Fighting For Love
Husbands, yes, husbands, I’m talking to you. Turn down the TV volume, shut down your Fruit-Ninja app, and read this carefully: You know what women don’t do often enough? (Besides that; this is not a post about blow jobs.)
What I am referring to is the fact that we women don’t often ask for what we want in the plainest of English.

Example:

Woman: “Why can’t you be more generous of spirit and considerate of my needs?”

Man: “Uhhhh. Whuuuut the fuuu#% does that mean!?”

So husbands, I’m here to break it down for you – how to talk to your wife. My gift to you, perfectly, clearly spelled-out: What a woman needs to hear from you in order for her to

1) end the fight

2) stop the nagging

3) feel like getting immediately naked every time she is in your presence.*

*Errr . . . Results eventually possible, but not immediately typical, so stop salivating.

1) Say: “What I heard you say was . . . ” and then complete the sentence with whatever you just heard her say. This repeating-what-she-just-said tactic is called “reflective listening.” I know saying, “What I heard you say was that you feel overwhelmed that the house smells like diaper” feels strange, but I promise you that making your woman feel heard is worth it. In the words of an obviously-wise man I overheard at Pusser’s one night, “Women love that shit.” (I never did catch what this guru was referring to, but I’m pretty sure it was reflective listening.)

Don’t say: “Huh? It’s shark week, Bae. Did you really think I was listening?”

2) Say: “It makes sense that you feel angry, upset, etc. Your feelings are completely understandable.” This is called “validation.” Men who use “validation” are 400% less likely to get criticized and 200% more likely to get sex (Ummm…. I loosely stand by those stats that I just completely made up.)

Don’t say: “You are crazy/too emotional/overreacting,” etc. Or an equally-as-annoying variation of this: “Just calm down.” Unless you like sleeping on the couch.

3) Say: “Wow, that sounds really frustrating.” (While making eye contact and pausing for her to elaborate.) This is called “empathy.” Husbands without empathy are 300% more likely to have explosively angry or depressed wives. (Okay, so that statistic is also a slight estimation more-so than actual research, but do exact percentages really matter when we are taking about your wife’s well-being and temperament?)

Don’t say: “It’s not something anyone can fix, so why do you keep talking about it!? Just drop it already!”

You know that women need to be heard and not have their problems fixed, right?. . .

. . . Unless those problems are your fault. If your inaction is the cause for her complaint, read #4:

4) Say: “I hear that this is important to you, so that makes it important to me. I am taking care of the problem right now.” Or, if you have no intention of returning the Blu-Ray or fixing the leaky faucet or quitting smoking, say something respectable such as, “I honestly am exhausted, needing a break, etc., and have no intention of doing that. I am willing to face the consequences (your frustration, my late fee, having to pay a plumber, etc.)”

Don’t say: “Why do we keep talking about the same thing over and over!,” “I’ll do it later!” or any other similarly bullshittingly dismissive statement. Women who experience bullshittingly dismissive statements are 500% more likely to initiate fights. (Again, not exactly sound science there, but you get the idea.)

See, it’s that simple!

Next time your wife says something like, “I really wish you were more connecting in a real way, you know?” and you think, “Uhhhh . . . I have no effing clue what you mean,” just reflect, validate, and empathize. Then, rise to her expectations (or give a good explanation/commitment to taking on the consequences if you don’t.) Easy, right?

{Note from Kristen: “Rise to her expectations”? Teehee, that’s what she said.}

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angelicaAngelica Shiels is a married mom of three young boys and therapist in the Annapolis Maryland area. Find her sometimes clinical and sometimes ridiculous blog at familypsychologyblog.com. Also, find her on Facebook at Facebook.com/overthinkingmommy and twitter @psych_blogger.

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