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I Heard You the First Time

Updated: Jun 28, 2021


When it comes to talking, I have the gift of gab. When I was in elementary school, a friend’s grandmother told me I had diarrhea of the mouth. It hurt my feelings. She wasn’t wrong. The truth can sting.


When it comes to not talking, my husband, Judah, is comfortably quiet. When at a loud party, packed with people, he can be found in the corner reading a book. It can hurt people’s feelings, communicate a lack of interest in what’s going on around him. They aren’t totally wrong. Truth is nuanced.


You see, when I am around introverts, I can feel like I have to carry the conversation. I can over-talk in an effort to keep everyone comfortable and engaged. When Judah is around a lot of people, he gets overwhelmed. He has a hard time hearing conversation with too much background noise, so he retreats into a book for safety.


We are both trying to avoid discomfort, just in different ways.


When we are alone, just the two of us, I have found myself repeating something I’ve said but using different words. After 16 years of marriage, I catch myself sooner than I used to, but it still usually takes me until the third iteration of a point before I realize: I’m saying the same thing over and over!


At the other end of the conversation, I am met with silence.


“Do you understand what I’m saying?”


“Yes! I got it the first time.”


“Why didn’t you say anything?”


“I didn’t know what to say.”


“Well, say something!”


And then one day, he did.


“I acknowledge I heard what you said.”


This changed everything!


It may sound simple. Or even lackluster. But it’s honest and communicative. I don’t get swept up in the current of ridiculously repeated rhetoric, assuming I haven’t been clear. He doesn’t get drowned in a deluge of descriptives, as if lacking intellect.


He understands me, and I understand him.


We both win.

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4 Comments


When we are partners no matter what, we have to find ways to communicate and to acknowledge the communication is heard. This powerful. It takes work but it is worth it. J

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Jill Anthony
Jill Anthony
Apr 11, 2021
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100% agree!!

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As your mirror-image marriage twin (except replace “reading a book” for ”drinking a glass of wine“ in J’s scenario), this is SO relatable...it must be all of that EQ! ;) I find that setting expectation as to what I need back in terms of communication really helps. The differences in communication styles can be one of the biggest barriers to a healthy marriage. Awesome job to you and Judah for adapting to try and give each other what they really need, feeling seen.


FYI - I am hoping to see this post presented 3X in a row so you can really drive your title home ;)!

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Jill Anthony
Jill Anthony
Mar 16, 2021
Replying to

EQ and humility for sure!! Double dose! :)


I agree with you 100% that communicating expectations and needs and coming to a shared understanding is so key in marriage. It's important in all relationships, but we spend so much time with our spouses (especially now) that meeting in the middle and having good communication is necessary for sanity and health!


Ha ha! I am so tempted to post this again and again ... just because I find that idea so funny!!! Buckle up! 😏

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