I want to thank Jerry Stumpf, from Jerrystumpf.com, for taking the time to share his thoughts on Living the Sweet Wife! He and his wife are marriage counselors and Jerry blogs to encourage couples to communicate effectively and have the marriage of their dreams! Be sure to leave a comment with your thoughts and check out Jerry on Facebook and Twitter!
Women often lament the poor listening skills by their husband. They often tell us, “If he would just listen to me!”
The problem is not that he is not listening, his actions are not how you need him to listen! Let me explain this a bit more, and then show you 3 straightforward approaches to point him in the right direction within your conversations.
Most conversational matters stem from our inability to see our spouse as being opposite from our own skill sets. As a woman, you have extremely sensitive abilities to tune into a conversation and listen, extremely focused on the presenters remarks. In the briefest of seconds, you hear direction, emotional concerns by that lady and you perfectly perceive your part in the discussion.
Men, well, we are equipped with abilities which seem at odds with yours. These are not right or wrong abilities, they contrast your own capability. Your husband is “wired,” that is his internal makeup, as your protector, provider, and supplier for the family. When you invite him to a casual or important conversation with you, he is immediately ready to assist you in conquering the “dragons” that he sees which threaten your well-being. That’s a good trait, but one different from your own competency.
We easily understand each other’s physical differences when we see each other naked. However, when God says, “male and female He created them” (Genesis 1:27), this goes much deeper than our skin formation, it is woven into our very DNA. Let me delve VERY LIGHTLY into this contrast and give 3 painless approaches in protecting your husband which will bring value to his core. These tips will help you effectively tune into his conversations and encourage his thoughtful participation when you need him to be attentive in yours.
I am amazed how women can discuss and solve complex subjects without writing down one note. Women can tune into one another with laser precision, talk through various subjects, while staying in harmony with each other. When there is confusion, it seems a simple task to clarify those confusions, redirect ideas, and then draw succinct conclusions which satisfy each participant in the discussion.
This process goes on no matter the environment- kids, school, sporting events, shopping, church, etc. and with any number of women from dissimilar social or interest backgrounds. There is a common link that connects you via verbal interchanges.
For you, yes. but not so for men.
A man listens to these conversations very bewildered, as we are not equipped to accomplish the same verbal exchange.
We, men, need our notepad, our specific direction as the discussion begins, our steps to accomplishment, and of course, a conclusion all tidied up so we understand our role in the conversation. Within our marriage, we want to set everything right in your world as the protector, provider, and supplier of what the family needs.
So I am sure you are way ahead of me. A huge chasm exists between a typical married couple where men and women hunger to enjoy meaningful dialogue.
As a loving, dedicated wife, how can you assist your husband to be a bit more conversational and not so MALE in verbal exchanges where he understands precisely his role in each conversation you two have from now on?
Here are 3 (easy) to implement habits to direct him without manipulation or pushing your agenda upon his tender psyche.
1 | Identify your husband’s activity in every conversation
At the present, unless you have clearly delineated his part in your conversations, he listens and responds as a man, duh! So give him unmistakable guidelines where he will tune into your words, instead of crafting solutions. We men must learn to hear with our heart and not our head as we strive to love you as you crave.
This is a whole new discipline for your hubby, with a sharp and sometimes painful learning curve. Remember you are asking him to readjust his inner “wiring” to be better equipped to understand your needs.
This is very Biblical. Check out I Peter 3:7 as the Apostle tells husbands to “live with their wives in an understand way (manner)” We are to do our best to learn our wife’s desires, needs, and traits.
This is a change for him so be as clear as possible what you need, to feel he is actively engaged in your discussions.
Grant your husband room to adjust to this new environment. Authentic love seeks the other person’s best interest, so assist him to adjust to this change. Once he adapts to his new activity, he will be at peace since you are given what you need to feel at home in your conversations. His learning curve should be presented as his caring for you.
2 | Be willing to adjust a bit as well and attempt to turn the situation around; listen to his generated discussions as he needs you to.
Keep in mind to focus on his male needs when he brings something up and when he seeks your input. Be ready to generate specific ideas or tell him you will get back to him with some ideas later when you have some suggestions. Then, as you acquire ideas, share them with your man.
Be willing to say to him, “Well you might try…”, “Have you thought of …” or some pertinent idea that fits the issue he raised. He asked you insights because he values your ideas- so do not simply listen, nod an affirmation and walk away when you see a pause in the conversation. This is very disrespectful to your husband’s heart. He is looking for points to solve an issue so give him validation that you heard him and a solution or two is all he needs.
3 | Make it clear that sometimes you need his feedback and solutions for solving a problem, or to examine a circumstance that troubles or perplexes you.
He is no good at mind-reading, if you tell him repeatedly and clearly, his part is to listen (see #1 above) he might be a bit confused when you initiate a conversation and don’t ask for his input when that is precisely what you need. Maybe say something such as, “Honey, how would you …” or “Honey, I am wrestling with a problem and I could really use your advice. Let me share the problem and then would you give me your suggestions?”
As marriage coaches, Elaine and I have used this 3-step approach to help couples understand their roles in conversations. There are other ideas we share, however, this is a great starting point for your particular relationship.
When this three step process is adapted to your marriage, you two love birds can engage each other any time you need to share your feelings about any topic and both parties know their part in the conversation.
Here are 3 short assignments to add to your communication repertoire:
1| Ask your husband what are 4 ways you can show him how much you appreciate or value him as your husband.
2| Ask him to name 2 creative date night destinations that he would like for you to plan.
3| How can I listen to you like you want me to listen?
Imagine how it will be when you turn back the clock to your private, intimate dates before you were married. I’ll bet he could not get enough of your time alone to just sit and talk, right? Well he needs to get back to that experience again but this time with your help!
I appreciate Chelsea inviting me to share these 3 suggestions and some insights into your husband’s makeup to develop the very best marriage possible!
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- 3 tips for effective communication with your husband - February 16, 2017