Dissect any argument between a man and a woman and this is probably what you’ll find: the conflict has little to do with what each is saying, but much to do with what each is meaning. More specifically, the argument is likely fueled by a misunderstanding of each other’s message. They may be using the same words, but they’re speaking different languages.
This communication gap between men and women has been researched and documented in every culture. We know it exists, and yet nearly every couple that comes in for marriage counseling acts as though it didn’t. Instead of recognizing gender differences, the husband assumes his wife means what he would mean if he spoke her words. And she does the same in return. No wonder they end up frustrated and angry.
So, how can you improve your communication with your spouse? First of all, recognize that real differences exist and stop expecting your spouse to be like you. Next, as soon as you feel another conflict coming on, change your agenda. Switch from your normal goal of winning the argument (“If he/ she would just listen to me…”) to the new goal of understanding your spouse. Stop talking, take a deep breath, and speak softly while you say this: I want to understand what you mean and why this is important to you, so please tell me. Then listen… listen… listen. If something isn’t clear, ask about it, and then listen again.
Be prepared for this change. Decide to do it now, before you face your next conflict, because waiting until you are in the moment will be too late. If you do this one thing, most of your arguments will be diffused before they turn into a fight.
And men, if you need a little more help you may want to try using The Manslater…