“I don’t get it. Why does he respond that way? Can’t he see what’s right in front of his nose? Honestly!” Sarah fumed.
Another conversation with Harry ended badly. He stomped away clearly announcing to the entire world his frustration with her.
Why couldn’t he get it? Why is he so stubborn? She wasn’t trying to manipulate him, just show him a way to think differently about this situation they were in. Instead, now he’s shut down and shut her out. Now he’s angry once again.
“I don’t get it.”
And that’s usually the problem. We don’t understand each other.
And because we don’t understand one another, we jump to conclusions that often lead us down a path of further frustration.
What if, instead of jumping to conclusions, we took a giant step back and put ourselves in our spouse’s shoes…even for a moment.
You and I (women) are quick to judge a few things about our men:
- They won’t talk about issues. Really? Let’s back up a couple of steps and take a look at this. Women tend to have a lot more words that need to be spoken every day than men. It’s the way we are wired. But, it doesn’t mean that men don’t want to talk. They use fewer words, that’s all. Quit “out-wording” him.
- They’re always trying to fix things even when they aren’t fixable. Men are hard-wired to be problem solvers and protectors. Hard-wired. It’s written into their DNA. Consequently, they want to fix everything even when we don’t want them to. Therefore, when they are in the untenable position of not being able to fix the problem, their frustration, and even anger flares. Put a man’s family at risk? He’s going to rush to protect them. Does his child require hospitalization for a serious health issue? He’s going to do whatever it takes to find the solution. And we love our men for this, right? We only get frustrated by it when our man is unable to do either of these things and he lashes out because of it. That’s when we “don’t understand” and “forget” this is how he is hard-wired.
- They don’t think logically as we do. Men are not women. We get frustrated when our men don’t respond as we do. Why should they? They are men. On the flip side, we don’t respond as men do either and that frustrates them. We aren’t always logical like they are. But this is a cause for celebration. We want our men to be men, to respond in the way they were created to respond (hard-wired DNA). At least I do. I’m grateful my husband is all man and doesn’t think the way I do. I love it that he has a different perspective on almost every situation we encounter because I need this perspective! I need it to balance out my hormones in most situations. Doesn’t mean I don’t get frustrated with him and he with me. But we celebrate the differences because we’ve learned that together we are stronger.
As women, we tend to think more words will help the situation. Not always true. Sometimes we need to close our mouths to create space for our man to seek us out instead of pushing them away by all our words.
Here’s what I’m trying to do more often:
- Pray for him. Especially when he’s in a situation that challenges him at the core of his DNA. He can’t fix the problem or protect his family. He’s doing all he can, yet the solution is still out of his reach. I pray for him to grow through the situation, to lean more into God, and for me to keep my mouth shut. I’m learning that situations like these bring huge personal growth for my man if I will stay out of the way.
- Ask questions instead of giving unsolicited advice. In other words, listen and be quiet. This is a hard one for me. But when I ask open-ended questions and then listen to his answers, I learn a lot. Often I’m surprised that what I assumed is the issue isn’t. Instead, if I really listen, I’ll hear the heart of his struggle which leads me back to #1. When he wants my advice he’ll ask for it and usually receive it well.
- Become a better student of my man. As a mom, I work hard to study and know my children. For some reason, I forget to do this with my husband. I don’t pay attention as well. This creates a dangerous environment where we take each other for granted and become roommates instead of marriage partners, where we don’t allow space for growth and change, and where we let communication get lax and perfunctory. He has grown through the years as have I. Continual study of each other keeps our marriage fresh.
- Remember, he’s your husband, not your child. You’d think this is obvious. Not really. At least not in how you and I tend to treat our husbands. Stop and really listen to the tone and words you use when talking with your man. Are you talking to him like you would to your child? Would you speak to your best friend the way you speak to your husband? Would you like it if he spoke to you this way? Change your tone, your manner of speaking, and treat him respectfully as an adult and your man.
We are different. I’m very thankful my husband is all man. And he’s very grateful I am all woman. Let’s celebrate these differences even when we get frustrated.