Resist the urge to "fix" her
... you are going to have to become a great listener!
It’s been a long day at work. You come home from the grind and you greet your sweetheart at the door and all you want to do is unwind and vegetate with your remote control gripped firmly in hand. You begin flipping through the channels not really looking for anything in particular, but somehow your thumb and the remote control are in perfect harmony. You’re tranquil and serene. Nothing in the universe can disturb your tranquility. The edge starts to come off of your day until.... your wife starts talking about her day.
You really do care about her day so you listen intently trying to pick out the details. Your mind races as you begin to look at her day’s challenges and you start formulating what went wrong or how she could “fix” this or that. Just a few sentences in to her verbal unwinding, you enter the conversation like this... “Honey, you should have ........(fill in the blank). That will fix your problem with .......(fill in the blank). I’m so glad you told me about this. What’s for dinner?”
This conversation is usually followed by a puzzled or angry look from your sweetheart. She may even continue to talk about the same thing that you just offered a solution for. You’re asking yourself, “Why does she ask me for advice and then just disregard it? Well, if she wants my advice, next time she’ll just have to ask me for it?” You’re probably even saying below your breath, “When can I just sit down with my remote and relax, I’m missing ESPN?”
What is she really wanting? As we’ve stated many times, women and men are different in hundreds of ways. This is another example.
Women need to verbally unwind. They don’t need us men to “fix” everything for them. They are perfectly capable in most situations of figuring out a great solution for their challenges. They simply need us to listen to them. The stuff we as men need to process in quiet solitude, women need to process in dialogue. I heard it described this way... men need to go into their “man cave.” The man cave is a place of escape; a place where there are no distractions like “conversation.” Men simply need to enter their cave for a little while, process their stuff in their cave, with no intrusions, and when they are done processing they will emerge from their caves peaceful and ready for anything.
Sometimes women, just like the man above, make the mistake of trying to unload their stuff on their man when he is mentally sitting in his “man cave.” Ladies, there’s no hope of it turning out good because we are not really listening. Guys take a helpful tip here. Offer your sweetheart an explanation of this “man cave” thing and let her know when you are about to enter your cave. Be sure and tell her something like this; “I’m going to go into my “man cave” for 30 minutes. When I’m done I’ll come to you immediately and we can talk.” This obviously takes practice and cannot, I repeat cannot, be used to avoid any difficult conversations. If you use this sparingly, wisely and with compassion you’ll find that your sweetheart will be understanding. In fact, both of you will find that your ability to unwind at the end of the day is much more peaceful and rewarding. You will become closer with less tension between you.
How about the guys responsibility? Guys, what your lady is wanting is for you to simply listen to her challenges and emotions. She’s not wanting you to fix anything! She wants you to show concern for how she is feeling. The absolute, best question at these times is, “How does this make you feel?”
If you are a terrible listener, you are going to have to become a great listener. Let me tell you this has taken years for me to learn. It seems to be ingrained at my core to listen but always be thinking of a solution to fix her problem. I have to catch myself more often than I would like to admit opening my mouth with solutions, when my spouse is simply wanting me to know how she feels. If I take 2 or 3 deep breaths before I open my mouth this usually reminds me that I should be responding to her feelings, not to individual problems or possible solutions. As a man, I’ve probably scared you to death at this point because I’ve talked about “feelings” so much.
This is one path to a woman’s heart. When you can truly key in on listening to how she is feeling, and then support how she is feeling, you can reach a new level of coupleship that is experienced by few men and women. ❖