If you were to gather a hundred married men in a room and ask for a show of hands of how many of them understand their wives, I’d guess you’d get two or three hands. The rest will chuckle.
Why so few?
The problem is as old as the ages. Women absolutely mystify men. Part of it is that our reactions aren’t like men’s reactions. You have only to watch facial expressions and body language to understand this.
- What happens when a woman wins a game or contest? She screams, smiles, and jumps up and down. What happens when a man wins? He looks almost angry and bellows. He accepts his trophy with a smile maybe, but mostly, he’s stoic.
- How does a woman react to joy? She cries. How does a man react? He smiles.
- How does a woman grieve? It’s a process accompanied with many tears. How does a man grieve? It’s a process, too, but feelings of anger and revenge are at the fore. It’s good if he lets himself cry, but many men can’t.
- How does a woman make a money decision? She evaluates the purchase in her mind: is it a need, a want, do I have the money? The man gets it if it’s important to him.
I know these illustrations broad brush the differences between the sexes, but it’s true that, in general, men and women react differently to the circumstances of life.
It’s especially accentuated in marriage. So, what's a wife to do?
It’s a lifesaver to understand two basic points about your husband:
- He doesn’t get hints. Many wives skirt around what they really want from their husbands. They nag and plead, but they don’t state exactly what they’re thinking. The clueless husband doesn’t do what she wants—he can’t/won’t figure it out—and the wife becomes angry, lonely, and feeling mistreated. He can’t understand her reaction. After all, he never figured out what she was hinting about in the first place.
- He needs your help. Speak clearly to your husband. If you like something tell him in plain words, and thank him. Be clear. Don’t speak in generalities. Speak specifically. The same thing goes for when you want him to do something. Tell him in sentences that he understands. “Honey, the washing machine is leaking” isn’t enough. You need to say, “Honey, the washing machine is leaking water all over the floor. Can you look and see if you can find the problem?” Or, if he’s not mechanically inclined, say, “Honey, the washing machine is leaking now, and I believe we should call a repairman before it reaches our new flooring. Okay?” The same principle goes for anything you want. “Please kiss me.” “I would love to take a family day. Will next Monday or Friday work for you?” Make your requests clear enough that your husband knows how to respond. “Yes, call the repairman.” “Muahh!” “Monday’s good. Where did you think about going?”
In a nutshell:
- Speak clearly.
- Explain what you’re thinking.
- Be transparent and open.
- State what you want in language he understands.
- Tell him you’re thankful when he has done anything that pleases you.
- Love him.
Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife (1 Peter 3:7a). It's our job to give them that knowledge! And, as the years go by, your husband will understand you!