Preface: Before writing any of this, I asked my husband if I’m a nag. He said, “no,” so I feel qualified to go on. Had he said, “yes,” I would have hung my head in shame and moved on to a new topic. Also, this turned out to be longer than I thought, so I’m going to post it in 3 different installments.
There’s another school that suggests women can say and do what we want when we want in whatever tone we want because, well, we’re women (hear us roar). That school can kick rocks as well.
I sit somewhere in the middle. I believe wholeheartedly in the necessity and value of the feminine voice, but I also believe it must be accompanied by deference and consideration. We are not “bad b_tches” who can behave in any kind of way. We are not so independent and entitled that we can speak to our men with disrespect and disdain. That junk ain’t ever cool, ever.
So, how do we speak to our men? How do we let them know what we need without pushing him away with our words? Follow these tips to help you navigate your way.
- Know who you’re talking to and what that means
Couples communication can be tricky. We often want to interact with our men in the same way we interact with our girlfriends. We we want to emote. We want to be dramatic. We want to tell the whole story with all the details because we want him to relate, just like our girlfriends would. And that’s why we love our girls. We can connect with them on an emotional level through conversation. It doesn’t matter so much what we’re talking about (and you know you can talk to your girls about anything), as long as we’re talking, sharing, validating each others feelings.
But it doesn’t work with our guys. Instead of understanding and validation, we’re met with attitude and frustration. You’re sitting there trying to get your emote on and he’s looking at you like, “Would you PLEASE shut up and let me go eat a sandwich?” That’s when your attitude kicks in. “The nerve of this, sucka! I’m trying to have a serious conversation and he has the nerve to be annoyed?” This scenario will always work out this way until you realize one little secret.
Want to know what it is? Ok, lean in close. Closer. This is a big secret. I can’t have just anybody knowing. Shoot, I’m only telling you because we’re cool. So the secret is this: Your man is a man, and he is not your girlfriend. Crazy, right? My mother schooled me back when I first got married, and I’m so glad she did. I probably wouldn’t be equipped to write this if she hadn’t.
The same way you get incensed when he clams up and gets stingy with his words, he gets incensed when you use as many words as possible to make your case. He doesn’t thrive on your thorough explanations like a woman would. Like a Google search engine, he combs through all your words to find the most important ones. He’s not necessarily trying to connect. He trying to get you some results!
So help a brother out. If all you want to do is talk to get some things off your chest, let him know up front that you’re only looking for a good listener. Ask him if he’s willing to lend an ear for 15 or 20 minutes. (Don’t you go expecting that man to listen to you for an hour if you’re not planning on having a solution-focused conversation.) If he’s not in the mood, don’t sweat it. Just let him know he owes you one and call up your girls.
Part 2 will be posted tomorrow. See ya soon!