To Tell or Not to Tell

March 28, 2012


Barbara Billingsley

Barbara Billingsley (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What a roller coaster of a day. Sometimes I feel like when it rains it pours but then I look around me and I know it could be so much worse. Sometimes I just need DH.

I thought about this to distract myself from the panic attack I was having while driving to a doctor appointment. I thought about how I just wanted to even be able to talk to DH even if he could not be there with me. But what would I tell him?

What do you share with your husbands? Should it be any different if they work in an office or if they are on travel?

This isn’t June Cleaver’s world. I’m not sure it is Mrs. Huxtable’s, Mrs. Keaton’s, or Mrs. Seaver’s either.

A few year’s back, our Ladies’ Bible Class was studying : ?? I really cannot remember the book or the author and rather than give incorrect credit where credit isn’t due, I’ll just have to leave this blank. If I come across the book I’ll edit this post.

A couple of things happened in that class. First, while trying to be supportive and inclusive, there was still a great generational divide. Second, it was the presentation of the book that soured me more than the actual writing by the author. I didn’t give the author a chance really.

We talked about the needs of wives and husbands, what we need to do for each other at the end of a busy day, how we express needs and love. Much of this was done under the pretext the majority of the world still existed in June Cleaver’s perfect little scenario. Keep in mind the author may actually have been touching upon how a two-income family still had the same issues because we are fundamentally male and female, and whether the wife spent the day with rugrats or in a board room with equally annoying colleagues she was still going to approach her husband the same way to have her needs met.

However, in this class we focused a lot on how to make sure the husband was all happy and well taken care of when he got home from his hard day at work. Don’t get me wrong. I am a SAHM after all, but I think I’d still balk at this idea even if DH sat at a desk all day. I think it has to be a little more give and take on both sides then this. I remember proudly telling the other women that I have indeed called DH and told him “talk to his child” or that I had a lousy day. I’ve also had to tell him of the passing of seven family members, 6 being his.

One woman was aghast that I would do this while DH was on “deployment.” The class did come to the “conclusion” that in an ideal situation after the husband has had his June Cleaver moment, he will in fact while wearing his slippers and smoking jacket, full from a home cooked meal, ask us how our day went and that is the time we can share the trivial frustrations of little Timmy and pesky neighborhood gossip. But as I said, this woman, who has a full-fledged military son, clearly announced that she has reminded her daughter-in-law not to distract her son with these things.

First of all, I can gauge now when a person can tell the difference between the merchant marine and the military. Most often I just give up and use the more familiar terms such as deployment and tour. It is not worth the hassle.

I was a bit taken aback by this. I mulled over it for the next week as I prepared to teach the next chapter. Wouldn’t you know it but my topic was “Submission.” I’m sure many expected a younger generation equality rant but in all honesty I believe a marriage has to be founded on this because everyone, male and female have to submit, as Christ did.

I began the class with a disclaimer but not a retraction. I explained that cellphones do make it easier to stay in touch–I remember our dating days and first year of marriage of waiting for the “windows” when DH could get to the dock and the pay phone. But there is value in sharing even the most trivial, most mundane, the most frustrating aspects of our lives–for both parties. I gave this other woman respect and clearly stated that DH was not military and our situation did not compare to that of her son. I might think differently if DH’s trade routes changed, but at the time of the class and even now he is relatively secure. I would think about what might be a distraction. I also don’t think I’d call in the middle of the day if he worked in an office to tell how little Junior colored on the walls.

And yet at the same time, DH has told me such distractions help him with the day-to-day. They help him take his mind off a problem or to even know what day of the week it is. If I tell him about a problem, being able to support me and help me is such a change of pace and a way to stay connected. It helps him to feel needed and a vital part of the family. And this will preserve our family when he is home–he will feel less of an outsider.

I also quietly shared that I had the support of my in-laws whose military experience in the days when you only had 100 word Telexes and strict rules about what and when you could share news gave them an insight this other woman didn’t have. My MIL carried the burden of the passing of her own mother for three months before she could share with her husband. I cannot imagine that. Neither she nor my FIL have ever discouraged me from sharing with DH and have often told me what a blessing cellphones must be. My in-laws also understand that I do not have other wives to share this with.

Only recently have I hesitated sharing. The game changed when he took on the rank of Chief. I’m not sure either us knew what to expect. The pressure and responsibility is the greatest it has ever been. I think there are days when he doesn’t realize it has changed him, changed us. I am learning that sometimes I do have to be a little more judicious about when I share the trivial. We’re still working it out and having to work on vocal cues can be hard but I am trying to learn when the moment just isn’t right.

But today with the stress of the unexpected appointment, not knowing what would happen–would it be good or bad–I needed to share. Its harder though because we are back to “magic calling windows” again. He managed to find one and give me a call just before I went in. I’ll take what I can get. I think the return to not having almost immediate access to him is an added frustration. Sure, he was in range when we needed to discuss T1’s academic indiscretion or even to celebrate her selection to an exciting opportunity… but when I want to talk to him… have to wait. And it is hard.


  1. Dude I say share. Share. Share. Share. It’s not worth handling it all on your own!!!!

  2. I’m with you. First of all, I can’t imagine not being able to tell my husband for three months that my mother was gone… And second… I HAVE to share. If I don’t, I shut down and then he comes home to this numb woman who doesn’t know how to live life WITH him. I had a doctor’s appointment on Monday–and I was bursting to tell him. Nothing bad happened, but I NEED to process those things with him. Luckily he happened to be in port and he was able to call, but most days it would have been save all the words up and shoot him an email. Anyway… I’m in agreement with you here. And truly–Unless those June Cleaver’s have done months without their husband what do they know about what should and shouldn’t be said? (Did I mention that I’m really excited to have found your blog?)

    • There is definitely a time and a place. And I can understand why the military had/has those restrictions but this military isn’t even that of my FIL’s. I think right now, in addition to having a pity party for myself in the middle of a panic attack, we are adjusting to a new phase of his career, our marriage, and my health. This blog is another way to share with him, especially when he sends me text messages to spellcheck! Not as immediate as a phone call but it lets me know he’s keeping up even when we can’t get the magic window. Glad you found me! Enjoy!

What Are You Musing About?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: