When Doug and I were newlyweds, we used to go to dinner and notice how many couples around us were eating together in silence.
We always commented on how sad it seemed that they didn’t have anything to say to each other.
One of the things Doug and I loved about each other when we met was that we could communicate easily about everything.
On our first date, we talked until we noticed we were the only two left in the restaurant.
I’ve noticed lately, however, that there is a lot more silence between us.
On our six-hour trip to the beach over Memorial Day, I fell into my beach trip routine of listening and singing along to my road trip playlist.
We shared some Pop Chips, and Doug sipped on his Diet Coke while I downed my big old water bottle.
We commented on the distance to the next Sonic, where we always stop for drinks with lots of crushed ice.
As we got to the Outer Banks, we chatted about changes since last summer’s hurricane.
We commented on the fishermen, the boats, and the sun sparkling on the water, but mostly, we rode silently, contentedly along.
I remembered those quiet couples from years ago and wondered whether we misjudged them.
Maybe they didn’t need to talk to each other because the silence between them created a comfortable, relaxed intimacy that didn’t need the constant exchange of words.
I analyzed my quiet moments with Doug and whether we’d run out of things to say to each other, but that wasn’t it at all. Doug and I always have plenty to discuss.
We share the details of our daily events, chat about our daughters and families, and almost always talk about politics, religion, crossword puzzles, and plans for the future.
We also always talk about being grateful.
When we acknowledge something we are particularly grateful for, one of us inevitably says, “You know what I want to say…”
Then we recite in unison, “We are so blessed!”
We never have awkward silent moments that feel empty or hollow.
Instead, we enjoy a kind of closeness that comes from simply being together.
In fact, sometimes, words can get in the way of those moments.
I love it that we don’t have to talk just to fill the hushed air. We don’t feel the need to banter.
So as we drove to the beach, I relished the pleasant, comfortable, peaceful quietude of just being with him.
Maybe we should have admired those couples we saw all those years ago instead of pitying them.
Maybe they had something beautiful going on between them that we just didn’t understand yet.