My Saturday men’s group is working through and talking about Gary Chapman’s popular book, The Five Love Languages. I got the first discussion rolling by suggesting that all of us ask ourselves this question: “Will learning how to communicate better with my wife help my marriage?” Looking around, it was obvious—the answer is yes, because we had a room full of confused husbands.
For the next hour, eight guys poured their hearts out and it wasn’t always pretty. Four are on their second marriages, three are still chugging along on their first, one will tie the knot this summer. They all want to be good husbands. “I get it so wrong so much of the time,” one man said. “A lot of the time, I’m just confused,” another chimed in. “She doesn’t confuse me on purpose, but it happens all the time.” Here are 5 ways wives confuse their husbands (plus what to do when your wife confuses you).
1. She says, “I’ll take care of dinner. You can go relax.”
No worries, I’ve got this may not be what she really means or actually wants. She may not want you to “do” anything, but she does want you around. It can hurt if you walk away when she’s tired, too. Turn off the TV, put your phone on silent, and join her in the kitchen. Sit at the kitchen counter, ask her about her day, visit, and pay attention. Then you’re ready to do what she asks if she really does need you.
2. She says, “I’m really stressed and overwhelmed.”
She may be overwhelmed with the kids’ schedules, and errands, and shopping, and trying to organize homework. You may think she’s looking for a plan. But she is not interested in a knight in shining armor who has targeted “helpful” advice about schedules, spreadsheets, or flowcharts. What she really wants is for you to hold her, to agree that afternoons are difficult, and to be a creative co-partner in taking on some of the stress.
3. She asks you to go shopping for clothes with her.
Or, “Would you like to go to the movies (to see a chick-flick) with me?” What she really means is, “I want us to spend some real time together.” This is about quality time. It’s not about your opinion on the clothes she tries on (but do be interested and affirming) and it’s not about having to share her taste movies. She may not even buy anything at the mall (but don’t count on it!).
4. She snuggles with you on the couch and puts her hand on your thigh.
It’s been a long day. The kids go to bed. She joins you on the couch and she snuggles in, resting her head on your shoulder and one hand on your thigh. “Ding, ding, ding,” you think. “This could mean only one thing.” Your hand immediately starts to unbutton something—anything! But, no. Don’t spoil this. What your wife really wants is to feel close, enveloped, secure, and loved. Tell her how much you love her, hold her, ask her about her day. This is not about you. It’s about your relationship. Without that, the “other stuff” is never going to happen.
5. She says, “I really don’t care what we do tonight.”
This is also true for, “I don’t want anything special for my birthday.” Have you been paying attention? She has consistently made her longstanding preferences clear. You know her well enough to consider her tastes and make the evening special and enjoyable for her. Maybe it would help to keep notes. If you really don’t know whether she’d enjoy a certain restaurant or event, then be honest and humble and open to learning.
Share with your wife: Let her know what you are looking for by sharing this article from iMOM, called Top 5 Things Your Husband Wants from You.
Sound off: What has been some confusion you’ve experienced and how have you solved it?
Huddle Up Question
Huddle up with your wife and say, “Please help me when I misunderstand you. I’d rather know I’m wrong than miss hearing you properly.”