I've been talking with a group of men asking them pertinent questions about marriage. The answers have been fascinating! Wonderfully fascinating.
I must admit, I've been challenged in my own marriage. I want to be the best wife I can be...don't you? I think we all do!
Today's topic is communication. My source was both unexpected and yet highly insightful! Why? The young man who answered my question, "What do you need most from your wife?" is single!
But just read his response! "I think what is most important is always discussing annoyances up front, rather than 'ignoring them because they're minor' until 5 or 10 little minor things create an explosion of epic proportions about something that should have been rectified months before like, 'leaving your shoes by the front door.' [Little things] are what cause big fights [and sometimes] end a relationship."
I must agree. Unfortunately, I'm not always good at this. Remember that cliche, "The straw that broke the camel's back?" Well, sometimes our relationships are like that, aren't they? We bottle things up and we push them aside - instead of communicating clearly while we're calm and (in my case), sane! No! I wait until I have one hundred little things to assault my dear husband with, and then I lose my ever-loving mind over them. And just like this young man said, I create an argument of epic proportion. Wanna know what the standard answer usually is? "I didn't know it even bothered you!"
Do you want to know why? Men and women speak different languages! That's right! For instance: If a woman says "Man, the kitchen sure is stinky." What does that mean to her? It means, "the kitchen trash stinks, please take it out." To a husband, it means, "Man, the kitchen sure is stinky.."
Another man put it to me this way, "Vague hints are aggravating! It' less stressful to just ask for what you want!"
Are you a hint dropper? Are you a clear communicator? One example I can share is about laundry. The wife washes the laundry, dries the laundry, folds the laundry and puts the laundry basket beside the stairs. To the wife this signifies that the laundry is complete and needs to be taken upstairs. After many days, the laundry basket hasn't budged. The husband didn't realize it needed to be relocated. The wife spends days stewing over the fact that he hasn't taken up the basket. Why? She never communicated that fact.
Ladies, your husband may know you very well. You may have many, many years under your marriage belt. But your husband cannot read your mind. In my case, that's a blessing...for him :) No one wants to know what's going on inside this head :)
1) Be honest in your communications. If you need help with the dishes, ask. It's very simple, ladies, "Honey, I need to help Sue with her homework. Do you mind loading the dishwasher for me? It would be a great help." What about time together? Ask for it. "Honey, remember the way we used to sit and watch ________ when we were dating? I miss that time we spent together? Can we work on carving out some "us" time?"
2) Don't expect your husband to read your mind! If you need to communicate something, do it with clarity. Be respectful! Your husband is not an idiot! He's your husband, be respectful.
3) Love your husband enough to give the benefit of the doubt! Don't assume he's ignoring you. Don't assume he's trying to annoy you. Gentle reminders are usually all it takes.
If all else fails, cover it with grace.
Only By His Grace,