Living In Victory!
Is it true what they say? — "Women speak in estrogen and men hear in testosterone"? Well, when it comes to the way men and women communicate with each other, it sure seems like it.
When you use those dreaded words, here's how she interprets it: "He doesn't care about me...He doesn't care about us...I can never seem to get through to him." You think that using those words will somehow "protect" yourself or make it go away. WRONG! In reality, you're only delaying the inevitable. She'll bottle up her feelings and frustrations and that pressure cooker will blow somewhere down the line ... and in your direction!
You need to learn a new and better approach if you're going to get anywhere communicating with your woman.
Why does this method tend to work better with men? Here’s the reason:
- You don't trigger his "alarm system" with that scary “We need to….” message. Remember this … men interpret the “need” word as being controlled, and do you know any man who likes to be controlled?
- The "by the way" lead-in makes the issue seem not so big and bad and probably something that is no biggie for him to handle.
- You are quickly mentioning up-front only one very specific issue, so the wild catastrophic fears in his imagination don't have time to get their teeth into him.
- The "I'd like to get your opinion on this" makes him feel not inadequate or helpless, but significant, needed and that you respect him. Magic for a man’s ears!
- The "now or tonight at 7:30" gives him the feeling or sense of being in control. You are so good to him, you give him two choices, and both choices are his!
- You avoid the “don’t wanna talk about it” door-slam in her face that she interprets as “We’ll never talk about it…ever!” That only makes her feel hopeless, more frustrated and angry with you.
- Giving her a couple of times you WILL talk about it gives her hope and reassurance that her feelings and her needs will be heard. Medicine to her soul!
- The “so I can concentrate and we’ll have fewer distractions” tells her that you put her needs and this topic first on your priority list and don’t want anything to get in the way.
- Get to the bottom line fast. DON’T say: “Listen, we need to talk about something.” This instantly makes him anxious, may make him defensive, and when that happens, he may hear nothing you say. Solution: get to the point quickly. DO say: “Honey, when could we sit down and talk about what happened with your Mom the other day? Would now be good, or tomorrow after work?” He still may be uneasy and less than overjoyed about the topic, but at least he’ll be less likely to shut you out.
- Avoid telling him what to do. DON’T say: “You need to stop talking to the kids like that.” This only makes him feel controlled, and that only leads to resistance or rebellion. Make “you need to…” off limits in your relationship! Interesting how most men love to be IN CONTROL, but hate to BE CONTROLLED, isn’t it? DO say: “Sweetheart, it would really make me happy if you could try to be a little more patient with the kids.” And whatever you do, don’t say those words in front of the kids! Behind closed doors and only when he’s in a pretty good mood.
- Don’t force him to talk about problems “right now.” Women typically want to talk things out right away and vent their feelings. They need the security of knowing all is well, or at least as well as it can be. Men, on the other hand, like talking about problems about as much as getting a root canal. DON’T say: “We’re not going to sleep until we get this settled.” DO say: “I know it’s late and you don’t feel like talking right now, I understand. So, when would be a better time to talk about this, tomorrow morning, or later in the day tomorrow?” Try to get him to commit to a definite time, but do not push him to talk when he’s tired, angry, hungry or in a bad mood … and definitely not when his favorite team loses! This way you’ll avoid the emotional outbursts, the “whatever” freeze-out, or the brick wall going up. You’ll also save yourself from a whole lot of stress and frustration.
- Avoid the Electronic Zone-Out. If he’s watching TV (especially sports), using the computer, or texting, don’t even try getting your point across. You’ll only get upset and he’ll get irritated. DON’T say: “You’re not even hearing a single word I’m saying, are you?...You never listen to me!” DO say: “Hey, let me know when you can take a break from that so we can discuss this weekend’s plans, OK?” Too often electronic “toys” cause more communication problems than they solve. Don’t try to compete with them. Life is hard enough. Yes, he “should” turn off everything when he hears your voice. But that is not the real world, is it? Seize windows of availability carefully, or create them with this technique. And watch your tone of voice. If you’re frustrated or angry, don’t say a word to him. Instead, shoot up a quick prayer, inviting the Lord right into the midst of your attitude and your reaction—allow Him to be Lord over your reaction, sweetening your attitude—and then when you talk to your man, he’ll hear more love and less wrath.
- Beware of communication overload. Stick to ONE issue and one issue only when you have his attention. You want him to feel that he can handle dealing with the issue at hand. If he feels that he’s overwhelmed and can’t “fix” it, he may create some conflict to push you away, or withdraw to “protect” himself, leaving you stuck with no solution. Memorize it—ONE ISSUE AT A TIME.
- When you can’t resolve things right away, it helps to write down your thoughts and feelings to relieve and release built-up hurts, anger, stress or frustration. It also helps to write in a personal journal or diary a letter to God, pouring out all that’s on your heart. Let it all out. You can then talk it out later with your man, and things will be less likely to escalate due to the pressure cooker build-up.
- Don’t try to “fix” it. When she talks to you—or tries to—do NOT try to solve the problem instantly. She doesn’t just want a solution or a quick fix. She wants to know you CARE. Put everything else aside and tune in to her. LISTEN, don’t fix. I’ll repeat that power tool for you: Listen, Don’t fix. Memorize that one.
- Let her talk to your face, not to the back or side of your head. When she talks to you, look at her face-to-face. Unglue your eyes from the computer, the TV, the texting, or any other distractions. Eye-to-eye, unhook from everything else. When she talks to the back of your head, you don’t even want to know what she is thinking … not happy thoughts! When you show her that you “love” your electronic toys more than her, you end up sacrificing a lot more than you think.
- Don’t forget to remember … the little things. A hug. A squeeze. A tickle. A love note in the fridge or on her pillow. A gift for no occasion at all. A surprise compliment. Over time, doing the little things produces big results. Get a copy of a little how-to manual with a truckload of great ideas to help you think of these little things. It’s called “Light Her Fire” by Ellen Kreidman. And while you’re at it, buy a copy of “Light His Fire” and give it to her.
- Keep your promises. If you tell her you’re going to do something with her, fix something for her, call at a certain time, be home at a specified time, do something with the kids — DO IT, or don’t commit to it. Trust is a huge part of respect, and you need both. Keep your commitments and you build trust and respect on a solid foundation.
- Don’t try to avoid talking about problems. Ask her questions when she brings up something that’s bothering her. Sure, you want it to just “go away,” but force yourself to ask her to say MORE about it. Crank up your courage and ask her to elaborate. For example, she says, “We need to talk. I have asked you three times to clean out the garage.” You are tempted to say, “Oh brother … here we go again!” NOT SMART! Say that and you set yourself up for more complaints and more nagging. Count on it. Instead, say something like this: “Yeah, I know, you’re right. I’m sorry. I should have taken care of that stuff the first time you mentioned it. Can you tell me where you’d like me to put…And what would you like me to do first?...I’ll do that first thing Saturday morning, is that OK?” Her shock will subside but the payoffs will keep coming. God says that He “resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” Humility is the greatest power tool on earth, even though it is seldom used.
- Learn how to handle Hint Language. Women tend to speak what we call “Hint Language,” indirectly revealing their needs and desires. For example: “Honey, does this dress make me look fat?” Husband, riveted to his computer, gives her a quick glance, looks back at the computer, and says, “The dress looks fine.” He didn’t get the hint. It’s NOT just about the dress! What she really means is, “I don’t feel good about myself right now and I need some reassurance that I’m pretty and you love me as is.” Learn to LISTEN FOR THE NEEDS, not the logic. Read between the lines and behind the scenes. Here’s an area where you need real wisdom. So, what would be the right response to, “Honey, does this dress make me look fat?” Try this, turning your chair toward her voice and face, and say, “Hmm, turn around…let me see the back…turn around…I think you look GREAT in that dress. It’s perfect for this occasion.” Find something positive to say about HER in the dress, not just the dress.
- Avoid pushing the Disrespect Button. “Oh brother, here we go again!” “Yeah, yeah, we’ve gone over this a thousand times…” “Whatever.” Devaluing what she says only hurts, never helps. And when you say stuff like this, she only buries her feelings and the pressure cooker builds up steam. Later that day another trivial issue may come up, but because you didn’t take care of business with her when she needed you . . . boom! For the sake of your relationship, and self-preservation, show her that her needs matter even if it doesn’t seem like a big deal to you. If it’s significant for her, decide to make it matter to you too.
- Don’t be afraid of the Whirlwind of Words. A guy is looking through the Sunday paper one morning and runs across a study that shows that “the average woman uses an average of 6,000 to 8,000 words a day and five tones of voice. The average man speaks about 2,000 to 4,000 words a day with only three tones of voice.” Very excited, he shows the study to his wife, now that he has proof she talks too much, and now he can justify his lack of interest in talking to her. After reading the study and giving this some serious thought, she says, “That makes perfect sense. It’s because we have to repeat everything we say over and over to men.” To which he of course responds, “What?” Here’s the deal. It’s really about trying to GET CLOSE and CONNECTING with you. This is about “intimacy”. And when you choose to let her talk, and you choose to really listen and talk with her, she’ll connect with you in other ways, too, and you’ll be mighty glad you made the sacrifice.
- On your way home from work, shift into Gear “A”. Gear A stands for AVAILABLE. Turn off the news or talkers on the car radio, CD or iPod and prepare to FOCUS ON HER. When she’s with you, sit together in a quiet place or take a short walk. Ask her questions! (You can do it). “Fill me in on your day…How’d it go with the kids?...What was the highlight of your day?...How’d it go with…?” And here’s another good place to pray for the preparation of your heart, leaving the “cares of the world” and pressures of the day behind you. Ask the One who invented relationships to help you be there for her, to make her feel special, and to put her first when you get home.