The Unspoken Language of Couples

IMG_3830I can only assume that the placement of this empty bottle of celery seed (whatever the hell that’s for) by my husband the “cookerman” means that he needs me to purchase some more. It has been sitting atop the shopping list since he used the last of it to cook dinner on Saturday night.

I consider this part of the spousal unspoken language that couples use and perfect over time. As we approach our 19th wedding anniversary, I can safely assume that I am translating this correctly.

When we were first married, however, my translation skills weren’t quite as good. For example, it took me a full year to understand that when he left the newspaper open on the kitchen table, he was not, in fact, trying to alert me to an interesting, pertinent or relevant article. It simply meant that it was time to go to work.

Now, however, I understand that. Also, that medical bills stuffed into his wallet mean that he is going to check them against our insurance company’s Explanation of Benefits and I should therefore not pay them until he does so. And that his running sneakers left for people to trip over them near the door means they are airing out after a long run.

But here is my question: If the celery seed bottle placed on top of the shopping list means that he needs more of it, how come he doesn’t translate that the various items I have left IN HIS PATH toward the stairs in our house is the universal sign for “Bring this upstairs”?  Does he assume that I have chosen to keep the jumbo pack of toilet paper, dirty beach towels and rolled up socks in the doorway to the hall? It seems to me that this is simply a synonym to the celery seed, isn’t it?

Finally, I asked him about the fire extinguisher which has been located in a corner of the kitchen for a few months.

“Does that work or is it on its way downstairs?”

“I dunno,” he said.

“Didn’t you put it there?” I asked.

“No, I thought you put it there,” I replied.

Which proves one important thing in the unspoken language of couples: We should talk to each other now and then.

Tell us: What are some of the things from your unspoken language?

No responses to “The Unspoken Language of Couples”

  1. Karen

    Jen, you are correct that the “upstairs” items left in plain view is a synonym for the empty celery seed container.
    I do the same thing with the “to go upstairs” items. I leave toilet paper, detergent, tissues, cat litter, toothpaste, DIRECTLY ON THE STEPS. My teenage sons are “sort of” maturing to the point of occasionally taking it upstairs. They (including my husband, sometimes) would literally walk over it or around it. Still do now and then. Now to just get them to take a few more steps to put it where it belongs once it’s upstairs. Baby steps….

  2. Jo Gibson

    I have learned that my husband’s worn clothes left on the bed is the universal sign for “I didnt wear it that long and dont think its dirty. I plan to re wear it.” So dont put it in the laundry.

  3. Lisa

    Mine was an empty jar of italian seasoning left on the counter last week. HAHA

    After reading this, I’m rethinking the two empty canisters of Right Guard he left on the bathroom counter this morning…maybe it’s time for a Target run.

Leave a Reply


nine − 5 =