It’s an age-old question: can men tune into and really listen to their wives? We know there is a generally accepted answer to that question: no. But is that true? Do men listen differently than women? Do men practice looking like they’re not listening when they really are? Are men created with a filter that women simply do not have? Read on.
Men do listen to their wives, but there are some qualifications around the parameters of that answer.
Some of those parameters might include, but are not limited to: are they interested in the conversation; have they been drawn into the conversation or forced; do they feel valued in the conversation; is there a solution that he can add; is there a purpose for this conversation that directly affects him; how long will this conversation take; and can the conversation actually arrive at a point?
Quite honestly, I have found that men like to listen to other men more than to woman (again generally speaking). That may mean men will actually listen to the advice of a man than that of a woman. That does not mean he doesn’t value a woman’s input. But what that actually means is men’s brains seem wired to accommodate other men and their opinion before a female counterpart. Now, before you take that statement and run with it in a hundred different directions, let’s consider a man’s approach to another man.
Men generally will leave feelings out of the conversation. Men generally will speak in facts as they understand them and men generally will not converse just to converse. Men do not tend to have a need for all of the little details and men tend to use fewer words. As well, men tend to keep advice giving to a point of request only. In other words, men enjoy or embrace the communication style of other men rather than woman. It’s not an attack on a woman as much as it’s a preference of style.
With all of that said, men need women and their relational style of communicating. Men need to hear the feeling side of conversation and men need to allow woman the opportunity to share the details they feel effect the conversation. Men need to listen to women because women have this uncanny ability to pull truth from feelings and not just facts. Men need to learn to converse with just listening and not always listening to fix. Men need face-to-face conversations with the women in their life for a balance in receiving the feminine side of their Creator.
Yes, husbands can listen to their wives as wives keep these parameters in mind. So, ladies, stop trying to remake your husband into one of your girlfriends. He is not them; he’s different and he enjoys that difference. Perhaps let him know up front that you are looking for his advice or let him know you are not; you just want him to listen. He can do that, but he needs you to let him know what you’re looking for early in the conversation.
Men and women converse differently and we need what each one brings to the conversation. We need to learn to value each style and honor one another by practicing our listening skills.
Here are some secrets to conversing with your husband:
- Make an attempt to use fewer words.
- Use a tone of voice that is inviting and engaging rather than commanding or directing.
- Practice letting him know what you need or are looking for from the conversation before it starts.
- Be sure there is sufficient time allotted for the conversation. If not, schedule it for another time.
- Try to relate a few facts.
- Study his language style and do your best to incorporate his style of communication. For example, quite often a builder uses building terms or a salesman uses sales terms. Learn those terms and incorporate them in your communication.
- Share your feelings, but let him know that’s what you are doing. For example, you can say, “Just sharing a feeling here, but I think it’s significant to the point being made.”
- Try to communicate the point of your conversation earlier in the discussion. For example, you could say, “There is a decision we need to make, but first it’s important to look at what is going to affect this decision.”
- You can really draw him in with this conversation starter, “I need your input on ___________.” Then you could go on to discuss the issues.