By Katie & Gay Hendricks
Do you end each conversation with your man feeling fully understood and heard?
Do you find that when you ask him to do something, he does it, and there are no miscommunications or misunderstandings?
Does he listen eagerly to what you have to say?
If you answered the above questions with a resounding “YES!,” then you don’t need to read this article.
But if you didn’t, then you probably need to learn something critical about how men and women communicate, and some simple adjustments you can make to help you be “heard” better than ever before.
“Attack.” “Let’s go over there.” “It’s getting dark. Let’s go home.” “I’ll meet you at the other side.”
These are examples of the kinds of communication men had to use for centuries to fulfill their role in the tribe as the hunters.
Just short, to the point, necessary information.
If they said much more, the animal they were hunting might hear them and run off.
We call this “digital communication,” and it still highly influences the way men communicate and take in information.
That doesn’t mean that they can’t share their feelings, or have long conversations, or appreciate and observe nuance and beauty.
It just means that sometimes the best way to open a conversation and reach them in a way so they can truly hear you is by simplifying what you say.
What does simplifying mean?
For women, more information is usually better. As the heart and voice of the hearth and builder of communities, women protected their family’s well being through strong relationships, needed the flow of conversation to bond with others and learn the information that affected their family’s survival, status, and happiness.
Centuries later, women still have more facility with expressing and identifying emotions, building strong, fast bonds, and creating intimacy through conversation.
And because you have more insight into the emotional undercurrent beneath words, and an ability to connect through conversation, you want to learn how to translate those natural strengths to reach a man where he is.
So, if you are upset that he didn’t do the dishes when he was supposed to, resist your need to list everything that impacted your feelings and disappointment when you share these feelings with him.
You may want to say something like this: “Why didn’t you do the dishes? You know I had a long work day and was totally exhausted when I got home. I still need to help our kids with homework and bath time, and have a presentation to prepare tomorrow. You said you would handle it, and you didn’t. I ended up doing it because you know that if we leave the dishes in the sink, it will be much harder to clean later…”
By changing how you say what needs to be said, he is able to hear all of the important information.
But, you would have far more success if you said this: “I’m upset you didn’t do the dishes. You said you would.”
By changing how you say what needs to be said, he is able to hear all of the important information. He doesn’t start tuning out, and he doesn’t start getting defensive about secondary items (homework, bath time, long day at work).
That doesn’t mean that you can’t share your feelings of overwhelm and stress with the other areas of your life. You just need to pace it differently.
The good news is, once we identify the hidden influences running below the surface, we are empowered to make changes to reverse all that damage, bring us closer together, and thrive as a couple.
Understanding how your partner absorbs information can help you take a big step forward in being truly listened to and understood.
But that’s not all it takes. As you can imagine, there is much, much more to good communication than just how simple and complex our sentences are.
When you subscribe to receive our free relationship advice newsletter, you’ll learn even more simple but powerful techniques that will completely transform the quality of your relationship:
Once you have the insight and the tools to open your hearts and minds to each other, the flow of love and appreciation between you will expand to levels you never imagined possible.
We look forward to being your guides on your journey to “hearing” each other like never before.