Your man wants to listen to you, he just can't listen to every detail at once.
How well do you communicate with your man?
Do you end each conversation feeling fully understood and heard? Do you find that when you ask him to do something, he does it, and there are no miscommunications or misunderstandings? Does he listen eagerly to what you have to say? Or, do you sometimes feel like he's just watching your lips move and waiting for you to finish — like there's NO real listening happening ?
If conversations lead to conflict more than connection, then you probably need to understand some critical things about effective communication between men and women. With some simple adjustments, you can feel "heard" better than ever before.
Here's what we mean:
Men Use Fewer Words Than Women ... But WHY?
"Let's go over there."
"It's getting dark. Let's go home."
"I'll meet you over there."
These are examples of the kinds of communication men used for centuries to fulfill their role in the tribe as the hunters. They weren't eloquent or detailed. There's nothing in there about how they plan to attack, what they're feeling, or, what they're looking at and observing — just short, to the point, necessary information.
These days, men aren't hunting for survival anymore. But for hundreds of years, communicating in bursts of essential information helped men provide for their families and community. If they said much more, the animal they were hunting might hear them and run off. We call this "digital communication," and it still highly influences the way men communicate and take in information.
That doesn't mean that they can't share their feelings, hold long conversations, or appreciate and observe nuance and beauty. It simply means that sometimes the best way to open a conversation and reach them in a way so they can truly hear you, is by simplifying what you say.
How To Translate Cavewoman "Fire Talk" to Caveman "Hunter Talk"
What does simplifying mean? Well for women, more information is usually better. As the heart and voice of the hearth, and builder of communities, women protected their family's well being through strong relationships; they needed the flow of conversation to bond with others and learn the information that affected their family's survival, status, and happiness.
Conversation passed the time, connected them to others, and provided insights into emotional nuances that would impact the community's well-being. Centuries later, women still have more facility with expressing and identifying emotions, building strong, fast bonds ... and creating intimacy through conversation. It's a powerful skill!
And because you have more insight into the emotional undercurrent beneath words, and an ability to connect through conversation, you want to learn how to translate those natural strengths to reach a man where he is.
So, if you are upset that he didn't do the dishes when he was supposed to, resist your need to list everything that impacted your feelings and disappointment when you share these feelings with him.
Why? Because when you share everything, he hears nothing!
You may want to say something like this:
"Why didn't you do the dishes? You know I had a long work day and was totally exhausted when I got home. I still need to help our kids with homework, bath time, and have a presentation to prepare for tomorrow. You said you would handle it, and you didn't. I ended up doing it because you know that if we leave the dishes in the sink, it will be much harder to clean later ..."
But, you'd have far more success if you said this instead: "I'm upset you didn't do the dishes. You said you would."
By changing how you say what needs saying, he's able to hear all of the important information. He doesn't start tuning out, and he doesn't start getting defensive about secondary items (homework, bath time, long day at work).
That doesn't mean you can't share your feelings of overwhelm and stress with the other areas of your life. You just need to pace it differently.
Making Caveman Communication Work For Modern Couples
It may seem weird that our roles as men and women still impact how we communicate today. You're not the first person to read this post and think: This is so outdated. Why am I thinking about how men and women communicated before we had fire? Things are SO different now. But we spent centuries in these older roles, and we've only had a few hundred years in our new ones (arguably, only decades!). The influences run deep — like it or not.
If you think about every time you shared a lot with your man, and he heard very little — if anything at all — then you know what we're saying rings true.
If you pay attention to how men talk to each other (for example, think of football!) versus how women talk amongst themselves, then you know that our old gender roles still impact us today.
The problems that arise because of these difference are significant. We can't share what's important to each other; we both feel like the other never listens; or, we tune out, opt out, or run out.
But the good news is, once we identify the hidden influences running below the surface, we are empowered to make changes to reverse all that damage, bring us closer together, and thrive as a couple.
Katie and Gay's free relationship e-newsletter, Hearts In Harmony, explores the challenges and glories of lasting love. Based on the tools they've developed throughout their 30+ year marriage and taught to thousands, you'll learn powerful insights and practical techniques you can start using today — whether you're in a relationship or eager to attract one.
This article was originally published at Hearts In Harmony . Reprinted with permission from the author.