Miriam: “George! George Oh George! (sigh) why doesn’t that man answer when I call him”.
(there was the sound of the weed cutter in the backyard, and I was looking through the kitchen window and thinking as I blended the oats for the porridge)
George: Eeh(as he paused to wipe the sweat from his eyes)
Miriam: You weren’t listening to me I have been calling and talking to you all morning”:
George: “But hon! I couldn’t hear you amidst all that noise(not that I didn’t hear that she was calling but I was more focused on getting this chore done and getting inside to get a cool drink and to read the morning news)
George continues: “I am resting up for a five so shoot ahead my girl now that you have all my attention, my ears are all yours”.
Miriam:” You know I have been thinking that with all that is happening, I want you to move out of the den. We could use the basement of our home and use it as a bed and breakfast”.
George:(sigh…I knew that was coming) “Ugh, Really! Why would you want to do that?” Isn't that where I keep my tools and that’s my man cave.
Miriam: “Yes! I know and I know you were coming to that too but we need a second income. Your hours have been cut at work and mine will soon be made redundant, and with the baby on the way we are going to need funds.”
George: “Gimme a few let me think on it”(and with that George went back to cutting the yard. But all through the time the tears were welling up in his eyes as he was mulling the thoughts around in his head). She said she wanted me to move out. Does that mean she no longer wants me to be her husband? Does that mean she is having an affair? Is the baby not mine? Finally, what looked like hours and he was through cutting the lawn.
A week later
George: “Hey hon! Do you remember that conversation we had last Wednesday, the one about my man cave? Can we talk?
Miriam: Yes we can
George: What did you mean when you said you want me to move out? Are you seeing someone? Is that why you want me to leave?
Miriam: Oh no! where did you get that from? All I was suggesting is that we could use it for additional income.
George: Gosh! I didn't hear that, all I heard was you wanted me to move. Initially, I thought you wanted to get me out of the house.
Miriam:No..no..no ..that means you weren't listening
George: You almost drove me crazy. But now that that scare is out of the way I am so excited. Yes! I am thinking that we seriously need a second income. My mind is running so fast and I am thinking about all the things we could do with the extra income. I am thinking about all the things that we need to do to get ready. And if you are ready I am also ready to give this a try.”
Miriam: “Oh wow! That is good news, I am so happy to hear that. Let’s get started.”
And with that, they both set out to do the layout plan for the renovation of the basement. But that was easier said than done because….
The contractor: “Mr. George, your wife said that you said that we should place the bathroom along this wall.”
Mr. George: That’s not what I meant, what I wanted was for the drywall partition to be moved along this grain of tile so that the pattern flows right throughout the floor.”
Contractor: Then why didn’t you call me instead of telling your wife when you know she does not understand anything about construction.”
George: How dare you say my wife does not understand? Whatever I told her is what she told you. You are the one that does not understand.”
Contractor: Oh Mr. George, don’t get me wrong, that’s not what I meant. I think there is a bit of misunderstanding. Why don’t we all sit down and talk this thing through? And instead of miscommunicating, we will all have a better understanding of what are your expectations and what am I expected to do. and what are my expectations as well”
And with that, a meeting was convened the same evening
George: Good evening everyone, I have scheduled this meeting because we have been experiencing miscommunication on this project. None of us understand what each person wants to convey and as a result, what Miriam or myself says is not conveyed and understood the same way by our contractor. In the same breath what he says is not received in the proper way. As a result, we are seeing that the job is being delayed and will not be completed at the designated time we had agreed on. Let's put away all he said and you said and I said so that we can agree on what needs to be done.
Miriam: You are so right because what I realized is that while we are lost in the he said and she said we are losing time and money. We have also lost what we should have been focusing on. We totally forgot that the bed and breakfast setup is what we should be excited about.
George: Yes that’s true, we realized that everyone wanted their voice and opinion to be heard and was not interested in how we got it out. Neither did we realized that harsh words were being uttered at each other”
Miriam: That’s so true.
Mr. Contractor: I am so sorry that I caused any problem that was never my intention. All I wanted to know was that we were all on the same page.
George&Miriam together: That’s fine, we are to be blamed as well, we are sorry. Now that we have gotten he said, she said out of the way. Let’s begin all over. Luckily there is not so much damage that it cannot be adjusted.
And with that, they all sat and worked out what exactly are their expectations from both sides.
Moral of the story: Don’t over-analyze, but it can happen in the best of relationships. While it might not be intentional we have to be on guard whenever it does. Whenever we have these, he said she said moments it means that someone or both persons are not listening. It means that frustration can take over and because we tend to get erratic it can send mixed messages and can create a mess. Many relationships have been lost by moments of he said she said. Ideally, we need to sit down and learn how to effectively communicate with all parties involved.
Fast forward: Excited to tell you that the bed and the breakfast is now completed and both George and Miriam are excited with the converted space and the income that they are making from it. From that income, they have become financially independent and they are looking at expanding another room into a bed and breakfast.