Guys like to fix things. It might not be the kitchen sink or the car, but when it comes to relationships, and she is upset, we try to find quick solutions. She’s most likely not looking for advice, though, she just wants someone to truly listen to her.
Maybe it’s our practicality as men, but in a moment of crisis, I’m not as apt to sit there and ruminate. In fact, I’m ready to roll up my sleeves, get down and dirty, and fix the issue in record time. What I’ve noticed, however, is there is an inverse correlation to my thought process. The quicker I want to solve the issue usually results in more time it takes to cheer her back up again because she doesn’t think I’m listening to her.
Why is it so hard to communicate with women? It all comes down to the difference between my views of cleanliness and my wife’s. It’s why I find our place completely suitable to invite all of our friends over when she believes it’s a complete mess. Women seem to pay more attention to details. While we take communication at face value, she can identify the nonverbal cues.
Translation: she might be saying one thing, but she really is hoping for another. I know, confusing. Instead of focusing on the communication dynamics between men and women, just know these 3 things.
3 Reasons Why She Doesn’t Think You Are Listening To Her
#1: She Just Wants You To Respect Her Feelings
For instance, my wife was Kristen was upset the other day. I’m in the middle of my workday, suited up, tie strangling me, when I talk to her on the phone. She’s telling me how stressed out she is, and I immediately, without thinking, urge her to go on a walk, take her eyes off the computer screen and have a moment in prayer and meditation. Somehow I believed my advice was mind-blowing, but her response wasn’t so enthusiastic. Why? She doesn’t want advice. What she’s really looking for is some acknowledgement and attention from me.
#2: She Just Wants to Know You’ll Be There
There is research that shows men find it “unbearable” when their “pulse-rates escalate during conflict.” So what do we do? We try and provide a simple solution hoping the situation will quickly resolve or we leave the room. Leaving might be one of the most harmful practices us guys frequently employ. One of the biggest fears she might feel (as well as all of us for that matter) is the fear of abandonment. When someone leaves the room in the middle of an argument, it conveys she’s not worth sticking around for and that you will abandon her when situations are tough.
#3 It’s Not What You Hear, It’s How You Hear.
She just wants to be heard. Something I’ve noticed many times in our arguments is, “You just aren’t listening to me.” This confuses me. I am listening. I could literally dictate the conversation on paper, and I can step back and look at it with a rational mind and say I’ve been listening. However, in our rational minds, us guys often overlook the far more important nonverbal signs that are occurring in a conversation. Girls seem to be more acutely aware of these factors. Trust me. I’ve left many events with my wife where I’ve been exposed to a whole other level of conversation. I heard one thing, but Kristen interpreted it for me. It’s like women have this whole other code of conversation they know and understand. In reality, they are just observing nonverbal communication. So if you say something to her while you are texting on your phone, while it might seem rational to you, she will interpret it as you don’t care enough to put your phone away. Take a moment, turn your phone over, turn off the TV, and look at her.
Jesus must have really known how to listen to women because he said, “So pay attention to how you hear. To those who listen to my teaching, more understanding will be given. But for those who are not listening, even what they think they understand will be taken away from them.” Pretty sure this was directed to us guys.
To sum it up, don’t try to fix the crisis. Respect her feelings, be there for her, and take a moment to give her your uninterrupted ear. I’m still learning these things, but there’s no doubt, they make a huge difference when I take a step back and use them.
If you want to improve your relationship, become a better communicator. But it’s not just what you say. Listen: sometimes your ears can say “I love you” better than your mouth.