Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Just ask...

Ever wonder what it is that actually makes men tick?  They are fascinating creatures, aren't they?  Sometimes they can be as transparent as glass, and other times leave us scratching our heads with confusion.  But, I guess we're not that different are we?

As we continue talking about love and marriage this week, I'm fascinated at the depth of responses I've received from the men I've spoken with about this topic.

Women tend to think that men aren't talkers, they aren't sharers, they aren't into sharing their feelings.  But maybe we're going about it all wrong...maybe we need to change our tactic.

Do you want your husband to open up to you and share his feelings?  Yesterday's post was about respect.  I talked about the tone of voice and the words we choose when speaking to our husbands.  My question is a simple one.  Are you creating barriers that keep him from opening up to you?

Are your words derogatory and therefore causing him to shut down?

Are you critical?  Does he feel like everything he says will be met with criticism and sarcasm?

Have you made yourself a safe place where he is free to share himself with you?

Let me share something fascinating I've found.  Men will share when they feel safe!  So ask the right questions - in the right way - using the right medium.

When I started this blog, I thought about ways I could get feedback from men.  So I asked them questions - "What do you want in your Christmas stocking?"  Their answers?  "Chocolate."  "Socks."  "Tools."  But when I asked them via email??? Wow... I got more thoughtful answers and I got reasons WHY they wanted these items.

When I asked a couple men about this topic, I would get sarcastic answers, "I need her to cook me a good supper!"  "I need ..............."  So again, I emailed my question.  The answers were amazing, in depth, insightful and genuine.

My conclusion was simple.  If we want information, we first have to ask, but we have to ask in a way that will produce results!

Take away: Let's look at a couple of practical ways we can practice this new found form of communication.  

1)  Don't be offensive: Instead of "Why didn't you .....................?"  Ask him, "Did you forget to ......................," or "I noticed you didn't get to ....................... is everything okay?"  Take away the offensive and they won't get defensive.

2)  When in doubt extend grace.  Instead of "I can't believe you did that!"  Extend grace.  "I'm trying to understand what happened.  Can you explain to me why you make that decision?"

3.)  Find the medium that makes him feel safe.  I know this one is counter intuitive and many therapists will disagree with me.  But if you're emailing works, then use what works. If you've asked, "Why?" many times without response, then try email.  "Dear [husband], I'm really trying to understand ........................... I want to work through this with you but I need some understanding.  What happened?  What was your reason for ........................  I know you didn't mean to hurt me when you did ........................ can we figure it out together?"  Many times, typing out a response gives them time to think through what they want/need to say, and somehow, being behind a screen gives them a feeling of security.  Once you have the information you need, then try opening up the verbal doors of communication. 

Only By His Grace,


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