Sometimes during System Shutdown, he'd try to talk to me: "What's wrong?"
"Nothing," I'd say, clearly lying, with my arms crossed and eyes glued to the floor.
But there wasn't silence in my head. The angry monologue played: I can't believe he doesn't know what's wrong. It's so obvious. Ooooh boy, that just makes me more mad that he doesn't know. If he really loved me, he would know.
I was certain he could read my mind, he should read my mind. My poor husband, newly trapped in a marriage with a mute wife holding impossible expectations over him.
Gradually, I learned to stop equating true love with mind meld. Too, I saw Kyle's earnest, genuine desire to meet my needs. To help him, when I grew frustrated, I learned to pinpoint what was truly bothering me and calmly and specifically address it with him. I learned to directly ask for what I needed from him. I quit the silent treatment cold turkey.
System Shutdown is completely and forever shutdown.
Or so I thought.
Although I no longer expect my husband to read my mind, I realized recently that I often expect other people to do it.
Like my children. Do they know how proud I am of them or how I am delighted by their gifts and quirks? Do they know what I hope for them or what I pray for them? Do they know how valuable and special they are to me?
Or my friends. Do they know how thankful I am for their encouragement or how much I appreciate the things they do for me, liking keeping my kids or remembering my birthday? Do they know that I couldn't make it without them or that I see God using them in powerful ways?
Or my mentors. Do they know that I thrive on their example? Do they know that I appreciate their leadership and service? Do they know they've made a profound impact on my life?
Or the people hurting around me. Do they know that I care about what they're going through or that I am challenged by their faithfulness to the Lord? Do they know that I am praying for them and thinking of them? Do they know they aren't alone?
And maybe even still my husband, but in a different way than before. Does he know that I respect his leadership in our home and in our church? Does he know how I honored I feel to be his wife? Does he know that I think he's funny or that I appreciate that he makes the bed every morning?
My presence isn't enough. They aren't going to know these things by osmosis.
Generic thank you's or I love you's aren't enough. They aren't going to know the depth of how I feel unless I'm vulnerable and specific.
Thinking it and feeling it isn't enough. They aren't going to know unless I speak the words.
They can't read my mind.
So they must read my lips.