It's a clich? by now that men stop talking once they get married. My husband, Dan, is no exception.
Like everyone, I remember those late, sometimes all-night talks. What started out as loose and free-flowing has turned into something more akin to constipation.
It's the surface that bores me. And after 15 years of marriage, a lot of what Dan and I have is surface. Will you put in a load of laundry? Do you have time to take the dog to the vet?
"How was your trip?"
"What did you do?"
"Oh, the usual."
Sometimes, if I have the energy to keep knocking on the door and to find creative ways to do it, I get information, maybe even impressions -- seldom feelings. But it takes work.
Me, I love to talk.
"Get off that phone!" my seven-year-old rages when she's come into the room for the third time to talk to her mommy and I still have the phone to my ear.
On those rare occasions that I've spent a day by myself, not saying a word, I feel abnormal, like something is wrong. Silent meditation retreats are definitely not my thing.
Actually, it's communication I love. If I could earn enough doing so, I'd take up song-writing full time. I have few secrets and don't mind opening up to strangers. I actually love those personal growth seminars where you are invited to talk about the deeper parts of yourself. And I'm fascinated by the deeper parts of other people. The biggest compliment I get from my friends is, "You make me think."
It's the surface that bores me. And after 15 years of marriage, a lot of what Dan and I have is surface. Will you put in a load of laundry? Do you have time to take the dog to the vet? Gabrielle needs to be tested on her spelling questions. Yeah, I can stop at the cleaners and get your suits. Shall we go out with Adrian and Jane Saturday night?
Of course there are times when we do talk about deeper things. Our relationships with our sisters, the effects of certain childhood experiences, interpersonal issues at work. But these are few and far between and get drowned in dailyness. "Even Venus will get chilled between the stove and the fridge," the French songwriter Georges Brassens wrote in a song explaining why he would not ask for his love's hand in marriage.
But it's not just the dailyness that has quenched Venus's fire. There's something else that goes on with Dan and with the husbands of most of my friends that I am at a loss to understand. Are they overwhelmed by our words, by our need to share our experiences, thoughts, feelings? Do they, like John Gray maintains in Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus just want to crawl into their caves and be left alone?
The new joke circulating around these parts: What do men want? Respect and a ...you guessed it.
An invitation to male readers: I don't know where to go from here. Will you help me finish this article? Will you click on the button below and tell us why (if) you talk less to your wife now than you did when you first knew her? And what, if anything, would you like to do about it?