Occasionally – very occasionally – I see a glimmer of hope that we have a chance at understanding each other.
At work last week, a woman blurted out:
Oh, I understand; he’s in his nothing box.
I nearly cheered.
With one declaration, one woman proved to me that she understood that her husband (the man to whom she was referring) had his mind in neutral, effectively idling away doing not much of anything. That’s the nothing box. The nothing box is the place we go to when there’s nothing much grabbing our attention. When there’s nothing worth thinking about, we do nothing. Yes, ladies, men are really that simple.
The nothing box is invaluable because of the way we think about stuff. We need that time with our minds going nowhere because of the energy it takes when we are in gear. If we were to be in forward motion all the time, we’d burn out.
But that’s a topic for anther time. The key is that the lady understood that her man being in nothing box mode was no reflection on his relationship with her; it is simply the way he was built.
And that was, and should be, enough.
Natural to us all is the assumption that the person next to us will see things the same way we do.
Can you see where I’m going to find the hole in this presumption?
That’s right; I’m a bloke, so that if you’re a woman, you by definition will think differently.
Advantage there for the taking: if you’re looking for better communication, think like the other sex. We can’t do this all the time, and it’s needed most when we’re on the hunt for understanding, but it’s a practice worth practising.
We’re not necessarily interested in unanimity, more like the recognition that what seems blindingly obvious to me will not be as clear to you, Hortense.
Perhaps it’s not so much a point of view reversal, as a listening direction reversal.
Change is inevitable, and even with the best intention in the world, couples will grow closer and further apart because of it.
Are we taking on more than is reasonable when we couple-up with someone? Is all change acceptable? Are there better ways to make it work when we’re out of synch? What about discomfort created by one of us changing?
Kregg and I take a big-picture look.
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Coupling up is an optimistic act for the future, moderated by expectations. No matter how clear our vision of the ideal mate, we still have to deal with the reality, a real person.
Real people change. Time and events modify the way we see pretty much everything, including ourselves, and part of sticking with someone is awareness of actual and perceived change.
One of my hopes is for someone who understands this change phenomenon, and how we’re both going to be different tomorrow from today, next year from this. Life is deceptive in this area, because we think we view life changing around us while we remain solidly anchored, like someone watching a movie. In fact, we’re all changing in different ways all the time, at different speeds. No material entity has a permanent mooring; that’s the job of spiritual pursuits.
Not all change will be good, naturally. Finding ways to communicate that we’re noticing things move along, both inside and outside the relationship, might be one of those critical foundational functions that make it easier to stick together.
Notice and report. Communication and feedback.