In last week’s post, I spoke about women needing to be aware (or needing to remember) that women and men process information differently. Males tend to do so slower. Therefore, a woman may get frustrated or feel like a man is non-responsive when, in reality, he’s still taking the information in.
Having simple information like this really helps couples to better connect with each other and not feel so disappointed in their relationship.
In today’s blog, I’d like to address some fine-tuning to assist the gents – to offer a road map, if you will (since I know how much guys hate to ask for directions).
Referring to a couple with whom I was working, he reported, happily, that they were communicating a lot more. You probably won’t be surprised to find out that her version on the matter was not as satisfactory. Truth be told, her comment was something like, “Well, yes, we’re talking but just about things … not about us.”
As she made this statement, if this were a movie, the director would now do a close-up of his face to capture a look of “He’s clueless!”
One of the main problems this couple has been having is, like so many other couples, that of communication. What was even more difficult for these two is that he tends to be opinionated and argumentative in their discussions. So, when he reported that they’ve been talking a lot more and it’s been pleasant conversation, he did so with a great deal of pride because of the effort he made to change his style.
I now literally had to walk him through, step-by-step what a conversation would look like that would be of a personal nature; one that would allow his wife to feel more connected, or “to be there” for her. I decided to lay out these steps to the men reading this post as well.
1. When a woman tells you something of a personal nature, she doesn’t want you to offer a solution; she doesn’t want you to fix it. She only wants to have you hear her; have you share in her private feelings and thoughts.
2. If you’re not sure of what she wants, ask! “Do you want me to offer a solution or shall I just listen?”
3. After she has said whatever she wants to share with you, some small gesture, like putting your hand on hers or nodding is comforting. It may even be enough for her.
4. This is really important: You don’t have to agree with what she’s saying. You don’t have to understand her logic. She’s merely expressing her feelings and/or thoughts to you.
5. Questions like: “Can you tell me more about it?” “How did that make you feel?” or statements like: “Oh, I see” “Wow” or “That must have been hard” are all good.
6. Statements like: “You’re being silly” “You’re being oversensitive” “You’re over-reacting” or “Get over it” will land you sleeping on the sofa.
7. Eye contact, unless you’re driving, adds extra points. If you’re driving, a gesture like a touch on the knee is connecting.
8. And … the most fatal mistake of all: Don’t ever use what she’s told you against her in an argument or to prove a point.
Though I’ve tried to add some levity to this issue since I’m writing to you guys, please take the message seriously. The relationship and life you save may be your own!