“Did you hear me?” “Are you listening?” “You didn’t hear a word I said.” Men have heard these phrases numerous times. We know effective communication begins with listening. We’ve all done that training at some point in our careers. But we are not told that men and women naturally communicate differently. Both sexes tend to be unaware of these subtle differences, which is the source of many arguments and results in miscommunication in marriage.
The reality is that men and women are complements of one another, which explains why we communicate differently. As men, if we become self-aware of our natural way of communicating, we will break ground on building stronger relationships with our wives and limit miscommunication. Here is how your communication skills get you in trouble with your wife and what you can do about it.
Women prefer direct eye contact to signify listening while men prefer to tilt their heads to listen with their ear. But according to Deborah Tannen, author of You Just Don’t Understand, the head tilt sends a signal to your wife that you’re not listening. There is a simple solution to this miscommunication in marriage. If you know your wife needs eye contact to feel heard, then make eye contact with her when she’s talking. Doing so might even make you a better listener.
TalkingWomen talk to seek intimacy while men talk to find solutions.
Women talk to seek intimacy while men talk to find solutions. For many women, talking does not require finding solutions. The solution is the actual conversation. Sharing ideas and validating feelings are healing experiences for women. Men utilize “talk” differently, though—to establish authority. Conversation is like a ping pong game we want to win. As men, we can fix this miscommunication in marriage by abandoning the instinct to solve a problem and open ourselves up to empathy.
Men make decisions without consulting their wives to maintain independence while women like to consult to maintain intimacy in the relationship. If you want to become a better communicator with your spouse, consult her on a decision before you make it. Also, let her know in what areas you prefer independence. It is a two-way street, and you have to understand that she probably does not know your natural preferences for communication, either. But here is the kicker: If you communicate your communication preferences, you can begin to understand each other.
Earn some point: Share this iMOM article with your wife and ask her opinion: 5 Things You Need to Accept about Your Husband.
Sound off: What can you do to improve the way you communicate with your wife?
Huddle Up Question
Huddle up with your wife and ask, “How do you think our styles of communication are different?”