We all converse. It’s crucial in order to successfully survive in society. So, why is it that husbands and wives struggle more with communication than most any other area? Why do our communication shortcomings bring disharmony in all sorts of ways to our marriages?
Let’s go back to the beginning. God told us in Genesis 2:24:
Obviously, God created man and woman differently, or we never would have needed to become one flesh. We wouldn’t have needed one another if we were identical. Once we accept this, then we can accept that our spouse has distinct qualities - that our spouse communicates differently than we do!
Now we’re getting somewhere! But how are men and women unique in their communication? I’m glad you asked. Look at what Bill and Pam Farrel wrote in Men Are Like Waffles - Women Are Like Spaghetti.
“When a man starts a conversation, it is generally because he perceives there is a problem that needs to be addressed. If there is no perceived problem, he feels no particular need to talk. His wife, on the other hand, has a constant desire to talk with her husband. She wants to connect him to everything in her life and assumes he wants to connect her to everything in his life.”
Men are fixers. I think most women would agree, because many times as we share our heart, within sixty to ninety seconds our husband interjects with a short, concise solution. He then feels like the hero until we walk off feeling unheard and unloved. He’s left rubbing his head with no idea as to what just transpired. Your husband thought he “fixed” your problem!
Ladies, God created husbands to think logically, to use their judgement to form conclusions. They were created to provide and protect. They naturally fix and solve. That’s why their first thought is that we are coming to them needing a solution. Let’s see why that’s not always the case.
Women are relational. This becomes obvious when couples are out in a group and the women travel together to the ladies room! Men would never think of that, much less desire it.
Men, your wives were created to see the emotional side of things. They look much deeper than the surface. Once you think you’ve fixed the problem, they’re still investigating the exact words spoken, the tone of voice used, the hand gestures, and the unspoken emotions presented. You get the picture. Your wife is a complicated woman!
But she needs to be emotional and relational. She was created to nurture and raise children. God joined her with you to help you, and to encourage you as the Godly leader of the family. She has the ability to make a house a home, and a group of people a family.
So, when she begins to share her day with you, she’s probably just wanting you to listen. She’s looking for validation, for someone who cares...not necessarily an answer.
How do we bring husbands and wives together?
Wives, since we’re the ones who love to communicate so much, I’ll start with us.
Ask your husband if it’s a good time to talk. I learned years ago that Jeff cannot listen to two things at once, and if his attention is elsewhere, I’m wasting my time and showing him disrespect. It’s ok to wait a few minutes until he can change his focus to me. Our husbands will be much more attentive when respect and consideration is given.
Try to not recount every nanosecond of your story. This is a hard one for me because I remember every word spoken, and every gesture made. But that doesn’t mean Jeff wants me to narrate those details. Ladies, we’ll keep their attention better by giving the high and low points of our story. Let’s respect the fact that most of the male population fairs well speaking and listening to far less words per day than us!
Ask for his thoughts. Bring him into the conversation. Remember, our men were created to fix things. You will show much respect, as well as open the door to good conversation, if you inquire as to what he thinks or would do. Then...do not be offended when he gives you his solution! Thank him for caring and listening to you. Believe me, the more respect and consideration that you show, the more good conversations you will have!
Let her know if you need a moment to free yourself from present thoughts. Your wife will appreciate that you are interested in what she has to say, and will wait to have your full attention. Once you’ve completed what you are doing, give her 100%. She will love you to pieces when she sees you focused on her!
Enter the conversation without quickly solving the problem. You will enjoy her narrative more if you become a part by asking questions or following her lead with excitement or despair. I know you might want to quickly give an ending to the story, but listen and converse more than you typically would. Your wife will feel so loved! You’ll reap the benefits because that love will overflow back to you. It will be worth your time!
If a solution is needed, ask if she would like your answer to the problem before giving it. Even if she doesn’t want your opinion immediately, nine times out of ten, her curiosity will soon lead her back to you. Then, respecting her emotions, share how you feel it would be best for her to approach the situation. This opens the door for the two of you to work together.
You might be thinking, “Seriously, this is too much work!”
But remember, anything worth having is work! No one ever said marriage was going to be easy. If they did, they lied to you. Do we want good, enjoyable conversation? Do we want to connect on a deeper level with our spouses? Do we want the harsh words and selfish attitudes to dissipate?
Let’s start communicating, showing consideration and honest respect for one another.
Seeking the Word,