She is disappointed because she sees him neglecting her heartfelt concerns, even dismissing them in a condescending way. To her, he is too stoic, matter of fact. Furthermore, she cannot believe that he would bark out solutions when she simply needs from him a listening ear and empathetic demeanor. To her, two people who care for each other will “tend, mend, and befriend,” and that revolves around what one feels.
In her opinion, that is the key to connecting. Two people give the report on what they are feeling to build rapport. This is what marriage is all about—husband and wife talk to discover what they are feeling, and explore those feelings, and stay with the discussion about those feelings until there is a sense of closure and closeness. For a woman, to shut down on such conversations, to declare, “Just drop it and move on; it’s no big deal” is like finger nails down a chalkboard.
On the other hand, he is disappointed because he sees her as self-absorbed in her feelings, dwelling way too much on them. To him, she is controlled by her moodiness. But worse, he cannot believe she often blames him for her upsets, hurts, and anger.
Constantly, he is asking himself questions, such as: Why does every feeling have to become an issue, and why does it end up being that he is the issue? Why can’t there be one day or one month when everything is okay? Why does every feeling have to be talked about? Why can’t two mature people move forward positively, enjoying each other instead of always revisiting some minor infraction?
Men don’t do this with each other, he reasons to himself, and we have great friendships. We see the goodwill and don’t take up offense. We don’t call Harry and say, “We need to get together to talk about how you hurt my feelings.” Doesn’t the Bible say, “Love does not take into account a wrong suffered”? Who is really the more loving person in the marriage? Why is my wife always viewed as more loving when she seems to be keeping a list of all the negatives and not the positives?
Oftentimes within an argument, both spouses have goodwill but are not deciphering each other’s code. Out of love for him and their relationship, she wants to dwell on the issue and not leave it alone until all is solved in her mind. However, what she sees as love, he interprets as disrespect.
On the other side, he believes the most loving and honorable action is to drop the subject and distance himself in order to prevent things from escalating. However, she views this as a failure to be loving toward her.
How about you? How do you most often try and work through an issue with your spouse?
When he or she deals with it differently, how do you handle your disappointment?
- What she views as “barking out solutions” may actually be his genuine attempt to resolve the issue as lovingly as he knows how. What might he be thinking when he is attempting to solve the issue so quickly and definitively? How can his wife both respond respectfully to his attempt and still communicate further her needs to continue the discussion?
- In many wives’ minds, the key to connecting with their husbands is through detailed and lengthy communication. However, he does not always feel that a couple must “give the report to build rapport.” How does your husband like to “build rapport” with you? Are you willing to sacrifice “giving the report” occasionally and connecting with your husband in his way?
- Why must men recognize that building a relationship with their wife will look very different than the way they’ve always done so with their guy friends, even their closest and best friends? Men, don’t you want a more special relationship with your wife than you have with your fantasy football friends? Is having this relationship worth to you learning how she desires to connect with you?
- Why might she see his loving attempt to end the argument as quickly and efficiently as possible as actually extremely unloving and dismissive of her feelings? How can he better interpret when an issue is resolved and when his wife still genuinely needs to discuss it further with him? How can she better interpret when it would actually be better to end the discussion as he is trying, at least momentarily?
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