Improving Communication?

  1. Square1 says:

    I don’t know that you need to forgive her for who she is. That sounds a bit absurd. Anymore than I can frgive you for being who you are. I think what you’re really trying to get at perhaps is acceptance of who she is.

    I feel badly for you and for my husband. It sounds as if the alcoholic father and the divorce may have been more hurtful to her than she’s willing to admit. Sometimes things that seem light and trivial to one person are often very difficult for another. We all carry our burdens in this world, and where some maybe lighter than others, it makes it no less difficult to shoulder.

    For my husband he never realized the depth of my hurt when we first married. He had sort of a lackadaisacal approach that all he had to do was love me and the hurt would all go away. He was frustrated to realize that wasn’t the case, that in fact it required a lot of work to fix, and I had to be the one to struggle through it. When he quit trying to fix me, and finally started telling me he loved me as I was, hurt, anger, resentment, nuerotic, fiesty… whatever… when he accepted me for who I was… things became easier. I didn’t feel like I as alone in the battle anymore. I had a partner. I had encouragement. I had his unconditional love. He doesn’t always like me or how I behave, but he does love me. He works very hard to not reject me. Sometimes old habits die hard, sometimes he does reject simply out of sheer misunderstanding, but we pick up and we move on.

    Perhaps that is one of Arwyn’s biggest problems? She feels that her lack of desire is unacceptable to you and therefor feels rejected. It’s a long leap, and a question only she can answer… if she’s willing to face it. Perhaps it’s time to lay down the defenses and be the selfless supporter. I know that seems a cruel joke in life… having to be selfless with no reward in sight… but it will come… given time.

  2. C-Marie says:

    Maybe that’s just it, D~
    I, too, may never know JM’s fears of intimacy or even his thought process when it comes to sex in general. I do know, that he does love me. I do know that reading your entry here, has given my thoughts to some sort of truce… to accept him, to understand and to continue to learn about him as we grow.
    I can’t change or make JM feel a certain way about himself or the things around him – just in the same way that he or anyone else can do that for me. WE have to do it ourselves.
    The enlightenment here at your Blog was a nice (positive) way to start out my day. Thanks!

  3. Digger.

    Take ours as an example of how not to do it.

    I can’t relive the past year. What I should have done is never started the couple blog.

    When Kitti said on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving “We need some sort of counseling”, I shouldn’t have waited for her to find it. I should have hired a baby sitter and made a marriage therapy appointment the next day.

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