Do you ever feel like you and your spouse are a mile apart when it comes to solving problems? Don’t feel bad. Most married couples go through this at some point in the marriage. However, the goal is to learn how to solve conflict and get to a place where you have less conflict and enjoy each other. There is a science behind it.
Most couples end up farther apart when they discuss problems rather than getting closer to a solution. If you want to improve how you communicate, you have to know the difference in how both men and women communicate. How we communicate is often the bridge between improving or worsening the problem.
What You Should Know
When a man hears a problem, he thinks about ways to fix it. This is often a big mistake many husbands make. We often move from the listening phase of the conversation to “let me help you fix it.” This can be very irritating for your wife. To her, it feels like you don’t have time to listen to her. She feels like you always want to save her when she does not need to be rescued. Men are driven by solving problems. It is just how they are. Husbands must learn to be in the moment and listen to what their spouse is saying. If you don’t understand, ask questions and paraphrase. When paraphrasing, it tells your spouse you are listening and paying attention.
Women think of ways to talk about the problem. Women usually prefer to talk out a problem before hearing a solution. In fact, sometimes talking is the solution. Women are communicators by their nature. That is one of the reasons why friendship is so important to her well-being. Any husband who takes the time to listen to his wife regularly will win her heart. Most of the time, if husbands would take the time to listen to their wives, half of their problems would be solved. Talking to her already let her feel better. Talking about it is a form of closure for her.
Men tend to think in terms of solutions. That is understandable because fixing things makes a man feel useful. Offering solutions is his way of showing his wife that she can rely on him for help. Husbands are baffled when their solutions are not readily accepted, but “understanding must precede advice,” warns The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work. “You have to let your partner know that you fully understand and empathize with the dilemma before you suggest a solution. Often, your spouse isn’t asking you to come up with a solution at all—just to be a good listener.”
What You Can Do
For husbands: Practice empathetic listening. There is a big difference between listening and hearing. You can hear your wife speaking, and you are not listening to her. Develop the art of listening. Be in the moment, and show her that what she is saying to you is important. Let her express herself without interrupting her. She will often feel better by just knowing you took the time to listen.
Try this: The next time you discuss a problem with your wife, resist the urge to give unsolicited advice. Make eye contact, and focus on what she is saying. Nod in agreement. Repeat the gist of what she says to show that you get the point. It shows you are listening.
For wives: Say what your needs are. Too often, wives want their husbands to become mind readers. I know it feels very romantic when he just pulls information from your brain and does it without you saying a word. The truth is, he’s not wired that way. If you want to get it done, talk to him about it. Don’t expect him to know how you always feel. Men are not as sensitive as you are. Men like it when they are told to do something rather than expecting to do it.
Try this: If your husband prematurely offers solutions, do not conclude that he is being insensitive. Likely he is trying to lighten your load. “Instead of getting annoyed,” Try to realize that your husband does care and wants to listen but that he also just wants to help.”—Bible principle: Romans 12:10.
For both: Ask yourselves this question: How does my spouse want to be treated? It is not good enough that you want to treat your spouse the way you want to be treated. How you want to be treated might not be how your spouse wants to be treated. The only way to learn how your spouse desires to be treated is to ask them. And to get their answer, you have to communicate and listen. We tend to treat others the way we want to be treated. However, to discuss problems effectively, you need to consider how your spouse would like to be treated.
This article was used with permission and reposted from Knot Easily Broken
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