Males and females communicate differently. Even the way they communicate when they use the same words are different. For instance, there’s a difference between male time and female time. When I ask my wife how long until she’s ready to go someplace, she’ll often say, “Oh, about five minutes.” Five minutes to me means five consecutive 60 second increments on a clock. But in female time that really means, “It’s gonna be awhile buddy. I’m just throwing a number out to pacify you.” I always ask my wife or daughter whether the time frame they are speaking of is male or female time. I’ve come to understand that female time does not always match the numbers on a clock.
Because of these seemingly innate differences, how can males and females learn to communicate with one another? Understanding those differences is the first step to effective communication. This first of a two-part post will look at the way females communicate.
Women have a fundamental need to be listened to. They equate listening to their value and worth. When a man listens to his wife or girlfriend he communicates that she is worth his time and attention. It’s why so many wives (and daughters) tell me they feel extremely loved when their husband (or father) gives them his undivided attention.
Conversely, a woman’s tongue has the power of life or death. She can infuse life into a man or stab him to his knees merely by the words she chooses to speak into him. More importantly may be how she says them to him. Spiteful and contemptuous women cut men into pieces with rapier-like precision using words they wield like a scalpel.
In addition, her body language oftentimes conveys messages even more powerfully than her words. A raised eyebrow, a well-timed sniff, an eye-roll, arms akimbo on her hips, toe tapping, or arms tightly crossed over her chest all send precise messages without the benefit of any words. Think every man in America doesn’t know exactly what his wife is feeling just by listening to her in the kitchen? If she’s humming, all is well. If she’s slamming dishes around, well…a storm is brewing.
Men all know (or should know) by now that a woman doesn’t necessarily want you to fix her problems when she talks. She shares them with you as a way to process them and to draw closer to you emotionally. She doesn’t need your advice she really just wants you to care. The problem is that the male brain is wired to solve problems. And because men judge their performance as a husband by the contentedness of their wives, they are very eager to solve any problems she might have. His greatest desire is to show his love by helping make her life easier.
But, if a woman doesn’t tell her husband what her needs are, he won’t know. Many women think, “If my husband really loved me he would just know what I need.” But that’s not how a man’s brain is wired. His thinking is linear and he doesn’t fill in gaps very well. Therefore he tends to not be able to read minds or even read between the lines of a conversation. It doesn’t mean he doesn’t love you or care about her, it just means he can’t think like a female. Trust me, he wants to fulfill your needs—it empowers him as a man. He just often doesn’t know how or even know what your needs are.
So want your man to know what you need? Be specific–tell him bluntly and succinctly. Men don’t read minds and we don’t read between the lines very well either. We need crystal clear clarity on what a woman wants. We do poorly at interpreting what a woman meant to say.
And men if you don’t express yourself (at all) how can you expect her to know what you mean, what you need, or how to satisfy your needs? As men we tend to not feel comfortable expressing ourselves, yet then get resentful when our wives do not meet our needs. While she does have superior communicative skills, it doesn’t mean she can intuit unspoken thoughts. She cannot read our minds–even though it seems that way sometimes.
Next week we’ll discuss how males communicate.
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