Getting Real with Kira Hazledine

Communication is so freaking hard. No class prepares you for how to communicate with others. We are taught basics in kindergarten, like how to share, and not punch little Sally when she steals your markers. But what about how to truly discuss our feelings with another person without sounding like a complete dodo bird? No one teaches you that.

Even after navigating your first friendships and romantic relationships, you never truly get it right. You crash through adolescence and early adulthood, and you think you’ve got it handled well enough. You know how to express yourself and how to make yourself heard. Especially in the age of #metoo, a woman needs to roar louder than ever.

Except I was roaring so loud I couldn’t hear my husband.

My husband and I have an incredible foundation of communication. As a long-distance couple for several months, communication was all we had. The only dates we had were on Skype, and texts were our love letters. We shared our darkest secrets and we learned really quickly how to communicate when physical touch was never an option.

And I foolishly decided that we had it on lock-down. I knew how to communicate with this man. I could talk about my feelings all day long and never worry about holding anything back. Except I made a huge mistake. I was so confident in our ability to communicate that I didn’t realize he was only listening. He’s such a great listener, and I’m such a great talker, that I never even knew something was amiss.

I made the mistake of becoming complacent in my communication skills with my husband, and not recognizing that he wasn’t being heard. I was so busy communicating my own concerns that I wasn’t doing any listening, and I didn’t even realize until he was visibly suffering. He had things to say, and even though he speaks in a few words when I speak in full paragraphs, there’s no excuse to the fact I was ignoring him.

In any relationship, there will always be new challenges. You won’t always communicate the same way, because nothing will stay the same. The goal is to grow and change together, and that demands communication in every step. What worked when my husband and I were miles apart does not work now. What worked when we had one kid does not work now that we have two.

It is imperative in a relationship that you are able to communicate with your partner, but it’s so important to remember that communication is a two-way street. When you’re complaining about all the hang-ups from your day, don’t forget to ask about theirs. As you’re ranting about every little stressor, check and see if it’s a good moment to unload your emotional baggage. Don’t forget that when you need them, they probably need you, too. The only way you’ll know is if you communicate and focus extra on that whole listening aspect. Everyone deserves to be heard.