What’s Love Got To Do With It – The Texting Edition
Darren went to Houston to see the Final Four and the NCAA Championship game, and we’ve been burning up the phone lines with texts all day and night. We do alot of texting all the time, mostly because of our schedules. When I’m at work, he’s just getting up to get ready and when he’s at work, I’m at home or running around with family or doing errands, so texting is the easiest way for us to communicate. We love it. My mom, on the other hand, thinks it is a souless of keeping in touch with anyone, especially spouses.
Whenever she sees any of her children and their significant others texting each other, she always asks the same question: Why don’t you people just call each other? She’ll tell you that back in the old days, men and women used to write these things called letters. You poured your heart out to your sweetie on stationery — Google it, ya darn whippersnapper — and he poured his out to you. You read the letters and re-read them and then you tied them all up with a ribbon and put them in a special place. They might get pulled out and read again during special moments, or sadly, when one of the letter writers was gone. But my mom thinks that texting is just a slippery slope to a time when we’ll no longer have to actually speak to each other ever again.
So What’s Love Got to Do With Texting?
I think it can save relationships. You might not be able to tie a ribbon ’round a stack of texts, but those messages could help strengthen the ties that bind you and your sweetheart.
Let’s say you and your better half are upset with each other. Really hacked off. You hear yourself saying the same thing over and over again. So does he, and he’s beginning to pray for hysterical deafness. Nothing is getting accomplished, and with each passing moment, there is a real possibility that something irretrievably nasty could be said. And it’s only seven o’clock in the morning. He needs to get to work. You need to drop the kids and get to your office. He tells you he needs to go and you guys can talk about this later. You mutter back: That’s RIGHT we’ll talk about this later. The morning starts and you both calm down. You replay the whole argument and feel silly about some of the things you said to him. Pick up your phone and text him. Before you think I’m crazy, just text him. And what should I say, Tricia?, you say. I say, you say “Hey.”
That’s it?, you ask. Yes, and it works. “Hey” is one of those words that humans use to enter the space of another human. It’s used when a person is engaged in a moment of their lives that doesn’t involve you — reading a book, watching TV or talking to another person. You need to break the plane of that person’s existence and ask permission to enter their moment.
Pretty heavy stuff for a single word, I know.
You see, “Hi” is too chummy for this situation — it assumes that there is no background noise between you two, and there is. “Hey” is a request for his attention, a chance to turn that noise down. Just don’t be tempted to do the girl thing here and tack on, “We Need To Talk.” No, that explosive and, it must be said, soul withering phrase is implied. To text it would be to change what should be a neutral, “You Busy?,” to a emotionally charged, “dah dah dah DUUUM, Get Ready to Face Your Doom, Buster.” Open a window, don’t nail the door shut.
Ok guys, this is where you come in. Don’t gloat that she blinked. Meet her halfway and say “Hey” back. Then she’ll say something else, then you, then her, and so on, and so on.
I tell you from personal experience, this works. I’m not talking out of school when I tell you I’m not an easy person to live with. As such, I’m usually the one who texts first. It’s only fair that the one who spills the milk cleans up the mess. If Darren and I are hacked off at each other, I need a way to break the plane of his existence again without destroying my own. And “Hey” does that. It is the gentle nudge, the sheepish smile, the slightly pain-in-the-assish, “You still love me, don’t you?” It gives you the in to begin a new conversation and clear the air. And the best thing about texting is, because there isn’t an infinite amount of space to express yourself, you have to edit and distill your thoughts to a succinct, finely honed message. You have to get to the heart of the matter quickly, there’s just no space to dilly dally around. It makes for a quick diagnosis and much of the time, an even quicker resolution. I’ve found that I’m much more likely to be civil when I have to see my words before they’re conveyed to Darren than if they are just allowed to spill from my mouth. And isn’t that what we all want from a partner? Civility and the desire for them not to wreak havoc on the relationship?
Maybe that’s why letters are such treasured relationship artifacts to our parents. The words they used to express their feelings were mulled over and carefully written down because they were expected to last. They helped our parents live happily ever after. Texts are fleeting, but if you use them to keep your relationship strong, they’ll help you live happily ever after, too.
And they’ll help you love on your man even when he’s in Houston watching basketball!