Staying Curious

Let’s call it what it is, life is tough right now.  We’re still trying to learn our new normal, adjust to working from home, figure out virtual visits, and experiencing a lot of change to our daily routine.  On top of all of that, we are trying to keep our relationships steady and maybe spending more time in our pajamas together.

I have to say, I am personally spending a large amount of time with my partner during the pandemic.  It’s hard to get together with friends or see family, outside of virtual visits.  Since nothing is open, we have been enjoying more movie nights or making dinner together.

With that being said, we are spending so much time together that I cannot lie, he is getting under my skin!

This man breathes so loudly, I have to turn the volume up on the TV when we are watching a quieter movie.  When he comes in the house, he leaves his socks in the entryway – his socks!  He ripped through his pants pocket the other day and continues to wear those pants, even to work. 

I love him, but I have gotten to the point of frustration where I am even questioning why he has loaded the plates on the top rack of the dishwasher.  Who does that!  Why does he do that!  The top rack is clearly for cups and glassware.

It makes me want to scream and get out of the house, but I can’t get out of the house, where would I go?

After days and weeks of soul searching, I realized something really important.  I was no longer curious about my partner.  I wasn’t thinking through why my partner does the things he does.  Is it to tick me off?  Because it sure feels that way some days.

So one night, after a movie with dinner in front of the TV, I asked him, “Out of curiosity, after dinner, why did you load the plates on the top rack of the dishwasher?”

When I tell you this man stared at me with a blank stare, it was blank, like a piece of printer paper fresh out of the ream.  There was truly nothing there.

He responded, “I guess I never thought about it.  If I put them on the top rack, I don’t have to bend down as far to the bottom rack.”

And there it was.  He’s taller than me, of course the top rack is easier to reach.  He’s not stupid like I was assuming, he’s efficient.  And I love that about him. I’ve always loved how he gets to the point with me and never beats around the bush.

What I had been missing in our relationship was my curiosity I had at the beginning.  I had been making assumptions about my partner and not asking questions to understand his thinking.  We’ve been together for four years, and I thought I knew it all, when clearly I did not.

I started asking more questions.  “Hey, babe, when you get home, why do you take off your socks in the entry way?”

“Because you told me that my work boots make my feet stink, so I take them off right when I get home.”

This time he was being considerate of me, and I was assuming he was just being neglectful of my space.

Asking questions and staying curious has really opened wonderful doors of communication for us.  We are working towards stopping our assumptions in their tracks.  It doesn’t come naturally, but we are holding each other accountable.  Now we start our questions with, “Out of curiosity, why do you do it that way?”  That way we know there isn’t a hidden agenda behind our questions.  We are truly curious.

Whether you have been together for 4 months, 4 years, or 40 years, practice curiosity with your partner.  You might learn something new about them, and as a bonus you can stop assumptions in their tracks.

11 thoughts to “Staying Curious”

  1. Excellent word! It is truly better to ask questions than to let anger or irritation build, along with wrong assumptions and subsequently wrong reactions and responses. We’re the 40 years together ones, and we’re still learning – both of us. In many ways that learning involves being more kind, more patient, and less ‘clingy’ to ‘my own ways’ of doing ….. just about anything.
    Prayer is critical, and growing in every biblical character trait that we are exhorted toward in the Word – which also means that serious time in the Word is critical. He is able to bring us together as Jesus desires and as is most beneficial to us!
    Blessings to you!

  2. I LOVE this post!! After being married for a very long time, this issue of being curious about your spouse really is something that will breathe extra life into our relationship. Thank you for posting it!

  3. I love this! You made me laugh. Just this morning, I was thinking about unfulfilled expectations. I have a few of those. But they’re not because my husband doesn’t desire to fulfill them. Instead, it’s because he works at a different pace, and with an excellence I would do well to learn. I love him intensely, and I know he loves me. I know the funny little things that he does and thePace and timing at which he does them, are for my benefit, for us, and for our future. Thank you for the reminder!

  4. Thank you for sharing. It’s not what you say, but how you say it that makes all the difference. I’ve learned to season my words no matter the situation. Most times it’s good. I’m working on those times for when my patience is being tested.

  5. How about when you’ve been married for 48 years, had some indiscretions early on, and can’t forget them. Now your spouse has some serious health issues and you are trying to understand and be nurturing.
    It’s difficult.

    1. KJ,

      You’re describing a life with a lot of pain over a lot of years. Being curious in the face of that must be insurmountable.
      Now that he’s/she’s in the position of really needing your heartfelt care, really depending on it, it seems impossible for you to do so; even though you would like to, maybe even desperately wanting to.

      Opportunity for breakthrough? Maybe so. It may have been a very long time since sharing your feelings about events from so long ago. But they are feelings that still linger. Your spouse may not know, though I suspect that the quality and level of intimacy in your relationship has been speaking it for years. Maybe forgiveness has not truly taken root.

      Risking authenticity about your feelings may be worth the payoff with your spouse. Yes, it is difficult. Maybe the hardest thing you will have done in a long time.

  6. I can’t Express my appreciation for this eye opening post. I personally am guilty of the outright assumptions rather than giving the benefit of the doubt. My husband’s a Man’s Man so to say, using this form of communication will go much further than my norm. We as couples are so close to the situation that at times it takes a third party perspective to get a new point of view that can make a world of difference.

  7. Thank you for this message. I know the way I do things drives my wife crazy. Answering curiosity questions might help your mate understand there’s more than one way to do things.

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