From the time I was a little girl, I never really had much to say. I remember riding in the car with my dad, neither of us saying a word for a really long time. He broke the silence by commenting that he liked that we didn’t need to talk to enjoy being with each other.
My parents understood my personality. But I worried that, when I grew up, nobody else would—especially a boyfriend. All the movies I watched seemed to show that successful and happy relationships involve a perfect guy with a talkative girlfriend. She always had something to say, and it was always cute, smart, and funny. No awkward silences, ever. How was I to become her?
When I first set eyes on my future husband, Victor, I was too scared to talk to him. Little did I know he was feeling the same way. I think that’s part of why I liked him so much. He was quiet like me.
When we finally did come up with enough courage to form complete sentences, we soon found no difficulty in keeping the conversation going. We understood each other’s personality. We were totally comfortable around each other whether we talked or not.
We don’t need to say a word. I love that we can both get home after a long day at work, say very little to each other as we wind down for the evening, and understand each other completely as we cuddle together on the couch. Through the silence we communicate, “I know it was a rough day, but it’s over and I’m here.” It’s like an unspoken language that only our hearts hear.
The beauty of silence is something we can both appreciate. But there are times that we both need to step out of the realm of silence. Both sides of our personalities are deeply important in our relationship, and I doubt that we would understand so much about each other without the will to embrace both sides.
Unfortunately for Victor, my verbal side is more active at night. Pillow talk is my thing. Poor guy—he’s passed exhaustion when I finally feel like talking. I’m sure he feels like I’m going on and on without making much sense. Annoying as I’m sure I must be, he listens. And it makes me feel understood and loved.
Victor finds his voice in the shower. Usually when I’m in a rush to hustle around the house and get things done, he wants to have a deep and meaningful conversation from behind the curtain. So I sit in the hallway and listen, to make sure he feels loved and understood too.
What we say matters to each other. And what we don’t say matters too. We usually use few words to express ourselves, and that’s okay. Understood silence is a gift that few attain. But we have also learned that it is never a bad thing to let it all out when need be.
If I could go back and give my younger self some advice, I would say that I shouldn’t worry so much about trying to change. I’m different for a reason, I’m proud of what I contribute to the world because I’m unique. I can spend quality time with the people I love, whether I have something to say or not. My husband values who I am, including my personality quirks. I do the same for him. Spoken or unspoken, every good relationship relies on that kind of understanding.