I mentioned in What He Most Wants in Marriage that men rated communication as very important in marriage.
- 33% of men and 39% of women said it was the most important thing.
- 15% of men and 27% of women rated it #2.
- 16% of men and 9% of women said it was #3.
That means 64% of men put communication in the top three of sixteen items. Overall, it was number one, with sex coming in at number three.
Q. If so many men are all about communication, why are so many wives frustrated by the lack of communication in their marriages?
A. Because men and women communicate differently.
It does not matter if this is due to genetics or how we are raised (I’d say some of both) because it is true regardless of why it is true. The real question is what can you do about it?
- Start by knowing the problem is real. Rather than assuming he understood you unless he says he didn’t, assume he did not fully understand you, even if he said he did. Rather than assuming you understood him, assume you missed some part of what he meant. Learn to repeat what he said in your words, and ask if that is right. When you have any hint he may not have completely understood what you said, ask him to repeat it in his words.
- Avoid hints. Men are not as good as women at getting hints, and when you add differences in gender definitions to that it gets even worse. Blunt is good, subtle is asking for problems.
- Don’t take it personally when he fails to understand you.
- Don’t make it his fault when there is a misunderstanding. See it as a challenge for both of you.
- Know when to drop it. Sometimes complete understanding is not possible, and other times it is not worth the aggravation it will take. Pick your clarification battles, and learn to say, “It’s not that important.”
- Know when NOT to drop it. Sometimes it is important to understand or to be understood. In addition to things that really matter, this is true for situations that keep coming up.
- Build a mental translation guide for yourself. “When he says X he means Y” and “When I say A he hears B”.
~ Paul – I’m XY, and I can speak female…with a noticeable accent.