While I was at the retreat over the weekend, I heard many men talk about their marriages and their wives. I heard from a young man married less than two months, and a man older than myself who was about to marry for the third time. I talked to men deeply in love and men not sure they would still be married a year from now. One thing all these men had in common was they did not understand their wife. Some had no clue, and some were guessing at best. A few had nailed down enough to feel less than panicked, while some had long since given up. Many bemoaned the fact women were so impossible to figure out.
I am not putting this on you ladies, because I do not think it is your doing. As I have read comments on my posts here I have heard the same kind of confusion from you I hear from men. The issue is not a matter of one gender is more logical, or more emotional, or more erratic. The issue is the fact men and women are fundamentally different. Given a set of facts, most men will arrive at the same conclusion. Given the same set of facts most women will arrive at a different conclusion. There will be some overlap, but for the most part the conclusions will fall along gender lines. Arguing about why this is so is a waste of time; because it is so, we should learn how to deal with it.
One good way to deal with this is to keep it in mind. When he does something clueless, maybe it is because he is clueless. When he does something rude or hurtful, maybe it is because he does not understand you. When he does nothing at all, maybe it is because he has no idea what to do, and when he does the wrong thing maybe it is because he just took a shot in the dark. Assume he does not understand and offer him grace accordingly. Beyond grace, offer him understanding. Try to tell him what you think and feel in simple ways. Use word pictures or analogies.
Because he feels and processes differently than you do, he will find it difficult to grasp many of the clues you give him. It is like learning a new language without a translation dictionary. He will forget, especially in the heat of an argument or other difficult time. Keep teaching him, and keep showing him grace. If he has not given up, he can learn how to understand you better, which is good for both of you.
BTW, I was going to name this post Alex, Can I Buy a Clue?, but I have already used the title.
~ Paul – I’m XY, and after thirty years of marriage and seventeen years of marriage minstry, I am still stumped on occasion.