During our pre-marriage class, one of the women was talking about how difficult it is to get her fiance to talk with her. Not just small, everyday talk, but a deep, emotional discussion that most women thrive on. Men, on the other hand, want to run from it.
I’ve been married 29 years now, and it’s taken me almost this long to make Rick realize how important this type of conversation is to me.
Most men only discuss something when they are seeking a solution. For example: if we are having a problem with one of our cars, Rick will only go to someone knowledgeable about cars to discuss it. He won’t waste his time talking about it with someone else just for the sake of talking about it. Feelings don't enter into the conversation unless someone overcharges him for work.
Most women like to talk about things - just for the sake of talking about things. It is how we work out our problems; we talk through it. We like to talk about our feelings. We don’t want answers or solutions, we just want to talk about it and have someone listen to us.
Because men look for solutions, they assume women must also be seeking answers. So what do they do, they try to solve our problems when we start talking about them. That will drive a woman crazy because she just wants to talk about it. Not only is the man cutting her off in the middle of her discussion, but he’s also trying to solve her problem! When a man rushes to a solution, the woman may feel as if he is not really listening. He’s only thinking of a way to fix her problem and not listening to how it affects her emotionally.
When men try to discuss an issue with their wives, they may get frustrated that she only listens and empathizes with no signs of suggesting a solution. Why waste time and energy talking about it to her then?
My poor husband has tried so hard to solve the mystery of women. He’s learning how to communicate with me by watching how my daughter and I interact. We are deeply in touch with each others emotions and hang on to every word we speak.
Rick also listens to me speak on the phone. “Oh, you’re kidding! Well how did that make you feel? What did she say back to you?” These are all simple phrases that assures the person you are talking with that you are listening. Rick has begun to do this when he talks with me to insure that I know he’s engaged in our conversation.
Listening is the most important part of communication for women, fulfilling a deep level of intimacy. When a husband doesn’t listen wholeheartedly to what his wife says, it hurts her as deeply as the rejection he feels when she doesn’t want to have sex with him.