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


  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." )


Post a Comment

Other Popular Posts

Sex: Spontaneous or Planned . . . Let the Conversation Begin

  Happy New Year to all!  We are so grateful that 2020 is clearly in our rear-view mirror.  What a relief.  The start of a new year is traditionally set aside for reflection and resolutions.  For us, 2021 was no different. We often make couple as well as individual resolutions.  Stress and busyness, age and life in general had cooled our sexual relationship to a slow simmer.  Our 2021 goal is :  " Some is good.  More is better! "  Planned or spontaneous -- all is good! Let the conversation begin.

Tell Her She’s Pretty and Let Him Go Golfing

     Kids say the funniest things. But sometimes, the things they say can teach us a thing or two. Our friends Greg and Cecilia have five children between 1 and 11 years old. They asked their four oldest kids to answer some questions about marriage. Here's what they had to say: Why do people get Married? Because they love each other.  Because they kiss each other. How do you know Mom and Dad love each other?

Verbal Judo – Harmonizing Your Tone of Voice

Some time ago, we wrote about the importance of being aware of the Tone of Voice we use with our spouse. The gist of the post was that our Tone of Voice is the key culprit that begins most disagreements, hurts, and fights between spouses. We want to revisit this important topic and provide some additional helpful hints we’ve learned along the way.

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... 

Looking Forward with Hope and Promise to 2021

2020 will soon be in our rear-view mirror . . .  We look forward with hope and promise to 2021.     W e at The Couples Post   have shared in a practical way how we are so much stronger together as a couple.  May that strength help us navigate 2021 and beyond. 

Great Sex!

Photo by  ijeab  /  Freepik     Sex between a married couple is not only good, it’s very good. If you read the research and surveys, you will find that married couples experience better and more frequent sex than non-married couples. Married couples are healthier, happier, and live longer. When we went on a WorldWide Marriage Encounter weekend, we were more than a little surprised when a priest told us that our love-making is good, is important for us, and is important to the world. He encouraged us to “make mad passionate love!”     So, why has married sex become something else? Society and media portray sex for married couples as dull and lifeless, a tool used to manipulate, something to joke about, and something that - beyond the newlywed phase- gradually drifts away. We’ve been sold this bill of goods, and we often buy into it! What we really crave in our sex life is to give and receive something powerful- to experience the depths of our passion and love for each other, t

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.  

The Elf on the Shelf

It’s that time of year – you know, when our kids are all on their best behavior and the most frequent threat you hear parents utter is “Santa is watching!” The latest craze is the Elf on the Shelf. The elf moves around your home, keeping its eye on your kids and causing a little mayhem along the way. Maybe your elf plays a game with a few of the stuffed animals in the house. Perhaps it gets into your cookie jar. Maybe it even spills flour in your kitchen. No matter what, the kids know it’s watching them. So, what if the elf was watching you and your spouse? Would he tell Santa to bring you a present or put a lump of coal in your stocking?

Marriage is a VERB

Marriage is not a noun; it's a verb.  It isn't something you get.  It's something you do.  It's the way you love your partner every day."

I Married YOU, Not Your Family

Photo by cottonbro from Pexels Growing up and getting married means that we leave our family of origin and start a new family.  We’re not asked to forget about mom and dad, but we do need to remember that our spousal relationship is important to take care of because it becomes the solid ground where we plant our new roots.