I’m trying to understand men but they are a strange species. After 32 years of marriage I know a lot about men’s hobbies, their thirst for competition, their dirty laundry and the pungent smell it gives off, their voracious appetites…I just don’t understand their communication style. Actually, what I really don’t understand is their lack of communication. Or their lack of need to communicate deeply and thoroughly.
Basically when it comes to communication, women Do and men Don’t. I mean, men will talk. From time to time. They just don’t really put their All into communicating with us. There’s a subtle difference.
For example, I’m having a conversation with my husband. I’m using 2,346 words to try to adequately and completely explain my position on something, why it means so much to me, how it makes me feel…and he’s looking down at the callouses in his hands. Jiggling his leg up and down. Checking the weather on his phone.
“Honey, please, can you look at me when we talk?” I ask.
He looks at me. He is not rolling his eyes but he might as well be. I’d like his full attention when I’m talking with him. I want his eyes on me and his attention focused on what I’m saying. He wants the conversation to be shortened, for me to get to my point quicker, so he can get back to work. He needs to accomplish something–and so do I.
But what I want to accomplish is something big, in my mind. I’m trying to connect with him. I want to really understand him. And I want him to understand me, to hear my heart, so that we experience a real connection…
And He’s in agreement with that. He just feels that he can understand me with 1/4 the amount of words I normally use. It’s not that I feel More is Better when it comes to the words required for good communication. But for men, Less is More is definitely their philosophy.
My daughter has experienced this with the guys she has dated. They’re interested in her. They show it by frequently checking in with her and texting her often. But it’s the text messages themselves that are so humorous and revealing. A typical exchange usually has the guy first texting, “Whats up”. Two words. She’ll answer with a pleasant, detailed description of her day and what she’s doing, and then asks him how his day is, and then he’ll text back, “Nice.” One word.
People, this starts in nursery school. It may even begin in the womb. They’ve done studies on this. In general girls develop language at a faster rate than boys, according to the Encyclopedia of Children’s Health.
My question is- God, why give us the head start in communication if men are only going to lag behind the rest of our lives !?
I think God is laughing with joy over our communication mishaps and our struggles to understand each other. There is nothing wrong with putting effort into understanding someone, in my book.
Just bear in mind, a little humor and a lot of love can even out these communication differences.
This is my husband and me on a typical morning, having a conversation (or while I am talking to him and he is supposedly listening):
Me: So honey, there’s something I want to share with you. But first I want to give you the background of what happened so you’ll know why this is important to me…
Him: (Nodding head, blank stare, coffee cup gratefully in his hand
Me: (…I launch into a fully detailed description of the upsetting event that made me want to share the whole scenario with my husband so he could understand how this affected me and could then reinforce and corroborate the accuracy and validity of my response to the person)
Him: “Get to the point, woman.” (Said very lovingly but with exasperation)
Woman: “You missed my point! I just made it. So let me explain again about what my point was and this time, honey, please don’t miss my point because last time when we talked about this you……”
Him: “Honey…Sweetheart…(looking at time on cell phone) …uh, it is now the year 2019. We’ve got to wrap this up. I’ve got to get to work.”
But it’s all part of that matrimonial package of blessings, quirks, challenges and differences that we have to deal with. Actually, because I’m married, I get the privilege of having these challenges. I’ve come to accept that he is not trying to tune me out. He is not tired of hearing my story, my pain, my joys. If anything, he applies a lot of effort and patience when listening to me. He really tries. I need to focus more on that.
And here’s what I really love about him–he still sits down when I call him over and tell him there’s something I need to tell him. He still sits with me, and sits through those extra wordy descriptions he could do without. I usually reach out and hold his hand while we talk. Because sometimes he’s the one who actually wants to open up and share something. And when he does, sometimes I’ll touch his callouses while I’m listening. Rub my finger tip over the hard work-worn spots. I’ll notice them and think of how hard he works. How faithful he is. My mind can wander. I remember the hot tea he brought me that morning.
“You weren’t listening,” he’ll interrupt my thoughts and chide me with a grin.
“Oh yes I was,” I answer with that look in my eyes. “I was listening to my heart. I was thinking about what a good man you are.”
Ironic, isn’t it? 20 words. Maybe Less is More. That’s all it took for me to tell him I’m listening, that I care, that I love him.
And always will.
Watch our video SAVE YOUR RELATIONSHIP! How to Communicate- 7 Steps to a Fair Fight