Maa: “Your papa didn’t give me anything in our 31st wedding anniversary!”
Papa: “Everything I have belongs to you. All you have to do is to demand.”
It’s a very regular conversation between my parents and I am habituate with hearing it every now and then. It sometimes irritates me a lot and sometimes makes me laugh because they sound like newly married couple though they are married for 31 years.
This is a very common view of couples, no matter they are married or not. A few days ago, I read an article named “Talk in the Intimate Relationship: His and Hers” by Deborah Tannen. I discovered a reason for why this kind of conflict happens between couples. The reason is the contradiction of messages, which is conveyed by “him” and metamessages, which is conveyed by “her”. Now, what’s metamessages? It is non-verbal behaviors that create an impression to others through which we convey our feelings or untold messages to them. And messages are what we simply say to people to express ourselves clearly. She wants him to know her feelings without even saying. On the other hand, he wants his lady to share everything with him without any puzzle. Both of them are right in their own place. It is fair enough when she wants him to ask her how her day was or give her a compliment for something. She can expect a short “<3 u” SMS from him while having lunch. Again, we can’t blame him as well. He spends a busy time and sometimes tensions regarding work pile around him. That’s why he may not pay attention to her. Moreover, he is normally straightforward, so he may like her to be straightforward too. He simply doesn’t understand her metamessages as he is likely to think practically, but being emotional is also plausible. After all, people have to be emotional in case of expressing their love. Being practical has nothing to do with that.
Well, I can guess a solution to this problem. I think it is better if she quits conveying metamessages to him and doesn’t expect him to understand her untold feelings. She should learn to be practical like him. Then if someday fortunately he sends an SMS saying “miss u”, or be able to catch her metamessages, it will be like a surprise to her and a reason for being delighted. So, quit expecting and be overwhelmed with the unexpected happiness! 🙂