Tip 53: Men, When Your Wife Worries Give Her Your Understanding, Not Your Frustration
Guys, I know this is a huge shocker, but…. women’s brains are wired differently than men’s. I know there are times when you as a husband probably feel completely baffled by your wife’s thoughts and actions. One man recently shared with me that he didn’t understand why his wife worried so much about all sorts of things; it made him feel like she didn’t trust him.
If this sounds familiar, let me give you a peek into your wife’s likely way of thinking.
This is not a very pleasant picture, but imagine dropping a dozen spiders onto the floor and watching them scatter in every direction. You could probably catch and squash three or four of them, but by the time you’ve chased those down, the others have found nooks and crannies to hide in. That is what we women feel like when something is bothering us. And whether we can catch and squash all our worries has nothing to do with whether or not we trust our husbands! It is primarily a function of brain wiring. Your male brain wiring allows you to just not think about something that is bothering you. The female brain wiring makes that much more difficult. Until we do something about them, those spiders are there.
Not every woman is like that, but according to our surveys most of us are. Our thoughts start scurrying in multiple directions – including that small chance of something going wrong and affecting someone we love.
For example, let’s say you’re wondering why your wife is so worried about your security on your upcoming business trip to Mexico, instead of trusting that your company surely has a good process in place. Now, she could have merely started out with a basic concern about you being tired for your big presentation, since you’ve put in some long hours, have difficulty sleeping on planes, and are going to have to hit the ground running. But then her brain might jump to “How is he going to get to the meeting? A taxi?” Then, “But wait…are the taxis there even safe?” She remembers all the news about the kidnappings of Westerners by the drug cartels, and suddenly she’s asking you seemingly strange questions about how taxi cabs are dispatched in Mexico.
Although women can and do learn to stop themselves from going down some of these crazy trains of thought — at least the worst ones — some of the worries remain until your wife can both talk to you about her worries and take some action to resolve them.
In other words: she can either do nothing and just live with those worry-spiders scuttling around in her brain, or she can share them with you and take action to get relief — and that’s where you come in.
Our research shows that it will make your wife feel very loved when you listen, don’t make her feel foolish for having the worry, and even take some form of action to help settle her mind – or encourage her to do so. In the case of your hypothetical business trip, for example, instead of rolling your eyes (figuratively, of course!) or saying “Honey, it will be fine; my colleagues who’ve gone have never had problems,” you could say, “Would it help to put you in touch with our travel agency? I honestly don’t know the answers about security stuff, but they do, and I’m curious, too.”
Little things like not only give her some resolution – they make her feel loved and supported. And when you help her take those actions, it means even more. It tells her you are there for her.
Yes, we women can and do learn to live with uncertainty. But we want the men we love to recognize that those times of worry are when we most need your understanding rather than your frustration. That is when we see that you are choosing to care about what matters to us – and that is a signal of love that shouts far more loudly in our mind than any worry ever will.
Join us next Monday for the next installment in our Marriage Monday series!
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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.