When I think about what is lacking in my marriage, it’s things like, lack of time, lack of romance, too busy or too tired for…, don’t feel sexy right now, we need to do more fun activities together, get fit, go to the gym, have a shared interest blah blah blah…

The list seems so long and overwhelming sometimes, it’s just easy to stick with the status quo and drift along. And then another year has floated past and the signs of discontent and resentment are still there, and we’re no closer to finding that elusive balance between love – marriage – family – career – hobbies and the rest of outside world.

Don’t get me wrong. We love each other with a capital L. We are a perfect match in so many ways. We bounce off each other in almost comedic fashion here at the motel, at times giving our guests a Kiwiana version of Basil and Sybil, from Fawlty Towers. Unlike Basil, my husband is lovely to our guests! He’s the one that has them in stitches of laughter, and the one that always gets a mention in our motel reviews on TripAdviser. Yes he’s hilarious, kind hearted and he would never dream of cramping my style as I flit from one arty farty project to the next.

We know each other inside out and upside down, our highs, our lows, and for the most part, things are pretty good. But somehow, we’ve managed to fall into the trap that I’m sure many twenty+ year relationships fall into, and that’s a little bit of complacency.

I do what I want to do. He does what he wants to do. Often this is with little to no discussion… and it’s that lack of open honest communication that is going to kill any relationship.

So yesterday we had a humdinger of an argument. The sad thing was that the argument was over something mundane and trivial. It’s never over the big stuff. And we don’t fight fair, we end up having a point scoring rant which is not pretty. On this occasion, I realised I was on a losing streak and threw my hands in the air to surrender and exclaimed… “Well what DO you want?”

The answer was not what I thought it would be.

It wasn’t more time, more help, more dialogue, more intimacy, nope… it was none of that.

“I just want you to listen.”

I immediately quipped back “Well I want you to listen to!”

“It doesn’t always have to be about you.” he sighed and walked out of the room.

In that instant, something held me back from throwing out another snippy comment as realisation dawned. I’ve always been so quick to have an answer ready, that I can’t just let empty space linger between sentences. Or even worse than that (and I know that I do this), I have a terrible habit of zoning out completely. Sometimes we have complete conversations and I realise afterwards that I don’t even have a clue what we’ve been talking about.

I am multi-tasking, I can listen, ignore and forget at the same time.

Damn it. I don’t want to be wrong. I want to be right! Being wrong means I have to acknowledge my shortcomings, and I’m much happier in the believe that I don’t have any.

Are you actively listening or just waiting to speak?

I have to admit that in this instance, he has a point. Genuinely listening, absorbing and understanding the message is something I’m going to work on.

It would be easy to dwell on the negative aspects of yesterday. However, in the pursuit of positive self-improvement, I’ve finally HEARD a valuable lesson that I hope to learn from. And that’s a good thing.