What three qualities make for a great relationship? In nearly every survey one word will always appear: communication. Then why do so many couples make every effort to avoid talking with each other? Here are my top ten excuses men and women use to avoid meaningful personal interaction. The list is not in any particular order except excuse #1, which shall be revealed in the next column.
Excuse #10: The Smarthone. How often have you seen a lovely couple sitting in a restaurant not talking, but gazing at their Smartphones when all of a sudden one of them rings? “I’m sorry honey I really need to take this call.” But the other person does not care because they are reading text messages on their phone. Any meaningful conversation between the two dies a quiet death.
Excuse #9: The job. “I’m sorry, but I have to work late to get these contracts in the mail.” For many couples, the dirty little secret is that one partner is happier at the office than at home so he or she seeks out projects that keep them at work. The person at home can complain, but the job remains an easy, irrefutable, conflict-avoidance alibi.
Excuse #8: Exercise. Health is important and a good enough excuse to ignore difficult issues that crop up between people who love each other. “I’ve got to get in my 5k run again tonight or I’ll loose my edge” may really mean, “I prefer the quiet solitude of jogging over the noisy complaining of my mate.” When the runner comes home he/she has two more excuses for not talking, “I’m out of breath and besides that, I need a shower.”
Excuse #7: Television. No other invention of man has done as much to inhibit human conversation as the TV. The late Ann Landers opined, “Television has proved that people will look at anything rather than each other.” The vital matters a family may need to face can be quickly set aside in favor of Dad’s favorite sports team or Mom’s favorite mystery.
Excuse #6: Computer. If someone is at work on a computer it means they are doing something important, right? Interrupt them and you will find out just how unwelcome your invitation to conversation is. “Stop interrupting!” they will snap, “I have 127 unopened e-mails!” Peek over their shoulder and you will find they are probably reading one of 47 old jokes forwarded to them by a college-roommate.
Excuse #5: Do-Good. Another legitimate excuse to be incommunicado is to volunteer for something more important than everyone in your family; something like world peace, global warming, or assistant coach for the kid’s soccer team. I was able to escape from my family on Saturday mornings for an entire year because I had to attend a men’s prayer breakfast at Village Inn. My wife could not argue with me because it was about prayer and what could be more important than talking to God?
Well, maybe, talking to your family! But it is much easier to talk to God than to the wife and kids. Besides that, God does not talk back and he does not ask me any of those thorny questions.
Next week, the “Final Four” of: The Top Ten Excuses for NOT Talking to Your Mate.
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©2014 Ronald D. Ross