The premise is simple: We write for five minutes flat. All on the same prompt that is post on the Lisa Jo Barker’s site at 1 minute past midnight EST ever Friday. And we connect on Twitter with the hashtag #FiveMinuteFriday
No extreme editing; no worrying about perfect grammar, font, or punctuation.
Unscripted. Unedited. Real.
This week: Listen.
It’s been a good few months since LSH and I fell out or had a real argument. If I’m honest, we’ve been together now over a decade and I can count the number of real arguments we’ve had on my fingers (possibly on one hand). We are generally quite composed people and if one of us is being irrational and mental, we can tell the other flatly and openly. This generally ends up in giggling.
But just occasionally, one of us flips. And with good reason. When that does happen it’s usually because one of us has stopped listening. The frustration that builds when someone hears your words, but isn’t understanding what you mean is immense and it occurred to me that the last time I screamed at LSH, I used the words “Would you just f******** LISTEN to me?!!?”. He had listened, but what he heard was the irrational rantings of a mad woman, but hadn’t understood that my rantings were born of deep seated insecurities. Once we actually stopped being busy and listened to each other, it was ok. Or at least it was better.
These frustrations are generally kept in check – as a parent and a teacher, the number of times I have to do various dances, songs and evil threats to maintain kids attention on a daily basis leaves me exhausted, but rarely frustrated on the same level (here, I could talk about ‘lunch leaves’, lolly sticks, fancy dress hats and brain gym …. Did I mention I teach ages 13-18?!). Perhaps I just extend less patience to LSH, or perhaps because we are usually so in tune with each other, it’s frightening when we don’t understand each other. Either way, the response is toddler-esq and dissipates just as fast. Neither of us sulk; mainly because the other will not put up with it. The kids have picked up on this and during our last bickering session (totally understandable as we were trying to put up a tent. It’s practically the law to argue while doing this), they wandered off on their bikes and came back asking loudly “Have you two finished yet?”.
I hope my girls find partners who are both able to listen and put up with their own irrational madness with as much grace as LSH shows on a daily basis. If not, they at least have the self-confidence not to put up with any sulky crap their partner throws at them.
Marriage: 1 part listening, 1 part talking, 1 part responsibility, diluted with humour, silliness and innuendo 😉