Tip #35: Husbands, instead of getting frustrated at how much your wife chatters, see it as a signal of a specific need for connection.
We all know that women tend to be more talkative and expressive of their emotions than men. In fact, women’s brains are usually structured to process things by talking them through, while men’s brains generally process things internally.
So guys, that means you are sometimes puzzled, overwhelmed or – let’s face it – annoyed when your wife rambles about things that seem trivial to you. Why is she telling me about her day step by step? Why doesn’t she cut to the chase of telling me the one thing I need to know that happened today?
Your wife may simply be a “talkative” sort. But I’m betting there is more going on.
When a woman talks with a close friend or loved one, bonding hormones are released in her brain. So in addition to already being more verbal and more likely to talk than you are, if she is feeling a disconnect between you, she is going to reach out with more communication to try to build that sense of closeness again.
So learn to see that signal and take it seriously. Don’t just push aside what she is talking about to “cut to the chase,” because the details are a waste of time. Instead, seize the opportunity to signal something back: that you want connection too. (Even if for you, sex is more likely to build that connection than talking… which we will be covering in an upcoming column!)
Learn the skill of listening to your wife’s feelings so she’ll feel heard. Ask questions so she knows you’re “there”. That makes her feel cared for and connected. And it might surprise you that it will do something for you, too: it will actually increase how much you care about what she’s sharing. Remember that what you feed, will grow. If you “feed” your interest instead of your exasperation, you’ll actually get more interested. And she’ll sense that.
For example, if your wife left you a long voice mail at work, find a time when you can call or text her back about a least one of the issues she raises. Or raise it when you get home. Ask whether little Courtney’s skinned knee is better, and how the accident happened, and what Courtney said and what your wife did.
Be careful, though: your wife might keel over from shock.
This doesn’t mean you have to spend 20 minutes on it; even a few minutes will help. But I think you’ll see that building this type of connection is the best possible use of your time because it will lead to far fewer arguments and less “volume” for you in the end.
On a final note, if you still find the talking is overwhelming you, it is important to discuss that with your wife. After all, she cares about what matters to you, too. So after you have worked on the “connection” for a few weeks, perhaps say something like this: “I care about what matters to you, but I can’t always tell which issues matter most. I’ve noticed that if I try to think through all of them I will get overwhelmed. So it comes across as not caring. How can we arrange this so that I can focus on what matters most to you, honey?”
See what she comes up with and discuss your preferences so you can figure out what works best for both of you.
Actively listening and taking interest in what your wife is sharing will truly strengthen the connection you have together, and as those talking-generated bonding hormones are released she will feel how much you care. Which will make your wife very, very happy, and lead to more peace in your home.
Taken from For Men Only.
Join us next Monday as we explain to women that men build closeness through physical intimacy instead of just talking.
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Shaunti Feldhahn is the best-selling author of eye-opening, research-based books about men, women and relationships, including For Women Only, For Men Only, The Surprising Secrets of Highly Happy Marriages and her newest, The Good News About Marriage. A Harvard-trained social researcher and popular speaker, her ﬁndings are regularly featured in media as diverse as The Today Show, Focus on the Family, and the New York Times. Visit www.shaunti.com for more.
Each Monday, join me as I share my top findings on the little, eye-opening things that make a big difference in creating great marriages and relationships. Today’s post is one of a series on the surprising truths that men and women tend not to know about each other–and which change everything once we do.