Relationships, Part 8: How Was Your Day?

MapMost of us know this question as the desperate conversation opener our parents tried on us when they picked us up from school; as in:

“How was your day, Billy?” said Mother as she surreptitiously checked in the rear view mirror for some clue of emotion.

“Fine,” said Billy, rolling his eyes and plugging into his iPod.

Nonetheless, I believe the question to be an important one, especially between life partners, and deserving of a serious, well considered reply.

A few posts ago, I wrote about the necessity of having an accurate map of the inside of your partner’s mind. I meant it. It’s a necessity. All too often we rely on what we learned about him or her when we were first dating. Well, he might have been trying to impress you then. She may not know the things she knows now. He might have changed his mind.

If google maps came out with a new version, you’d download it, right? You’d like to know that the bridge is out lest you end up in the drink; you need to find your friend who just moved to a new street. The same thing goes with your map of the inside of your partner’s mind. Ask her how her day was. You might be surprised at what you hear.

There are lots of ways of downloading a map of the inside of your partner’s mind. You could ask him what his values, worries, and expectations are and maybe he would have them sorted out enough to tell you. What’s better is to see it in action in the way he treats his secretary, how he talks about his coworkers, and what he does with his boss’s demands.

In order to work best, the question might have to be re-worded. How was your day? may invite one word responses. Tell me about your day is more open-ended, but you may have to be prepared to listen for a while. Tell me about the best and the worse part of your day, strikes a balance.

Ask at a sensible time, like when you would be likely to listen. Asking it at the breakfast table is just weird; the day hasn’t started, yet. Asking in bed at night, when you’re about to drop off doesn’t go well. Asking when the kids are hanging on her gives you a curt response. Asking when friends or family are around gives you the PR version.

Take turns. It’s as important for your partner to download a new version of the map of your mind as it was for you.

How was your day? Ask, listen, and tell. Repeating on a regular basis might, just might, be the most important thing you do to keep you together.

Click here to go to the entire Relationships series.

Published by Keith R Wilson

I'm a licensed mental health counselor and certified alcohol and substance abuse counselor in private practice with more than 30 years experience. My newest book is The Road to Reconciliation: A Comprehensive Guide to Peace When Relationships Go Bad. I recently published a workbook connected to it titled, How to Make an Apology You’ll Never Have to Make Again. I also have another self help book, Constructive Conflict: Building Something Good Out of All Those Arguments. I’ve also published two novels, a satire of the mental health field: Fate’s Janitors: Mopping Up Madness at a Mental Health Clinic, and Intersections , which takes readers on a road trip with a suicidal therapist. If you prefer your reading in easily digestible bits, with or without with pictures, I have created a Twitter account @theshrinkslinks. MyFacebook page is called Keith R Wilson – Author.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: