Good communication is the cornerstone of every successful marriage.  I think the fact that John and I make time to talk on a daily basis has helped us weather storms that capsize many marriages.  Unfortunately, the simple act of talking doesn’t insure good communication especially if you don’t speak the same language.  Just as Newspeak slowly replaced English in George Orwell’s novel 1984, my darling husband abandoned English in favor of Johnspeak many years ago.  I certainly don’t mean to imply that this was a diabolical plan to seize control of our marriage, at least I don’t think so.  However, he has such a unique way of expressing ideas that it has taken me almost 40 years to understand what he means.

Example #1:  Lack of Specificity

John: What are we doing this weekend?

Terri:  (Internal monologue: I just told him 20 minutes ago what we were doing this weekend.  Is this early onset Alzheimer’s?  Is he having mild strokes?) Are you serious?  I just told you a little while ago what was going on this weekend.

John:  I know but I wasn’t paying attention.  You don’t have to be nasty about it.  Just tell me again.

Terri:  When you don’t pay attention, could you start your sentences with, “I know you just told me but…”  Then I won’t have to worry that your brain is turning to mashed potatoes.

Example #2:  Lack of Focus

John:  Hey, you’ll never guess what happened today…(sentence trails off as he turns to look at something out the car window.)

Terri:  (Long pause) Well, what happened?

John:  When?

Terri:  Today!

John:  What happened today?

Terri:  I don’t know.  You said, “Hey, you’ll never guess what happened today,” so I want to know what happened.

John:  I wonder what I was going to say?

(I think this was the closest we ever got to an Abbott and Costello routine!)

Example #3:  Poor Word Choice

I helped John split wood for over an hour yesterday, and this was the ensuing conversation.

John:  You’re not planning on living anywhere else are you?

Terri: What?

John:  You’re not going to go off and leave me are you?

Terri:  That depends.  What have you done?

John:  Well, about the time the kids got big enough to be good help, they left.  You’re turning into pretty good help so I wanted to make sure you weren’t going to leave, too.

Terri:  Thanks, I think.

After all these year’s, I can finally translate Johnspeak.  What he meant was, “Thanks for helping with this task.  You are a great partner, and the love of my life.”  If you plan on living with the natives, you have to learn the language.

5 Responses to “Johnspeak”

  1. Oh Terri, you know, my husband and I have had many such conversations over our 17.5 years of marriage, so I know exactly what you’re talking about here.

    Well…almost. I’m the “John” in the relationship. So I guess my husband knows exactly what you’re talking about and I don’t really see too much wrong with some of John’s reactions!

    Difference between John and me though? I think my brain *is* going to mush.

  2. Terri LeBlanc says:

    How funny! I did get a good laugh..

  3. Terri LeBlanc says:

    However, if I didn’t know who you both were, maybe not so funny..

  4. Terri says:

    You know John so you know that everything on here is true.

  5. Elaine Farres says:

    How sweet! You really summed it up in language that I can understand and relate to! 🙂

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