Loss in translations aside, it seemed unfair that he could not be bothered to adjust his manner of speaking according to audience, as society dictates. You would never converse with your grandmother the same way you do with that friend you trade dirty jokes with, right? If so, your Gran is awesome. Point being, I was frustrated that my spouse talked to me, not as a wife and equal partner, but as a subordinate.

Considering how eagerly he kicks off his boots and becomes an attentive dad and husband the second he walks through the door, I dismissed the possibility that he simply has trouble shedding the uniform at home. The deeper my analysis, the more questions emerged, until something my husband had said simplified it all.

Taking pause to carefully respond during our phone call (I really let him have it), he explained, “I’m talking that way because I’m scared.”

It was my turn to be taken aback. Given his authoritative tone that day, I never suspected fear to be at fault. “This identity theft situation scares me,” he continued, “and I want to fix it.” It all made sense. He was not speaking to me as my superior; he was speaking to me as one problem-solver to another, in the most efficient—albeit, abrasive—way he knew.

He did see us as equal partners. Knowing that this credit hack affected us both pushed him into protective mode, and he was addressing our problem as decisively as he would any military mission. Why did we not share the work? Admittedly, I did not take him up on his offer of help in one of his many irritating phone calls that day. To shoo him away, I said I would take care of everything. It proved overwhelming, and that is a lesson to be saved for another article.

In the meantime, if you ever find yourself frustrated with your spouse’s lack of diplomacy, take comfort in the reasons why something is said, rather than how. That blunt, sometimes overbearing speech may indeed be the soldier in your spouse, but it is the same soldier who would never hesitate to fight for you.


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