What did you say?

August 1984. It was very hot. It was very humid. It was very silent. I went through nearly the entire month of August not speaking to Jeff. Monosyllabic answers were the best I could come up with. Why? Because I was ANGRY.

What had made me so angry? His boss. At this point in our marriage, he was the assistant manager to a woman named Diane. Diane thought it was her right and her duty to pat my husband on the behind….all the time. My husband, concerned for his job wouldn’t do anything about it, including allowing me to make it quite clear to her. It made me FURIOUS. SO, I stopped speaking to him. (What?!! You don’t think my lack of communication would make the situation better? Hmph. I don’t know what YOUR problem is.) 😉

The problem, however, was that my new husband had never dealt with someone who didn’t speak, when they were angry, so he didn’t realize I was all that mad….at least not at him. He figured I was under stress at my job (which I was, BUT….uh, no pun intended here) so he just gave me some “space.” 🙄

His idea of space only allowed me to get angrier (duh) and it also meant that on August 12th, the day Diane lost her job, I didn’t know about it. MAN! All that wasted time and energy!!! I could have found something else to not speak to him about, had I only known. 😉 😀

The next part of our holiday preparations that we want to keep in mind is communication. (Focus, assumptions and now communication) During the holidays, I find that there have been many times I thought that the whole family was on the same page I was – only to find out when it really came down to it, we weren’t only on different pages, we were on different planets!! Part of that is from the assumptions I was making, part of it from a lack of communication.

My mother always told me to never marry the youngest or only son in a family. I was obedient and did not marry the youngest or only son in a family. I married the youngest AND only son in a family. Being the oldest, this produced some real communication challenges. Who am I kidding? It STILL produces some real communication challenges.

One of the areas that I’ve seen to be of biggest challenge has been my ability to “humble” myself enough to clearly communicate. Point in fact, for many years, Jeff – working in retail – just didn’t think to do anything for Christmas for me. Rather than communicating with him my hurt feelings, I simply kept it all inside and let it wound me. One year, I decided to not have hurt feelings and just buy my own present.

Jeff was shocked – blown out of the water shocked – that a) I would buy my own gift and b) that I wanted anything. You see, I had been expecting Jeff to read my mind to know what I wanted. I didn’t even make a list for him. I just expected him to know me well enough to know what it was I was hoping for. In other words, I wanted Jeff to operate like a woman. Silly me.

During these busy days of the holidays, it is all the more important that we clearly communicate what is in our hearts – even if it means that we must humble ourselves in order to do it. (Which is usually the case in MY life.)

In addition to communicating with our spouses and families, it’s important that we communicate what is in our heart regarding our Savior. This doesn’t mean we need to become eloquent in our speech or wordsmiths, brilliantly crafting our words. We simply need to be passionate about the topic of our conversation: Our Lord.

While we’re on the topic of communication – let’s talk for a moment about Christmas cards. I’m not sending any this year….again. 😆 However, rather than planning on sending a Valentine’s card, which is what we have done in the past, this year, we’re going to do something totally different. We’re going to send a Christmas letter.

Christmas letters have been a stigma to me. I do not like the idea of just yammering on about my family. While I think they’re wonderful…and if I’m sending a letter to you, it’s likely you think they’re wonderful….I still just don’t like doing that. (I know, I know, it’s good to hear what some family members are doing – and getting to know more about friends I haven’t seen in a while. But, it just doesn’t fit with the goal/focus we want to have for the holidays for our family.)

So, this year, instead of the normal Christmas letter, we’re going to send out a holiday story that we have written, appropriate for reading aloud to your family. We’re in the process of working on it now – and when we send them out, I’ll post it here, to share with my JavaDawn friends, too. It seems to be the perfect balance between a card, which will end up in the trash anyway, a newsy chatty letter and doing nothing. 🙂 Our hope is that this will become a tradition and our friends can expect a new holiday story every year.

Well, my dear hubby is standing here, communicating his desire to use the laptop, so I will end here, with the challenge to speak this season. Speak the truth in love, speak love in truth, and speak about the truth of Love. There are many who will listen now that may not at any other time.

May all our words be graced by our Lord!

Edit:  I have written on Christmas letters, again, recently.  Check here to take a look at it.  It’s more practical.

2 Responses to “What did you say?”
  1. Elizabeth says:

    I just about have our Thanksgiving letter ready to go. We have tried most years of our marriage to send it out then, in order to have Dec. be less stressful. And yes, we have nearly always done a letter…however try to keep it one page and quite simple. No one has ever complained, unless we did not send one. And now that we no longer do Christmas, preferring Hanukkah instead, it is more important to get it out…in fact, I wish it was already done and sent!! I am NOT ready for holidays this year. My dil says just get the kids something (already have)…but I do want to get at least one thing for each one. I am so behind this year!!

    Your story about the job problems…glad that is over for you! Very frustrating indeed. I married an only son, a firstborn as an only daughter, first born. But I grew up in an extremely male dominated house…and my dad has always felt females are most inferior. So I suppose I may not have been the usual oldest only daughter either. And my husband was not the usual oldest only son. His parents worshipped his sister and he was made to as well. We were really not prepared either for marriage, not in hardly any way. So it is a miracle that we are here today, still together…in fact, it came finally when we began our current faith path that both of us now know what our roles are and better how to relate to each other. We only wish we had known these things while our children were growing up. But we can still tell others…so I guess there is always some value in all experience.

  2. javadawn says:

    Elizabeth – a THANKSGIVING letter? That is cool.

    I envy you the ability to write a letter that doesn’t just sound braggy. Somehow when you throw Clarks into the mix, it always ends up sounding like we’re bragging.

    THAT is what I have always disliked about OUR writing a family letter. (Especially when everything else Jeff and I are doing is intended to take our children’s attention off themselves…it just seems like we’re making our own job harder.) No matter how we have done it, our pride just seeps through every sentence. 😦

    Sweetie, I think many people would envy you the amount of things you have already completed for the holidays. 🙂 Most folks aren’t even thinking in that direction yet.

    I pray you will find that sense of peaceful rest, as you complete your holiday plans!

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