Do you ever complain that your guy doesn’t open up to you? I used to. We talked a great deal about daily life and I shared my feelings about every single thing, often feeling frustrated that he didn’t seem very interested, and then irritated that he didn’t share his own. I tried everything; I asked too many questions, I joked about it, I even listened in on his conversations with family just to hear how he felt about our last vacation or his new position at work!
I’m not sure when it happened, but as some point I stopped demanding and became a safe place. I focused on helping my guy be able to relax when he came home by taming the chaos as he entered and by taking care of details he once handled. These small changes set up our evenings to be more relaxed. The bigger change was in allowing him to open up when he was ready, and not over-reacting when that time came. This was huge because he chose when and what to tell me and I chose not to freak out. Over time, he found that he could share more of himself without penalty and I began to understand my guy on a deeper level.
Another small change I made was leaning on girlfriends more for the minutia of life. When the kids were little, my guy didn’t necessarily want to hear about how much they had pooped or how great a sale Baby Gap was having. And today he doesn’t want to know my process for determining what’s for dinner or how many miles I drove chauffeuring children. He just doesn’t, he’s slaying dragons everyday. This change frees up the air space between us and gives more room for meaningful conversation.
For years I viewed the lack of depth in our marriage as my guy’s fault, but when I stopped complaining and took responsibility for my part, I found that we could become closer than ever. This wasn’t an easy adjustment that happened overnight for either of us, it was a gradual shift that was completely worth the effort.