Learning Sensitivity

My wife and I come from different family backgrounds. Prior to marriage, we didn’t expect those differences to have any effect on our relationship because well, we were in love. Needless to say (and much to our surprise), we had to deal with many of those differences early on.

Communication styles seemed to be one of the issues that crept up most often. My wife is used to speaking freely, while I tend to hold things in. Neither of these tendencies is wrong or right unless taken to the extreme, which we have both had to learn to control. I have had to learn to open up more while my wife has had to learn to choose her words more carefully.

So, we were sitting at the dining room table one afternoon eating lunch. I don’t remember the topic of discussion, but at one point my wife said something that just rubbed me wrong. Typically in this type of situation, I would just assume that she was not intending to hurt my feelings, and simply suppress any emotion that may have been spurred. However, we had recently had a discussion in which my wife encouraged me to be more open about my feelings so that I would be less likely to explode with a bunch of penned-up emotions later on. I therefore got up the nerve and said something like, “ya know, it hurt my feelings when you said that.” Feeling slightly embarrassed about such an awkward statement about “feelings,” I was in no way prepared for my wife’s response: A bellowing of hearty laughter broke forth from the depths of her being. I was speechless; I don’t even remember her laughing that hard at any of my best jokes. In between her gasps for air and seemingly uncontrollable hysteria, she managed to repeat “I’m sorry,” a few times.

After she regained her composure, she continued to apologize and then explained that she had never heard me say anything to that effect, and especially not with such sissy words. To her defense, I probably would have responded similarly if the same words were spoken to me by a male.

Since then, I have learned to express my feelings in a less-awkward manner and my wife has refrained from laughing at me when I do so. Learning to reconcile these differences, like many things, is always tough the first time around; but we’ve learned that it gets better the more you do it.

Please don’t hurt my feelings with any negative comments.

Learning Sensitivity