In the department of communication, my husband and I come from very different family styles. My family is wordy, they love planning a call, text, email, or even a visit at least once a week, if not more. My husband’s family is the opposite, a text, call, or visit, once a month or every other month works great for them. There are things that are so starkly opposite between our families, that it often amazes us that we were able to find each other in the middle, and fall in love.
A conversation with my family is like opening a large filing cabinet drawer, but accidentally opening the other drawer above it, because the file tabs are so full. Our conversations usually start one place, and end up on a completely unrelated topic. Sometimes it even feels like opening a web browser with a bunch of forgotten search tabs open – and in order to close the browser, you have to decide to close all of them or one by one. This often means lengthy conversations, that includes some range of emotions. My family is filled with social workers, HR representatives, nurses, teachers, and counselors. And yes, we are all in these professions for a reason. We like to talk, we like to help, and we like to connect about the past, present, and future- sometimes all in one conversation..
My husband’s family? Conversations with them are more like headlines, often only the important bullet points. Conversations have a clear beginning and a clear ending. His family comes from a background of engineers, techs, and other straight forward analytic professions. Conversations have a purpose, and once there is a found solution, case closed! There are times when there is a catch up call, but once everyone is all caught up, we are good to go until the next update. These conversations are not any less meaningful or special, but they definitely tend to be much shorter than conversations with my family.
As a married couple, our worlds have had to collide and become one. My husband has learned how my family communicates, just like I have learned how his family communicates. It’s a learning curve for both of us, but it is one we welcome because we both prefer the split of communication styles. Now, don’t get me wrong, there is definitely a whole lot of love from both sides, and we realize we are lucky and so grateful for it. We have come to realize that it’s helpful to remember we all have different ways of showing up for one another, and that’s okay!
You learn a lot about your partner through their family, and a lot of times you will learn how to better your relationship with them, based on what you find.