Letter Re: Saving Your Life and Saving Your Relationships–Don’t Drive Your Loved Ones Away

You are “spot on” with your comments regarding “Saving Your Life and Saving Your Relationships–Don’t Drive Your Loved Ones Away.”

We are in our early sixties, married for 20+ years, and retired for several years. I’m the “captain,” and handle our finances (with the Admiral’s advice and consent…).

That said, the fact is we see the World differently. I am for the most part externally oriented. The Admiral is mostly internally oriented with regard to our home and events, but she indulges me to a certain degree as I wander around studying the situations and circumstances. Often these situations and events seem pretty remote from our lives, from her perspective. Figuratively speaking, her version of a threat is someone one banging on the front door. My version of a threat is someone casing the neighborhood.

A few years ago I earnestly began my study of American economics and culture, and came to some pretty unpleasant assessments. In fact, it was pretty grim. When I began sharing this information with the Admiral I was disappointed with her less-than-enthusiastic responses. I learned (pretty quickly) that she just didn’t want to hear this stuff and it dumbfounded me how she could “ignore” such vital information! We chose to discuss our difference in perspectives and agreed to honor one another’s position(s). I was certainly able to continue my observation and assessment efforts, as long as I didn’t go overboard and begin cutting gun ports in the walls. (My little joke.) She indicated that she is interested in what I learn, but she just wasn’t emotionally equipped to handle the rather constant barrage of data that I was laying on her.

Recognizing these differences we’ve come to a comfortable understanding. She knows a lot more about what I think and why, and she’s helped keep me from going too far around the bend. I feel we’re pulling our wagon together; and sharing Life’s load and challenges. Married Life is not about doing it all your way, and compromises are often necessary. (I know something about that too – but that’s another story.)

To wrap this up, what I learned is to identify what information you want to convey, distill it, and find an appropriate time to transmit the information (probably not at bedtime or during cocktails with friends!). What the Admiral was recoiling to was the constant bombardment of stuff she basically didn’t want to hear to begin with.

One more comparison. During many years in the military I was often tasked to brief flag officers. These folks don’t usually time or inclination for all the detailed information and data behind an analysis (that’s why it’s called is a briefing ). Generals (…and my Admiral) expect their personnel to have reviewed all the information available and arrive at an assessment in often competing situations. And it requires a lot of work to determine what needs to be said if you only have three or thirty minutes before the General.

There are times and situations where a bombardment of information is appropriate; but there are more occasions when a carefully chosen information shot will work better.
Thanks for a well done and very informational web site. Best, – Captain