Men and Women, Episode 1

Posted on April 24, 2013 | 8 comments

In a conversation with a friend recently, it came up that she was irritated with how her husband responded to her problems. When she expressed dissatisfaction with some event, situation, or person, her husband’s response was to present her with a solution. Very common comment from married women.

The problem for my friend, as probably any woman reading this could attest, is that she didn’t feel heard and understood; instead she felt dismissed by her husband.

After I heard her out, I asked if I could offer another perspective to what she was experiencing. My wife and I have gone through this dance as well, and we are both still learning how to navigate it.

Feelings are quite real (<– that’s a pretty good past blog), but they sometimes blind us to reality.

My friend was surprised to hear that her husband was likely not intentionally dismissing her, but he was so offended something had caused his wife pain that he wanted to do anything he could to make it stop.

Her husband was functioning in his role as her protector, not wanting anything to happen to his beloved woman on his watch. Unintentionally, her response of telling him he was being insensitive was devastating him and causing him to feel emasculated.

Being told that she didn’t need a solution feels like being told “I don’t need you.”

It was a new perspective.

In a marriage, both spouses fall into the tendency to view the other’s behavior through their own lens of decision-making. This does not take into account the complementary differences between the two genders. When we ask our spouse to deny their differences – their complementary strengths – we are asking them to deny a part of their design. And that sends an unintended message.

Sadly, it causes both spouses to miss the love being given in the way the other was designed to lavish it.

Please don’t take this as a blind defense of insensitive behavior. I know that I have tried to solve my wife’s problem before she is even finished communicating it. That’s my blindness and denying her design. This goes both ways.

The truth is that husbands do need to pull the blinders off and be conscious of listening. Understanding what their wives need when the are releasing their emotions. Learn to respond after your wife has had time to process and is emotionally ready to be offered a solution.

But wives, don’t consistently deny him the opportunity to provide, that is what he was made to do and you may be sending an unintended message.

What other designed, complementary behaviors do we often deny our spouses?

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  1. I’m stopping by from Wifey Wednesday.
    That very issue you brought up happened to hubby and I a lot. Finally I sat him down one day and said this: “I need to talk to you, I don’t need a solution or advice, I just need some-one to listen and sympathize” Turns out, he’s pretty good at that when he realized that’s all I needed. He’s a good man. I just don’t always understand his motives.

    • Clear communication of expectations in the moment is a must, to avoid hurting each other unintentionally. Thank you for reading and commenting.

  2. This is such a good point, Scott. I do that same thing – ask for listening and push back a little at my husband’s suggestions in those moments. Over time, I’ve found that I need to balance it out by seeking out his ideas when I can handle them :). He’s saved me a lot of grief in my business and even as I prepare to speak or write, simply be coming to him for his ideas or feedback first. We really do need each other, and I’m grateful for your encouragement to keep letting that be known to my husband.

    • Balance for both is the key, as you said. Thanks for your vulnerability in sharing your experience.

  3. Hi Scott, it was so good to meet you this past week! And I find your perspective very thought-provoking. I’ve not really thought of it this way–not dismissing my spouse’s “gender strengths.” I’m going to spend some time thinking more about this one, because I think you bring up a great point. I’m very grateful that my husband and I have something of an understanding about his desire to “fix my feelings.” He tries to shift his perspective when it occurs. But I’m certain there’s more that I could appreciate about his analytical and problem-solving strengths than I do. Great thoughts, my friend! And I look forward to reading many more of your thoughts in the days, weeks and months to come. Thanks also for linking this quality post up with Wedded Wed!

    • Thanks for your perspective on this post. Great to meet you too!

  4. Love this! Not that the concept is new, but the explanation is so very well articulated; definitely going to link to this on my “Respecting Women” page–thanks!

    • Can’t wait to check out your page. Thanks!

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