Brad spoke in a whisper for most of the time we spent together face-to-face. The theory was that during his shoulder surgery one of his vocal cords became nerve damaged when they put the tube down his throat and it stopped working. Talking with only one vocal cord forced him to communicate with more effort. He spoke with a lot of expression and at times I wondered if he was forcing it too much.
Brad said that it was affecting him at work. It really did seem to bother him. It was affecting his communication with his coworkers and his ability to present himself optimally in meetings. Over time I could tell it was getting old.
I was pretty worried about him too. The doctors assured him over time it would likely come back, however it was without a guarantee. His mother (a retired speech pathologist) wasn’t overly concerned either, so I just hoped in time, for him, that it would return.
Looking back I wonder if the hushed dynamic forced me to listen more closely to his words. Perhaps it made me focus more closely and pay increased attention to his body language. Yet, I believe I would have listened intently to what he was saying no matter his voices clarity and volume.
The differences between Brad’s quiet (albeit involuntary) voice and laid-back personality drastically contrasted the man who I was communicating with (or trying to) within my own home.
At home my husband typical verbal tome was loud and aggressive. He was uptight and hostile. Many things would annoyed him, offend him, frustrate him and he would go on and on it seemed about these (often little) things. I confidentially shared with my best friend Erika how I wished personality transplants were possible. I’d have quickly switched out my hubby’s for Brad’s in a heartbeat!
I know that sounds so bad! It really wasn’t like that, I swear! I was wishing for the qualities Brad possessed, it wasn’t that I wanted to cheat on him. It is not like I wished Brad would have whispered sweet nothings in my ear! Oh, my! Not at all! I wasn’t fantasizing about Brad… just truly appreciating him.
Being around Brad seemed so easy. I felt accepted, appreciated, relaxed and hopeful… and I am sure most everyone who shared time with him felt the same. I hardly think I was unique.
In great contrast, being around my husband was extremely hard. He was almost always grumpy, aloof, and angry. This often left me feeling rejected, taken for granted, and fearful. The difference between the two seemed to be colossal. I was becoming more and more aware of the contrast between the two. I also was becoming more and more aware how different my husband was from me, and not just because of his communication style.
As a natural optimist, I often focus on the good with my thoughts and my words. I enjoy relaxed conversations about art and culture. I enjoy exploring new places, cuisine and ideas. I want to share life with someone who actually enjoys it. I bravely began to think more about of the type of man I craved to grow old with, someone like Brad. The contrast between the two of them became increasingly clear. It forced me to realize that something needed to change.