Asking For Too Much Communication? And WW Link Up!

Gender Gap of Words.jpg

{Repost of an article originally published – October, 2010}

Let’s face it. There are major differences between men and women, and one of the big ones is the amount of communication women use versus men. Studies have shown that women use approximately 20,000 words per day, compared to the measly 7,000 word count that men tend to prefer.

I don’t know about your household, but this difference has caused a whole lot of messiness from time to time between me and my “Mister.”

You can see this difference in action by simply asking a man a question related to feelings or relationships, and then turning and asking a woman that very same question.

The man will either say, “Yes,” “No,” or most likely, “I don’t know.”

And the woman will say, “I’m so glad you asked! I’ve been wondering what I think and feel about that a lot lately. In fact, just yesterday, I was talking with ‘Sally Soandso’ about this very same issue, because I feel like . . . yada, yada, yada …”

Notice any differences?

When I was young, and dating my soon-to-be husband, I imagined that he would want to talk with me into the wee hours of the morning, whenever he sensed that I had something on my heart. This is where the messiness entered in.

That fairy-tale scenario didn’t quite pan out for me like I had hoped, when the mundane and dry reality of life and marriage hit me smack between the eyes! Actually, my husband, Gary, is very talkative {in a manly sort of way}. As a couple, he’s definitely the more extroverted of the two of us.

  • He’s typically the one who has to be pulled away from conversations with others after church.
  • He’s the one who loves to strike up a conversation with our waiter/waitress or the stranger waiting in line {although I’m learning to do this more and more these days!}.
  • He’s the one who loves to tell you story after story, and goes into way more detail than I, as a reserved introvert, would ever think AN.Y.ONE would want to hear!

The bottom line is: my man definitely has the gift of gab!

But the strangest thing happens when it’s just the two of us …

It’s as if he morphs into the proverbial “bump on a log.” Don’t get me wrong! There are plenty of times when he tells me what’s on his mind. But when it comes to “chit-chat” or even deeper—talking about feelingsit’s as if he’s missing the zip in his doo-dah!

For the longest time, I tried to force my husband to be more like my wonderful girlfriends who love to chat with me for hours about relationships and feelings … or even the occasional DIY pallet project on Pinterest—something that would quickly elicit a glazed and faraway look in Gary’s eyes! 😉

But somewhere along the line I figured out that . . .

  1. I didn’t marry a woman {duh! I know, I know, my “wisdom” must astound you!} and . . .
  2. Trying to force my hubby to talk with me “like a woman” might just be going against God’s grand design and Gary’s masculine wiring.

Now, I supplement my conversational needs. I never expect Gary to be my only source of a good, juicy conversation. I turn to my girlfriends who are happy to oblige, whenever I need a little more than Gary can give. As a bonus, since my expectations have become more realistic with my hubby, he’s actually opened up more with me over the years.

And every once in a whileyes, it’s true—it’s even about those dreaded feelings! 

{Shhhh! Don’t tell him I told you that! After all, it just might mean revoking his “man card!” But then, I’m sure I could whip up a new and sturdier one for him from a Pinterest projectmade out of “pallets” no less!} 😉

 

 

How has this gender and communication difference negatively impacted your marriage?

 

What are some other unrealistic expectations that have strained or burdened your relationship?

 

Disclaimer – I realize that these are stereotypical generalizations that I’m making. They have been true in my experience, but might not compare as clearly to yours. It’s simply a reminder to accept your spouse for who they are and how they are wired.

 

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As many of you know, I’m on sabbatical until mid-August. In fact, I’m visiting with my in-laws in the foothills of the Smokey Mountains, where they have a lovely cabin on Douglas Lake. I’m soaking up the slower pace and appreciate your support of Messy Marriage while I’m away, friends. I hope you’re finding tranquil moments this summer as well! 🙂

Joining  with  Works for Me Wednesday,  Whimsical Wednesday,Wholehearted WednesdaySo Much at Home and Essential Fridays.

Now it’s time for Wedded Wednesday!
Grab our WW Button Code here!

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And don’t forget to include a link back here, because the easier people can find Wedded Wednesday, the more traffic I can send your way!

  • JosephPote

    Interestingly (and without going into too much detail), prior to marrying Sherri, I had spent a fair amount of time in various counseling sessions,much of it focused on improving communication skills, especially in regard to feelings and emotions. So I went into the marriage feeling pretty confident in that area.

    Much to my surprise, I quickly learned that Sherri doesn’t really like talking about emotions very much…except when she’s upset about something…

    Go figure!

    It’s taken a few years, but we’ve both gotten better at knowing what we each like to talk about…and we’ve also gotten more comfortable with sitting together enjoying each other’s company without much talking…

    Good post! Thank you, Beth!

  • When my husband and I were engaged we were also both living about 25 minutes walk from the college campus we attended, so every morning he’d come by my apartment and we’d walk in together.
    I have to admit while being engaged is pretty stressful, I still think fondly of those long, uninterrupted conversations we had. We haven’t kept up long conversations quite as much in marriage. In fact, when we have something important to discuss, it seems like I often have to send him an e-mail. No joke.
    It’s true that while I can count on my husband to support me when I’m feeling blue, if I want to talk about it a lot, I’m better off calling my mom.

  • bluecottonmemory

    My husband’s an administrator gift – you can take them out and they wonderful communicators – but when we go home, he needs quiet time to refill – me? I can talk and talk and talk – unless I’m in distress:) Understanding both of our needs for quiet and talk, though, has allowed both our communication needs to be filled!

  • Good reminder! We have to find a balance between good communication and forcing something that is unnatural. Thank you for hosting the link up ! Enjoy your visit!

  • Andrew Budek-Schmeisser

    I was a fairly good communicator…until I realized that my wife wasn’t really interested in what I had to say. She loves me, yes, but it became pretty clear that while she wanted me to hear her, she wasn’t thrilled by what I could offer conversationally.

    So I stopped talking, except to draw her out in describing her day and her thoughts.

    And it isn’t a bad thing, because – she was right. I really don’t have a lot to say, not things that are worth hearing.

    So I weigh my words carefully, and ask, “Do I really need to say this?” Most often, the answer is No, and I can spend more time listening.

    http://blessed-are-the-pure-of-heart.blogspot.com/2014/07/great-and-dangerous-expectations.html

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  • This is so timely. I’ve rediscovered the value of having girlfriends recently myself. For the last few years, my husband has been my “go-to” for everything, but I also started noticing the glazed look and faraway expression…lol. We definitely need female friends we can talk with. 🙂

  • I see these differences at the work place also. I teach in a Christian school & sometimes noting the opposite approaches from men & women teachers at meetings & with students either makes me frustrated or just makes me laugh! I’m your neighbor at Whimsical Wednesday. Blessings!

  • Such wisdom in this post. It brought such freedom when we both realized how differently we communicated. We can often place unrealistic expectations on one another & cause needless frustration.

  • Mary

    I smiled though out this post because what you say about conversation between a man and a woman are so true. There is definitely nothing like girlfriends to fill in the gaps. This post is timeless and I’m so glad you brought it back. Enjoy your respite in the mountains! Take some long walks for me! Hugs!

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  • This is very prevalent in most marriages. We must learn to refuse our differences in nature to become a reason for contention, rather our strengths are meant to be complimentary to each other’s weaknesses.

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