Skip to main content

The Elephant in the Living Room


GIF by Kyle Bridgett via Giphy
Sometimes you just have to come out and say it.  There’s no point avoiding it.  There’s an elephant in the living room.

Nick: In our case the elephant was actually a cat, but to get to that, you need to know I’ve been a “dog person” my entire life.  I would often joke that if I wanted aloof and fickle treatment, I’d just consult one of our teenagers.  I didn’t need that from a pet.

Jen: Growing up, my family had a dog because my dad hated cats. When I was in college I adopted a dog of my own. Then I married Nick and we added his dog from childhood to our house. I loved being around other people’s cats, but with dogs in the house (and kids… and then more kids) there wasn’t really room for the cat conversation for us.

And then… the neighbor’s cat had kittens. I found that I liked the idea of adding a cat to our household, but I was hesitant to bring it up because Nick had always been adamant about not being a cat person and not liking them. Then I noticed that he seemed to enjoy being around other people’s cats, so I started dropping hints. I thought for sure that I knew what Nick’s response would be if I brought it up, but it was something I really wanted, so I couldn’t just let it go.

Nick:  At first, I didn’t think Jen was serious about getting a cat, but after several hints, I started to reflect on how closed I was to the idea.  I didn’t really have any specific reason to say no.  In not being willing to listen, I’d made it into the elephant in the living room.  Being willing to let go of my old anti-cat attitude wasn’t so difficult once I realized I was just being stubborn out of habit.  So after one of Jen’s hints, instead of just saying no, I agreed to talk openly about it.

Jen: Nick’s change in attitude on this topic caught me a little by surprise. I had thought I knew what his response would be, and my expectations were wrong. This little elephant in the living room is an example of how practicing good listening habits and not letting assumptions predetermine the answer can put us on the same page faster. We now have two cats. But more importantly, we have better communication.

Nick:  Willingness to talk about the little elephants is good practice.  Over the years, being able to open up to each other in touchy areas is what we’ve strived for – areas like job changes, our sex-pectations
, and openness to have another baby even after we’d already decided we were done.  We can be open if we practice being open.  We encourage every couple to look for the little elephants to go after and start building up the practice you’ll need for the bigger ones.


Our cats Jazz and Perdita, photo captured in their natural habitat

Comments

  1. Thanks for the reminder that being open about the little things matters. (And credit to our cat Keyzie for helping Nick finally find the right "cat-titude." )

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Other Popular Posts

5 Things Men Want

1. RESPECT: (KEN) : When a man is asked, 'Would you rather be respected or loved?' most would choose being respected.  In his book Love and Respect , Dr. E. Eggerichs explains this tendency.   (JANINE) : For years, I didn't appreciate how important it was to Ken that I treat him with respect.  I also didn't understand how hurtful it was when I dis respected him.  When I show Ken respect ( by affirming his decisions,  avoiding sarcasm or by not using a demeaning tone) it translates (for him) into feeling 'loved.'  Another way to say this is: when a man is dis respected, he receives the message he is NOT loved. 2.  SEX:  

What Can’t You Afford to Edit out of Your Story?

Michelle: When I was a teenager, I remember coming home after breaking up with a guy and my dad asking me how it went. I gave the inevitable teenage response, “I don’t want to talk about it.” My dad responded, “You don’t have to. But you do need to remember that there are some things in life that you can’t afford to edit out of your story. Is this one of them?”

The 5 "P's" of Constructive Feedback

Photo Credit:  Ian Schneider (Reprise of post originally published on 09-16-2019) We once read an article on criticism in marriage.  The Author's bottom line was "don't do it."  Even asking: "Can I give you some feedback?" was cautioned against.  Sometimes suggestions given with the best intent with regard to work, chores, relationships with the kids can back fire.  Think back seat driving.  Experience has taught us 5 Key Points for when we just want to give each other a little suggestion.  These 5 simple points set the tone and enable us to let down our defenses and be supportive of each other when offering a little constructive feedback.   

Remember When...

It's easy to get lost in our day-to-day. Once we're out of the honeymoon phase of marriage and real life settles in, we develop routines and patterns of behavior. We become consumed by the here and now, and sometimes we can lose sight of the excitement and passion that brought us together and inspired us to get married in the first place.

The Healing Power of Touch

  Our last blog explored a super power we all have within us – the Super Power of Affirmation.    But did you know that you possess another Super Power?  It’s the Healing Power of Touch.  Holy Hole in a Doughnut, Batman!  Bet you didn’t know you had all that in you!

When All Else Fails . . . Eat Ice Cream

For many of us the COVID honeymoon is long over.  Isolation, loss of routines, access to the gym, financial worries, working from home and changing school schedules has had us stretched too thin too long.  We'd rather eat an entire loaf of bread than bake one and if we hear how much someone enjoys the extra time with their kids we'll scream!  This is COVID Stress.  We've all experienced it.

Easter Greetings!

 Dear Readers, As Spring unfolds and we continue to recover from this pandemic, there could not be a more wonderful time to nurture relationship growth. Wishing you a Happy Easter and a Springtime of Promise. From all of us at TheCouplesPost

10 Things Women Want

1)  Learn her “Love Language :"   And speak it often! (Learn more:  What Language Are You Speaking? ) Janine’s love language is “Acts of Service.” So, when I vacuum or do dishes or cook, it fills up her ‘love tank' - her mood brightens and there’s a whole different vibe between us.   I can tell I’ve found a direct path to her heart.  

Getting More of What You Want in Your Marriage

Recently, we attended a work-shop on how to incorporate more positivity into our lives. We were reminded how easily the challenges of life can dominate our thinking. This can be especially true where our couple relationship is concerned. Have you ever thought, “He never gives me any affection” or “She always nags me”?

8 Misunderstandings That Are Hurting Your Sex Life

Why are we writing about sex again?  Sex in marriage is more important than most people think.  It's mysterious. There are a lot of "layers" and complexities to this whole topic.... read on...