She said what I thought she said, didn’t she?
Linda and I just celebrated 46 years of marriage. When our anniversary was announced in church, our pastor remarked, “One of them deserves a medal.” Naturally, I claim to have no clue as to whom he may be referring or any idea as to why he would assert such a thing.
After all these years, one would assume that I might possibly know something about the secret to a successful marital relationship. Let’s just say that I should probably know a whole lot more than I do. If I claimed to always be patient and kind and a great listener, well, let’s just not go there ...
I have, through the years, learned that my lovely wife uses certain words and phrases that do not necessarily mean what I would think that they should mean. I don’t know if this is true for all women, but I can only relate that which I have experienced first hand.
The first phrase that I apparently do not properly understand is, “Go ahead.” I can share an incredibly profound idea about a project or a trip or a gift idea, only to hear that simple two-word statement. To me, go ahead means just that, so I proceed.
I have learned — the hard way, of course — that that two-word sentence is only the beginning of an entire chapter that remains unsaid. How was I supposed to know that after I “go ahead” there will be insufferable consequences? The full sentence should actually be rendered as “Go ahead, and you will be sorry.” Guys, just a word of caution — those last five words are critical.
Another trap is to naively believe that “Whatever you think” means it is advisable to do just that. What that really means is that, if you do whatever you think, you do so at great peril to life and limb.
The next key word to listen for is a very nice, very neat little four-letter word. The word “fine” is suitable for almost any occasion.
Sometimes, when I hear that word repeated more than once in a conversation, I feel like Mandy Patinkin’s character, Inigo Montoya, in “The Princess Bride.” You might recall the line when he says to Vizinni, “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”
The more often that the word fine is used in the conversation and the higher the pitch, the less it actually means fine. This is particularly true when it is repeated loudly simultaneously with a slamming door. At least, that’s what I’ve been told.
Finally, one more word to add to the mix. When Linda hears something that she may or may not really believe, or a statement that she doesn’t really agree with, she will simply say, “Yeah.”
I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that when she says, “Yeah”, that it does not mean the same thing as, “Yes” or “I agree.” In fact, I have learned to carefully listen for the voice inflection in order to attempt to ascertain the degree to which she actually disagrees.
It may appear that I look for opportunities to tease my wife. I realize that I do some, but I also know that she knows that it is in fun. Recently, I asked her about the teasing. It seemed that I was repeatedly making the comment that if Linda says yeah, that doesn’t mean yes.
So, I had to ask her if she was okay with that. Her response? You guessed it — “Yeah.”
David Coffelt is a Harrisonville area resident and his email address is email@example.com.