Thursday, June 28, 2012

Give Her a Little Extra Grace

There are two basic reasons that women are “more emotional” then men. They function in the right brain, which is the emotional/creative side of the brain and they are largely affected by the cycle of their hormones throughout the month. These two things, working together, make a woman’s emotions of more consequence to her, affecting all areas of her life and being.

I put “more emotional” in quotation marks up there because that’s a bit of a misconception. Men have and experience as many emotions as women do. But, there are two major differences in a man’s emotions and a woman’s. The first is that men don’t connect with their emotions as well as women do and the second is that men aren’t as expressive about their emotions. They have a greater tendency to ignore those emotions and pretend they aren’t there (this is also biological in the brain).

Okay, so we all know and accept that women are more expressive in their emotions and that those emotions are going to have a bigger role in what they say and do. So, we just have to put up with it, right? Well, right and wrong. Actually, we’re a whole lot better off if we can try and understand what is causing her emotions, and learn to work with them.

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a posting where I said that the number one cause of depression in women is poor self image (Building Her Up). At that time, I suggested that you compliment her, to help overcome the attack that society puts on her self-esteem. That’s one way of working with her emotions, but there’s more.

It’s commonly understood that women have a few emotionally rough days right before their menstrual period. For most of us, that’s a good time to hang out at the bowling alley or go on a fishing trip. We look for anything we can do to avoid being in the line of fire. For others, that’s when the couple has the most fights. Either answer isn’t the best; actually either answer is destructive to the marriage relationship.

The first thing we should all do is track our wife’s menstrual cycle on a calendar. Every month, the day that her cycle starts, put a “P” on the calendar, that’s it. After a few months, you can check the interval. Since most women have a very regular cycle, you’ll probably find that she’s menstruating every 28 to 30 days.

That’s important information. Starting three days before her next menstrual period, you can expect that she’s going to go crazy. She’ll be depressed, moody, irritable and otherwise not much fun to be around.
Let me change the perspective on that a bit. If she’s not much fun to be around, that means that it’s not much fun to be her, either. She needs a little bit of extra grace during those days. When she’s moody and it seems like she’s trying to get into a fight, realize that it isn’t her, it isn’t you, it isn’t the kids, it’s her hormones. Cut her a little slack; and whatever you do, don’t take anything she says during those days seriously.

There’s more that you can do for her as well. If you know those days are coming, plan things so as to lighten her load during that critical time. Don’t plan dinner parties and other special activities. Don’t start a major project together. Don’t take a trip.

In fact, you should do the opposite. If there’s ever a time when doing acts of service for your wife, this is it. Do some of the housework, pick up dinner, run the kids to their events; whatever you can do to take some of the stress off her. That will make this time easier for her and easier for the whole family as well.

She may not thank you or show her appreciation at that time; but you can be sure that she’ll appreciate it. More than anything though, she’ll have an easier time getting through those difficult days. She’ll know it’s because of you and she’ll be grateful.

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