When we get married we have, let us say, 100 things we would like our spouses to change. Seventy five are things which your husband can “hear.” But twenty five are in his “tune-out” range.
In other words, it’s not really his fault! You have to figure out how to put your issues on his radar.
This might sound like a tall order, but if you have kids it comes quite naturally. We become quite adept at explaining to children the concept of danger and appropriateness in words and tones that are in their range.
You can shout and get mad at your husband all you want that this isn’t fair, but that probably is in his tune-out range too.
If you aren’t getting through to your husband, then saying it louder or more often doesn’t help. In fact, your husband probably will do what I do now with the squeaky brakes — turn up the music.
The problem is, and I know you are going to have a hard time with this one, he simply doesn’t understand.
Let me give you an example. You would like your husband to change the light bulb and, how can I say this politely, he doesn’t.
What happens next isn’t pretty. But it is expected.
Not only is what happens next totally expected, but he expects it too.
Now, open your excel spread sheet and let’s do the math. On the one side of the equation is changing the light bulb, on the other side are the consequences. Now, plug in the formula and what does Microsoft point out as the winning solution?
You don’t need Bill Gates to realize your husband’s life would be a lot easier if he simply changed the light bulb. Therefore conclude….
As obvious and as clear as you think you are, you aren’t. You think he understands what it is you are asking, and based on that conclude that the only reason he isn’t doing it is because he is deaf. That’s why you say it louder with each repetition.
How is that working for you?
He’s not deaf, and he’s not stupid (as men define stupid).
He doesn’t get it. Keep reading.
3) Small Things
Despite what you might think, men bleed too. And they would rather do what (you think) you are asking of them, then live in the dog house.
The problem is, it’s what (they think) you are asking of them.
So, for the sake of brevity, let me translate for you women what men actually hear when you ask them to do something.
This is Mrs. Sandy Smith and she wants her husband to put his socks in the hamper after he deposits them on the floor of their bedroom. Mr. Smith is no wimp, he’s not incapacitated and he just ran 256 miles in preparation for his Iron Man competition that weekend. Picking up socks therefore would seem to be no big deal. Picking up an Elephant (for Mr. Smith) is no big deal either.
That is, in woman speak. Unfortunately, that’s what Sandy speaks.
So she says, “Honey, please put your socks in the hamper.”
Now, for a little more than 99.99 percent of women, that’s pretty clear. She didn’t say it in Latin. And her husband graduated Yale with honors and apart from being as fit as a racehorse, he’s a negotiator for the International Monetary Fund. So he should get it. At least that’s what Sandy thinks.
Unfortunately, Sandy never learned to speak “men.”
In men talk, this is what he hears, “Honey, this afternoon I volunteered you to donate your kidney to a poor Sudanese farmer and if you agree, then tomorrow we are going to suck all your blood out of your body.”
Men only hear everything and anything that is ever asked of them as really big deals.
That doesn’t mean they aren’t willing to do it, but women have to appreciate what they are asking.
When you ask your husband to give you his kidney, that’s a really big deal. And he very probably will do it. But you think (as a woman) that if he will give me his kidney, then for sure taking out the garbage is no big deal.
That’s how you think. But he doesn’t. He only hears “BIG DEALS.”
If you think back, husbands love doing the big stuff. They love being heroes. So when you were (excuse the lack of pc) a damsel in distress, they rode up on their valiant steed and slew the dragon. Make them a hero for changing the light bulb and they will do it on a horse.
I know what you are going to say, “I shouldn’t have to plead as though everything is a big deal.” And you are right. But, here’s the scoop.
If you don’t do it this way, not only are you not going to get what you want, but your husband is going to be in the dog house, and you both are not going to have a very good time.
So, if you still have your spread sheet open, calculate this. Balance the pros and cons of either asking him to do what you want in the way I have mentioned and getting it done, or asking the way you have been doing and not getting what you want done.
I love math!
4) Face Time
If you are not getting what you want, you need to know why. And to know that, you need to ask him.
I didn’t say ask him to do it, I said ask him why he doesn’t do it. They aren’t the same thing, and both of you need to be clear what you are asking.
Once he is clear that all you want to know is the reason, he will stop being defensive and will (eventually) tell you. This step is not as easy as it sounds, but it’s well worth it. Not just for the end result, but the process is major for a relationship.
There is a significant caveat to making this work. You have to listen to what your husband says, and that may involve hearing and admitting that you aren’t entirely perfect either (there’s a concept for you to ponder). And maybe there is something you are doing that is getting in the way.
If you don’t hear a reason that makes sense to you, then he didn’t tell you, or you are not listening.
5) Attitude Here’s the biggest thing that women do wrong in communicating with their husbands – but don’t click unless you are willing to face the big truth….
As clearly as you can see what your husband is doing wrong, he can see your mistakes too.
In other words, if you want him to have an attitude of listening, then you are going to have to show him how to do it.
When you can say (in your own words), “Please tell me slowly and clearly what I am doing wrong so I can write it down and work on it.” Then your husband will say the same thing!