Tuesday, July 3, 2012
One of the major complaints that women make about their husbands is that there isn’t enough communication in the marriage. Of course, this is always the man’s fault, regardless of any other consideration. But, what do they really mean by that?
In actuality, that complaint is multi-faceted. One part of it is that us guys don’t talk much about our feelings, about what’s going on in our hearts. That’s a big deal for women, and how they validate their relationships. When we don’t talk about those things, it seems to them like we are blocking them out of our lives.
In defense of men, I have to say that most of us don’t really think about those things all that much, so its’ no wonder we don’t share those feelings with our wives. While we do have feelings, we just don’t think about them all that much. So, I guess from a woman’s point of view, we’re blocking ourselves out of this part of our lives as well (not that I necessarily agree with them).
The second part of this complaint is the difference between pre-marital and post-marital communications. Before the wedding, everything is dreams; how wonderful our married life is going to be. After the wedding, conversation switches to reality; all the problems we face in life. Obviously, that talk about dreams is much more fun than dealing with reality. But, it has another aspect as well, that of showing what’s in the person’s heart. Women need that open window.
Nevertheless, it’s the third aspect of this that I want to talk about right now. That is that we all reach a point where we stop listening to their complaints. You know how it is, you walk in the door, after a rough day at work, and your wife gives you a litany of everything that went wrong during the day. That’s the last thing you want to hear, more problems; so, you tune her out.
Hey, I’ve been there, done that and burned the T-shirt (it wasn’t worth keeping). So, I fully understand how hard it is to sit there and listen to a list of problems, after spending the whole day dealing with problems. It always seemed to me (and I’m sure it seems the same to you) like she was dumping a whole new load of problems on my back, that I had to spend the whole evening dealing with; and all I wanted to do was relax!
Let me tell you a secret. For 99% of the things that she complains about in that laundry list of problems, she doesn’t expect you to do anything. That’s right. Even though it seems like she’s dumping all her problems on you, so that you’ll do something about them, she really isn’t. She doesn’t need you to do anything.
You see, as men, we’re fixers. When there’s something broken, we need to fix it. It doesn’t matter if we know how to fix it or not, there’s something in us that says “Fix it now!” So, when she complains about her job, we tell her to quit and find another job. When she complains about the neighbor’s dog pooping in her flower bed, we mentally look for our shotgun, so that we can shoot the dog. When she says that Johnny’s teacher sent a note home with him, we think about beating Johnny (or the teacher). For every complaint, we automatically come up with a solution, whether or not it’s practical.
Now, there are a few exceptions. If little Johnny is being rebellious and not obeying mommy, you need to back her up and deal with Johnny. If the washing machine has broken down, you’d better come up with a repair or a repair man, one or the other. But, except for those “important” things, you can blow off the rest of it. She isn’t expecting you to do a thing.
You see, that time of relating all her woes to you is therapeutic for her. It gives her the chance to get it off her chest and out of her heart. She needs that. If she doesn’t get it, she ends up holding all that junk in her heart, where it eats away at her like a cancer. You don’t want that to happen.
When she doesn’t get the opportunity to unload her heart, and stores all those things up, you’ve got to realize that they’re going to come out sometime. When you least expect it, you’ll walk through the door and say, “Hi Honey, I’m home” and she’ll explode. Instead of being greeted by your sweet loving wife, you’ll be met by an angry monster that looks like she’s going to serve you for dinner, instead of serve you dinner.
Of course, if you don’t want to invest the time to listen to her tale of woe, there is an option. You can pay a shrink $100.00 per hour (or more) to do it for you. That saves you having to hear about all those problems. Of course, paying for that privilege may cause a few more problems, but hey, it’s worth it, right? Uh, I’m not so sure about that.
Let your wife talk. Be that attentive ear that she needs. Let her get it off her chest; just don’t hold it in yours. Instead of accepting everything she says as something that you need to deal with, let it be like rainwater on a duck’s back, rolling right off of you. That way, neither of you are carrying the problem.