Women, can you think of the last time your man brought up something that bugged him about you?
Maybe it was that you talked to your friends too much, your mother too much, or him too much.
But unless really, really pushed – like during an argument – men aren’t usually relationship-complainers; at least mine isn’t.
It’s not that women do more talking than men – that truism got debunked (by male researchers, interestingly enough) – it’s how and what they talk aboutthat seems to make a difference. Follow a husband and wife through any department store: listen to what each points out and the descriptive words each uses. Are both genders equally engaged and expressive? I hang with my husband at Home Depot but the reverse isn’t true at Ross Dress for Less.
Men are finicky about stupid things, like artichokes or wearing turtlenecks. Lots of things aggravate women, too, starting with men’s inability to recall what they do that women don’t want them to do anymore. Hence the phrase “How many times do I have to tell you?”
Now, I couldn’t swear to it, but I’d bet my last carton of yogurt that men forget things on purpose, even at the risk of appearing stupid, which is actually pretty smart.
How else to explain men who feign ignorance about where the kitchen towels go when enlisted in putting away the wash?
Or men who fix diesel engines but can’t remember to put down the seat?
While the splash of a fanny hitting the water at 3 a.m. isn’t enough to strike fear in a man, three words are: Can we talk?
That same carton of yogurt rides on my belief that when a woman says those words, it’s like a guy’s thrown into the deep end with shackles binding his wrists and ankles. It’s not that women bowl guys over with the quantity of words – the sexes actually say about the same number of words in a day. It’s the kinds of words used, the language that’s spoken.
Women generally have it over men in “feeling-speak”. So when a woman wants to talk, bet your yogurt it’s in the language of feelings. And even if both partners are talking about the same thing their understanding and expression of it are very different.
Just like being in a strange land where we don’t sprechen the language, we show our frustration with each other in the same ineffective ways:
- Talk louder and louder;
- Throw up our hands in disgust;
- Think how dense the other person is;
- Walk away, muttering.
Just as tourists in a different land need more than passports and sensible shoes, couples often leave behind what’s most basic to their enjoyment and success. Translator app, anyone?
Kathe Skinner is a Marriage & Family Therapist and Relationship Coach specializing in couples work, especially with those relationships impacted by invisible disability. She has a firm belief that the quality of a couple’s communication skills have a significant impact on their own, and their family’s, health. Kathe and David have been married for almost 30 years and live in Colorado where they teach Couple Communication Workshops and continue to unravel Petey’s and Lucy’s cat-speak. Discover more about Kathe Skinner and the Couples Communication Workshops at http://www.BeingHeardNow.com and be sure to check out more of Kathe’s blogs at ilikebeingsickanddisabled.com.
©2014, Being Heard, LLC
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