Misunderstandings lead to…

by Rebecca on March 25, 2013

{I had a good time writing a little bit about how my husband and I fell in love. But that post was only part of the story. One day, I want to print out my blog in book form for my kids, so I decided to tell the whole story of our courtship over a series of posts. I’m giving myself no deadline, so these posts will be peppered in whenever I feel the need to write them.}

I shall call this story Misunderstandings.

My husband and I have a problem interpreting each other’s gestures and facial expressions. Most often, this happens when I ask him to do something. It goes like this:

“Can you please take out the cat litter?” I’ll say.

“Sure!” he’ll respond. But did I detect a sigh? And was that a slump in his shoulders?

“Well, you know, I did do the laundry today. I’m not asking much,” I’ll jab.

“Oh my gosh! I said I’d do it! Why are you so mad?” he’ll ask. “And thank you for doing the laundry, for crying out loud,” he’ll add.

“Well, you sighed, and I thought you were annoyed that I asked you to do it,” I’ll explain.

“No, no. I didn’t realize I sighed. I have no problem doing it. I’m sorry,” he’ll apologize.

“OK. No worries,” I’ll say. But did he detect a frown? And was that an eye roll?

When we’re not nitpicking each other’s natural body movements, we get along splendidly. But these misunderstandings are what our relationship was founded on, so it would be a shame to give them up. Right?


I came out of my room in the house I shared with my cousin and four other roommates and saw Ryan sitting in a chair playing my guitar. I was excited to see him back at our house. He had been there quite often to visit my cousin and her boyfriend, his longtime friend.

I knew my good posture, quiet manners, and general studiousness made people get the impression I was a goody-two-shoes. I hated that I gave off that vibe, but slouching hurt my shoulders, goshdarnit. Since I was unwilling to slump over, I knew I would just have to let people get to know me.

When I saw my guitar in his hands, I saw the opportunity to let him see that I wasn’t a stick-in-the-mud. After listening to him play a Nirvana song for a few seconds, I excitedly identified the band, eager for him to know this straight-backed girl liked rock music. He paid barely any attention to me. (He later told me this is because I intimidated him. Whatevs. It was rude.)

Still, I wanted his attention so, hoping to impress him, I happily announced, “That’s my guitar!” He acknowledged me, and then, interpreting my announcement as “Git yer stinkin’ hands off my guitar,” he gingerly set the guitar a few feet away from him and started talking to someone else.

Baffled and angry, I slammed into the laundry room and gave my dirty clothes a piece of my mind as I shoved them in that washer.

A few days later, he came upstairs wearing my black-feathered wings as a joke. He had found them behind the couch. Excited he was admiring something I owned, I again happily announced they belonged to me, hoping to get his approval. He slunk back downstairs and later returned wingless. Apparently, my eyes or something had again told him to “Git yer stinkin’ hands off my wings” even though my mind was screaming, “Sit next to me and talk to me! I’m cool!”

One Friday night, I had nothing to do and nobody to hang out with. Ryan was again at our house, spending time in the basement with my cousin and her boyfriend.

I needed extra credit in my German class, and could earn it if I watched a German movie. I offered for Ryan to come upstairs and watch it with me, but he declined from nerves (so he says). Shocked he would rather spend the evening with two people who only wanted to be making out than with me, who he could be making out with, I stormed upstairs and called every boy I knew who spoke German. (Two.) They both declined my invitation to watch a German movie on a Friday night. Clearly something was wrong with everyone in the English-speaking world, Ryan most definitely included.

So when he cornered me in the kitchen and convinced me to go on a boating trip, I couldn’t understand his attention. I went along for the ride, but soon decided my energies were wasted on him. It only took a day on the lake to change my mind.

{I’ll pick up with the continued boating-trip misunderstandings later.}

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Even more misunderstandings
April 2, 2013 at 4:21 pm


Linda March 25, 2013 at 8:56 pm

This is just exhausting. How did you two ever get together.

Jolena March 26, 2013 at 6:24 am

This takes me right back to my dating days. It’s amazing how easily we forget this stuff, until someone reminds us. So, so, so funny. I still consider it a miracle anytime a couple gets together. It seems like EVERYONE has a story like this about how everything seemed to go wrong at first, but then somehow it still managed to work out. :) You really are a great writer. Love it.

Diane Wright March 28, 2013 at 5:54 pm

I believe we should never read anything into facial expressions because I too have a face that can often be misinterpreted as being sad or mad and it’s hard to fake smile because it doesn’t work either. Anyway, when the girls get to be teenagers, you will have to ignore a lot of negative body language and facial expressions and just let it roll right off of you. As I recall, Ryan did make gestures that could be interpreted as negative when I asked him to do something, but it was best to just ignore it and not make anything out of it, anyway you probably roll your eyes once in a while too and that also OK.

Jenny April 1, 2013 at 10:28 pm

I find it difficult to believe that your cousin wanted to be alone, making out with Ryan’s BFF. :)

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