Why is this??

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We had a Marriage Seminar at our church 2 weekends ago. We were suppossed to go over the study books together as couples. Most of the ladies have said that they can't get their husbands to do it with them, or, that they tried, but, when it got to the study on communication, they started to get into an argument.

What don't women understand about men and communication and what don't men understand about women and communication.

Several ladies have asked me about this, and, I truly don't have all the answers, my husband does communicate with me, so, I don't know really what to say.

Any help in this area from both Men & Women would be appreciated!!

Marsha in PA--wife to Loren--mother to 12

-- Marsha (Thankful4Jesus@excite.com), February 13, 2002


Our church is currently in the middle of a sunday school class using the books. The Power of a Praying Wife for the ladies and The Power of a Praying Husband for the Men. Books are by Stormie Omartian. Each book is about the opposite sex. The book is about how we differ, how we view various parts of our lives, sex, relationships, work, home, and family.

At a minimum, maybe you can read the womens book and get some insight into the male. Better if your husband can get some insight into females.

I would also recomend Night Light : A Devotional for Couples by James C. Dobson, Shirley Dobson. My wife and I are also reading this. It has stories, prayes and ask some interesting questions about marriage, life, church. Maybe your husband would be more willing to communicate with you in your own home with only you around.

I know I would feel awkward knowing that if I read the book I might be cornered during the seminar for a quesiton or worse yet be ask for a question.

-- Gary in Ohio (gws@columbus.rr.com), February 13, 2002.

This is an age old question that women have been asking about men! I now, after three marriages and being married to the third DH for 24 years,realize that men have a very difficult time expressing their deepest emotions. Maybe it is because they think that they have to be invulnerable OR they think that men don't cry! (Me Tarzan, you Jane!) Or maybe it is a matter of trust! To bare our souls leaves us open to being hurt or rejected or ridiculed! I also think that some men feel emotions far more tenderly than we realize and their "hurts" are very deep.

-- Ardie/WI (ardie54965@hotmail.com), February 13, 2002.

The root of the problem is that women speak a language that sounds disarmingly like English, but isn't. Or maybe it's the men. Anyway, what I say and what she hears are rarely the same thing.

Seriously, I think that one of the biggest obstacles to communication in most homes today is the television. When it is on, real communication is almost impossible. I can't watch television due to a disability that causes me to get sucked into whatever program is on, and become completely oblivious to my surroundings. You could drive a train through the house and I'd never notice.

Maybe men are just more compartmentalized than women. At least I know that I am. Connie can talk on the phone, do dishes, knit, cook supper, and watch television while keeping an eye on all three children. If I have to watch the kids, I have to physically sit and do nothing but WATCH them. The other alternative is to simply lay down on the floor, at which point all three kids will be immediately compelled to come and pounce knees-first on my kidneys. They will keep this up for hours, or until the paramedics arrive, whichever comes first.

At any rate, I'm sure glad to have Connie around. I wonder every day what I ever did without her. I'm a bit concerned about having more children, however, because we're beginning to get outnumbered...

-- Chuck (woah@mission4me.com), February 13, 2002.

Readers; the lack of communication has allways and allways will be the root to many of the problems between married people. From a male view point; men communicate directly; women communicate indirectly. Example, the kids are grown and gone, you now have room for that sewing and craft room that you have thought about for 20 years, but its too drafty because the windows need recaulking. You tell hubby that you wished it was on the south side of the house. He thinks: what would be the cost of another room addition? Or you say: do we need to up grade the furnace? He thinks: Am I not a good provider? Thats what you have challenged him with.

And yes it is a challenge to his manhood if the furnace is inadequate in your opinion, you have stepped on his pride. To him, there is no pleasing you, because he is earning as much money as he can and there is no money budgeted for a new furnace. If he is as off center as much as your communications are the reply will be "I am doing the best as I can".

Asking a man to sit down and review a text about communication is the same as asking him to sit down and list as many inadquaticies as can be found about him. Dragging the church and God into it means you are seeking devine proof of the inadquaticies in his opinion. No one passes out a program for you as you enter this life; there is no junior high class named "Human Communication 101". For thousands of years men have been the protector, provider, leader rolefiller; now in the last couple hundred years we are exspected to diminish that role to be kinder, gentler beings. Bulls can be taught to act like cows, but still are born with horns.

If a man askes a woman "what is wrong" it is because he senses there is something wrong but does not know what it is, truthfully and totally. If you answer "nothing" or "if I have to tell you..." you are putting him into the doghouse even deeper, again stepping on his pride. All you had to say was "the windows need recaulking".

I am sure there is an equal and reversed view of this same problem that will be in the next post below this one, try to write it direct so men can understand it. And if you ever meet a man that tells you he understands women; watch out - he will lie about other things too.

-- mitch hearn (moopups@citlink.net), February 13, 2002.

Wonderful insight, Mitch!

And, Chuck, you put it exacxtly as I've told countless women! Women are multi-taskers and men are one-thing-at-a-time! I remember when my SIL talked about doing the laundry and I told him that he wasn't doing the laundry. The washer and dryer were. He was watching TV! I don't think he understood that he could also be doing something else! Amazing! BTW, I dearly love my SIL. I'm not knocking him at all.

-- Ardie/WI (ardie54965@hotmail.com), February 13, 2002.

Mitch, guilty as charged. Any argument Dave and I have had is because I think he should do something without me having to ask. But after all this time, I still cannot understand why I have to ask. For heavens sake, the man has eyes and is of a normal intelligence! :) He is always willing to help, if I ask, but I am stubborn and usually do whatever needs done around here myself. Makes life interesting. Marsha, wish I could help, but after 20 years, I'm still trying to figure mine out.

-- Annie (mistletoe6@earthlink.com), February 13, 2002.

Chuck are you sure you dont live at my house?You sound like someone I know!

-- willa (goodall6@hotmail.com), February 13, 2002.

I love the book "Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus". We listened to a tape of that book and it has helped us understand each other much better.

-- diane (gardiacaprines@yahoo.com), February 13, 2002.

Marsha, this won't answer your question, but it reminded me of a story. A man found a bottle, rubbed it, and out popped a genie. He was a mean one, so he only gave the man one wish. The man thought and thought and finally made his request.

"I've always wanted to go to Europe, but I'm afraid to fly or to go by boat. Build me a bridge across the Atlantic so I can drive it."

"Are you crazy?" the genie blew up. "Do you know how much it would take me to build a bridge to Europe?! Forget it! Ask something else."

So the man thought and thought again, and finally came up with a different request.

"Okay, here it is: I want to understand how women think."

The genie glared at him out of the corner of his eye.

"How many lanes did you say you wanted on that bridge?"

-- Randal in Brazil (randal@onebox.com), February 13, 2002.

Mitch explained it very well. It took me many years to figure that one out.

After my Dear Spouse and I got married, every conversation turned into an argument. We had different meanings for words. We couldn't talk without our dictionaries in hand. He would mean definition #1 and I speak in definition #2.

We don't argue like that anymore, but I would say our communication is still pretty poor.

-- Laura (Ladybugwrangler@hotmail.com), February 13, 2002.

My husband and I teach a marriage series called Home Builders, put out by Family Life Ministries. One of the biggest obstacles to successful marriages is communication. Men are instinctively wary of any material that makes them feel inferior or that they are going to be "fixed" in 6 easy lessons. What you need is for a few key men, mainly the pastor and a few men recognized as leaders in the church to sign on and commit to the program. They will then talk to the other men in a way that is not threatening, sharing what they have learned. No one wants to be made to feel inferior or that they will be ganged up upon. A few influential ladies who can talk lovingly about it, not accussing or man-bashing, will go a long way, too. There is so much to be gained by both partners if they can have a relationship as it was meant to be, with mutual love and respect being shown by both.

-- melina b. (goatgalmjb1@hotmail.com), February 13, 2002.

Mitch did a very, very good job of explaining some of the major differences in the way men and women think and express themselves. In a nutshell, men are fixers and conquerors. Women tend to be more nurturing. (These are generalities!) Men want to know what the problem is, fix it, and get on with life. Why spend any more time talking about something other than what's necessary to pinpoint what needs to be fixed. Women often don't want to hurt feelings, so spend a great deal of time beating around the bush till the poor guy goes to sleep waiting for her to get to the point, at which time he will "fix" the problem. Women need to understand that men aren't mindreaders. If you have a problem, state clearly and quickly WHAT it is, and HOW you would like his help in fixing the problem. If you need to "talk" to get something off your chest, tell your guy straight up that this is something that you DO NOT need him to fix, you'd just like him to listen to you bounce ideas and/or feelings off of him. This lets him off the hook, so to speak, at which point he can promptly go to sleep while you talk to yourself. Plan B - pick up the phone and visit with your girlfriend.

Guys feel threatened when faced with problems and feelings that they can't "fix", and yes, they do feel inadequate when they don't know what to do to help you. You need to be very clear about when you expect them to help you and when you're just sounding off without really expecting anything from them. And don't expect your husband to take the place of your best girl-friend. My dh IS my best friend, but I would not expect him to sit and listen to all the "girl" stuff that we women sometimes tend to talk about. I was raised with 2 brothers and a neighborhood full of guys, so I relate much better to guys than women. My dh and I communicate very well, however, there are still times I engage in girl talk, and I try not to bore my dh with it. Dh and I try to accept the male/female differences in communicating rather than fighting it, altho we still do tease each other. "Honey, I want to introduce you to the new nurse at the clinic. You'll love her...you both speak ding-bat". "Dear, God REALLY won't strike you dead if you stop and ask for directions, honest!"

And guys, it really won't kill you to LISTEN to your wives once in awhile.

-- Lenette (kigervixen@webtv.net), February 13, 2002.

Guess I should explain what listening means...for a guy, it means you need to put down your newspaper, stop planning what you're going to do this weekend, and actually hear what your wife is saying. With men, generally if there isn't eye contact, you're NOT listening! I think this is one reason wives like to go out for dinner - it's often one of the few times the guy puts aside other thoughts and will look his wife right in the eye and hear what she's saying.

On the other hand, women (being multi-taskers) can do 6 things at once and still listen to what is being said to them and respond appropriately. Due to a medical condition, I now sometimes have a problem being able to concentrate. Sometimes I just have to tell my dh, "Whoa, I'm not hearing you. Wait till I have this done, then I will sit down and listen to you." Sometimes that's what you guys need to do too.

-- Lenette (kigervixen@webtv.net), February 13, 2002.

I would suggest that the women quit trying to get the men to read the book. (Many women are readers; many men are not. Nagging makes things worse.) Instead, the wives can read the book and comment about what she's reading to her husband. The comments should be about areas where SHE should improve, not him. Women who subtily (and not so subtily) try to point out their husbands' shortcomings usually get worse than nowhere with him. Encourage the women to pray for their mates and work on improving their own problems.

-- Cathy N. (homekeeper86@sympatico.ca), February 13, 2002.

Thanks to everyone for your input. It was hard thing for me to give advice about since my husband and I really don't have that problem.

My husband is the Childrens pastor at our church, and, some of the ladies had mentioned that they hadn't gotten very far with their projects with their husbands.

I didn't want to say anything that might make them feel worse about their husbands--like my husband and I really don't have to much of a problem with communication. It might make things worse.

Thanks again for all your advice Marsha

-- Marsha (Thankful4Jesus@excite.com), February 13, 2002.

Marsha, just print out a few copies of this and hand it out to them.

-- mitch hearn (moopups@citlink.net), February 13, 2002.

I just reread this entire thread and did some more thinking. Like Cathy said, too many women concentrate on trying to change their spouse. You CAN'T change your spouse or anyone else. Those few times when I start thinking my dh needs an attitude adjustment, usually that's when I need to look in the mirror. If dh does have an attitude, often it's a reflection of my own. Ouch! I change my attitude and his miraculously changes too. :)

I was attending a ladies Bible study at church one time, and after the first few meetings it seemed to turn into a gripe session about husbands. One night several of the ladies asked me about my husband and I started listing all the kind, considerate things he says and does each day. (One of the few men I know who really know the meaning of the word "husband"). The first thing the rest of them made were some sarcastic comments about renting my husband out to give lessons to theirs. I was hoping their husbands never heard their wives talk about them like that. Talk about dishonoring! The other day I ran into one of the ladies and her husband in a store, she was rude and sarcastic to him non-stop. No wonder he doesn't go out of his way to be kind!

-- Lenette in OR (kigervixen@webtv.net), February 13, 2002.

Mitch, my husband really related to your comments. Women REALLY don't understand the male mind, myself included. Quite a revelation!

Truth is: Men and women really don't understand each other. Maybe that's why we are so attracted to each other??

P.S. Husband loved your closing comment!

-- HV (veggie@ourplace.com), February 13, 2002.

A man walking along a California beach was deep in prayer. All of a sudden, he said out loud, "Lord grant me one wish." Suddenly the sky clouded above his head and in a booming voice the Lord said, "Because you have TRIED to be faithful to me in all ways, I will grant you one wish."

The man said, "Build a bridge to Hawaii, so I can drive over anytime I want to."

The Lord said, "Your request is very materialistic. Think of the logistics of that kind of undertaking. The supports required to reach the bottom of the Pacific! The concrete and steel it would take! I can do it, but it is hard for me to justify your desire for worldly things. Take a little more time and think of another wish, a wish you think would honor and glorify me."

The man thought about it for a long time. Finally he said, "Lord, I wish that I could understand women. I want to know how they feel inside, what they are thinking when they give me the silent treatment, why they cry, what they mean when they say 'nothing', and how I can make a woman truly happy".

After a few minutes God said, ........."You want two lanes or four on that bridge?"

--Happy trails, Cabin Fever

-- Cabin Fever (Cabinfever_mn@yahoo.com), February 14, 2002.

Ah geeeez, I missed Randy's post up yonder. I guess some men do think alike!

-- Cabin Fever (cabinfever_mn@yahoo.com), February 14, 2002.

I think most men must think alike - that's why I've heard the same joke three times this week - from Randal, Cabin Fever, and our Family Life Minister at church, who used it in his sermon this past Sunday morning!

I don't think Lance and I are exceptionally good at communicating, so I can't offer much advice on the subject. One thing that I believe helps is the willingness to work on staying together. We have several friends who have met, married and divorced in the time we have been married (9 years). More than once, Lance has said that he just doesn't understand how anyone could want to be divorced. These people were not in abusive relationships, and there wasn't any adultery going on, they just decided they didn't want to be married anymore! They just didn't WANT to put any effort into figuring out what the problem was!

-- Christine in OK (cljford@mmcable.com), February 14, 2002.

Hello Marsha,

A great book to read is, Women are from Venus and Men are from Mars. It can clear up alot of misunderstandings we have of the opposite sex.

Sincerely, Ernest

-- http://communities.msn.com/livingoffthelandintheozarks (espresso42@hotmail.com), February 14, 2002.

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