The unexpected happened today. I called my wife just to make my presence felt in her life. Nothing important to say, just some sort of silly, frivolous message, basically what I’ve been doing for months now. Each time these go straight to voice mail. Not today. When I called this morning, she answered. I was gobsmacked. I delivered my silly little message, she chuckled and basically had no idea why I called. Then I said, “Talk to you later, sweetheart. Bye.”
I honestly have no idea why today of all days she decided to answer the phone. There has only been one other occasion in the past 3 months that she has answered the phone when I called like this. Every other time I have spoken with her on the phone had to do with some sort of logistical issue. Yes, this is childish behavior: I’m going to pretend not to hear the phone ring, and just ignore you in the hopes that you’ll go away. Now, when someone keeps ringing you faithfully, day in and day out, months on end, do you thing that’s going to stop? Seriously.
Later in the afternoon I called her as I was arriving at the office. Again, I had nothing important to say, just a silly message about the person who served me at the coffee shop. And once again, she picked up. I delivered my silly message, she chuckled, and then I said “bye” and hung up. Honestly, this is unprecedented. She does have caller ID on her cell phone, and could easily tell it was me.
Now I know you might be thinking that calling someone every day for months on end is pestering, especially if you do it several times a day like I do. Or maybe you might think it’s some sort of weird, obsessive behavior. I have come to know these strategic communications as “talk charges”. They really are strategic communications. The obstinate spouse simply wants you to play by their rules, and this means that you should just go away. They’ll do all sorts of things to get you to stop, too. One of the most childish methods is to ignore you by not answering the phone. But it is this kind of persistence, phoning every day, regardless of the response (or lack thereof) that actually does change the momentum in a troubled relationship.
I remember the early days, before my wife and I were even dating. She was going through a difficult break-up, and she was leaning on me as a friend. The only problem was that I lived over 100 miles away. So she would call. Or she would text. This would happen pretty much every day, and sometimes several times a day. Did I find this annoying? Sometimes, like when she would text me around midnight as I was trying to get to sleep. But most of the time I just found it endearing, and not a little bit flattering, too. I figured that this girl must really like me or something if she keeps calling me over and over — especially when I live nearly two hours away.
So what now? Oh, I don’t know. I called one final time tonight, and it predictably went straight to voice mail. I say “predictably,” because she is back at Camp You-Know-What. I know she’s back there, even though I have no proof. I’d bet you dollars to donuts that, if I drove up there (which I won’t do, of course) I’d find her there. She won’t be back in town again until next Wednesday, so I can probably expect the rest of my calls to go straight to voice mail. After all, she’s not going to want the adulterer to know she’s talking to me, right?
One thing I do know is that these repeated calls, along with every thing else I’m doing, is eroding her walls of resistance. My attitude is simple: she’s my wife, and I’m going to behave toward her in a way that is consistent with that fact.
I guess I’ll just have to be patient to see how things evolve.