Alex, Can I Buy a Clue?
More often than you would think, men have no idea what their wife wants. Same for knowing what she is thinking, or understanding what she is saying. Some try to express this, some hide it. Some get upset. Some just stop trying.
Yes, some of this can be blamed on not paying attention, but there is far more going on.
- You and your husband do not speak the same dialect. Most of the words are the same, but the meanings can differ.
- Women usually use far more words than men do. If he cannot keep up, he will miss some of what you say.
- Men are less able to pick up subtle cues.
The first issue is one you should both work on. Learn not to assume, especially when your spouse seems upset. Ask for and offer definitions and clarification. Build a translation dictionary. As I say, you should both work on this – he has a responsibility here.
The second two are not things he can do much about because they are rooted in brain differences. You use more of your brain for language, and he cannot change how his brain is wired. Your brain is better at empathy, and again he cannot change this about himself. Expecting him to change on these is setting both of you up for frustration. It is like the classic “If you don’t know, I’m not telling you.”
I recall a discussion Stu and Lisa had on their Stupendous Marriage podcast. He said it would often be good if she gave him the point first, then went back and filled in the details. She was confused; why would he want that? To her it was like giving a joke’s punchline first. I get what he means – if he knows where something is going he can better fit the facts together.
To help him follow you:
- Avoid nuance and hints – be direct.
- Remove some of the less relevant information so he doesn’t get lost.
- Give him some idea where you are going when you start.
- Do not expect him to notice tone of voice, body language, or facial expressions.
~ Paul – I’m XY, and the way my lovely wife picks up on certain things feels like magic.