How to Instantly Fix 3 Big Communication Mistakes Most Couples Make
Communicating with the opposite sex can be challenging ~ especially in the heat of an argument.
To make things even more complicated men and women need different things to feel loved in their relationships.
So how are we supposed to live up to our vows of living 'Happily ever After' if we have all that working against us?
It's a mystery to many couples, and sometimes it leaves you just shaking your head - doesn't it?
How did that just upset her/him?
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So let's dig into three big communication mistakes most of us make in relationships that we have no idea we're even making! It just so happens that they also tie into how both sexes feel loved.
After each Mistake listed below I've added a Simple Solution you can implement today to find balance and harmony instantly!
~ Trust me you'll have some serious "aha" moments! ~
Who knew that when men express the need for a 'man cave."...they actually really need one to be happy.
They need to disconnect (and not talk) to think things through and find their natural balance.
For years I thought it was just an excuse to have a fancy garage where they could pin up pictures of sexy, half naked woman on the walls and basically get away from me 🙂
Image by Pixabay - Man cave
It's not a secret that men & women communicate differently...
But NOT taking the time to understand each other and what makes us tick can be a very costly mistake all on it's own.
It can also mean losing someone you love dearly..and never knowing you could have fixed it.
So whether you're reading this because you want to understand your partner better, because you're trying to save your marriage or you want to start a new relationship "in the know" then you're in the right place.
That's a lot of force working against us before we even add the daily stress from our lives, drama at work and pressure from our families.
I'm sure you've felt super confused about how your partner acts in certain situations and how arguments ensue because we haven't learned how to communicate well with each other.
Hell...we've never been taught. Have we?
This is one of the many topics I wish we'd learned in school.
Screw algebra! How about teaching us something we can actually use 🙂
Why don't they teach us how to communicate better with each other?
I think by now if you've spent any time reading my blogs, you know I'm all about self improvement and personal growth.
I haven't had the smoothest life when it comes to relationships...
WOW! The understatement of the year award goes to...Liz! lol
But rather than give up, I've found myself in pursuit of more knowledge around the topic for a long time now.
One of the most insightful books I ever read about how different men & woman are was this one...
Men Are From Mars ~ Women are from Venus by John Gray, Ph.D. It was published in 1994 but still holds true today.
Have you read it?
If you haven't - you should. It's actually quite entertaining and you'll find yourself going "Oh! So that's why"...
I remember thinking it would be a fun read ~ but wow the insight into the opposite sex blew my mind! I'd say that it's pretty amazing any of us could live happily ever after, considering how different we really are when it comes to communicating.
So let's dive in...and clear up the muddy waters for you quickly!
It will make your life so much easier and you'll both feel happier and more fulfilled in your relationship.
And remember that although... "how" the opposite sex processes the same scenario can be confusing...
The solutions to better communication are really simple ~ yeah!
We pay no attention to the fact that us girls and our men feel loved in completely different ways.
This is a general one but it's a biggie ~ we assume that if our partners really love us ~ they'll react and behave the same way we react and behave towards them when we're showing our love.
This alone can cause a lot of unnecessary conflict and friction between you.
Get a firm understanding that this is not the case at all, and that men and women have very different needs when it comes to feeling loved.
In order for a woman to feel loved ~ they're primary needs are to be understood, cared for and respected.
While men need to feel appreciated, trusted, and accepted. This allows them to feel respected, which in turn makes them feel loved.
So you can see how projecting our primary "love" needs on each other can cause problems. It just doesn't work in either direction.
Sometimes you'll just have to pause and remember that.
You can even take it a step further and learn about the 5 Love Languages.
This will help you both get a deeper understanding of what makes your partner (as an individual) feel loved.
If you've never heard of them - you should both do this quick quiz and find out. It's fast and you don't have to enter your personal info to get an email back with the results.
I found out my love language is "acts of service." No wonder I feel so good (and loved!) when my man takes something off my giant "to do" list without being asked. There's just nothing else quite like it for me!
Weird eh? lol
Check them out. Find out what yours is, but also what your partners is. It will make a huge difference for both of you and help you understand each other on a deeper level.
Men offer solutions and women offer unsolicited advice.
This is a big one too, but a little harder to explain.
So I'll give you an example of what it looks like instead.
Here's the scenario ~ you come home from work completely wrung out from your day and you're seriously pissed off at something your boss said to you.
Your mood is less than good and your spouse detects it.
Out of concern they ask the question "bad day?"
As a woman you answer YES...omg you won't believe what my boss did today and you just launch into all the gory details (every word in the order of how it went down) and how it made you feel.
You've already come to terms with how you would handle it the next day, but you can't shake off how upset and disrespected it all made you FEEL!
You need to vent to feel better.
See how many times I said the word "feel"...because that's how us girls process everything. Through our emotions first.
Hence the bad mood and possible tears as we unpack our day and unload our feelings.
A guy dealing with the exact same situation comes home in a lousy mood and wants nothing more than to be left alone in silence so he can think through the day and determine the best solution to fix the problem.
Hence the super quiet evening and 2 word grunted answers when you try to get him to talk about his day, tell you what's bothering him or help you decide what to have for dinner.
And guess what girls...his silence has nothing to do with you!
He just processes his day differently.
You questioning him and trying to get him to open up about how he's feeling will only result in a worse mood and more of a delay in finding out what's actually bothering him.
I know you're relating to this one ~ it's the cause of many an argument after a tough day.
As a woman do this for your guy:
- Stop trying to get him to talk - he's not you.
- Remember that he needs his silence as badly as you need to talk about it.
- Be your loving sweet self and go about your own business. Let him know in one short sentence that you're right there if /when he wants to share.
Try something like this:
"Baby, it looks like you had a rough day, but I know you, and you'll find a great solution to make it better. I'm right here if you want to share anything ok?"
In one sentence you made him feel ~ accepted, trusted and respected. Now he feels like you understand him and he feels loved.
You'll probably get a hug and a kiss 🙂
P.S - The sharing part could take days, but don't pressure him!
Here's the key ~ If instead you offer him unsolicited advice about talking through his problems or trying to help him in that moment will only push him further away and make him see you as critical and unloving.
In fact it can be taken as the ultimate insult and start an argument.
As a guy do this for your woman:
- Ask her if she's looking for a solution or if she just wants to vent.
- Then just let her talk and unload - it's really all she needs. Nod your head and say "oh no!"... or "ok...then what happened."
- Don't offer solutions about how she could have handled things better or what she needs to do next ~ unless she asks you to.
- Just listen please.
Here's the key ~ interrupting her to offer her a steady stream of solutions to fix her problem doesn't work. It will make her feel unloved and frustrated.
All she's looking for in that moment is understanding, companionship and intimacy. She just needs to feel that you "get" her and that you're there for her.
If you continue with solutions, you might hear something like "you never listen to me!" and the argument begins!
So just sit, make eye contact with her and listen...no solutions required.
Women need Validation and men need Approval.
Getting a firm understanding of this point can also help you avoid common and unnecessary arguments.
Unknowingly, woman tend to be indirect when sharing their feelings.
When we're upset we'll ask rhetorical questions instead of expressing our dislike or disappointment directly. This all sounds cryptic to men - they like straightforward information and directness.
That way they know where they stand and how to solve the problem at hand.
Here's an example:
He's really late getting home from work and he hasn't called.
Dinner that you so thoughtfully prepared is getting ruined and now you're worried that something bad has happened to him.
When he finally shows up you ask questions in a disapproving tone...
"How could you be so late?" or "Why didn't you call?"
You know we do it. We just don't know how it comes across to him.
I'm not saying those aren't both valid questions considering how worried you are...but in his mind that's only if you're looking for a valid reason.
Your tone of voice, or your hands on your hips will suggest otherwise.
It comes across as there is "No" acceptable reason for him to be so late.
He can't hear your feelings, so instead he interprets your disapproval. Which is very painful to him.
He feels your intrusive desire to help him be more responsible. Which quickly makes him cold, distant and defensive like you don't approve or trust him.
He might even use snappy remarks like - What's the big deal?
Or "Don't worry about it, I'm here now."
Or "Where do you think I was - don't you trust me?"
That makes you more upset because your feelings aren't being validated and the argument begins before he's home for 3 minutes.
Neither one of you understanding how that all went so wrong ...so fast!
All of that mess can be avoided, but both parties need to adjust their reactions.
Instead of expressing your concern and worry with disapproving questions - try instead to express your feelings more directly. Consciously make an effort to keep your tone of voice in check as you do it.
Guys hear that "tone" more clearly than your words. So try this instead...
"Oh there you are...I was getting worried something bad had happened!"
"It must have been a rough day for you to be this late" "Did I miss your text?"
And keep your hands off your hips - that body language alone projects superiority and should be avoided by both sexes.
He gets the message that you were worried and a bit upset ~ without feeling like you disapprove of him or don't trust him.
In turn gentleman, remember we're just worried about you and feeling a bit hurt that you didn't take a second to text us.
Give her a reassuring hug and say those two little words "I'm sorry."
"I didn't mean to worry you baby, it was a rough day. What smells so good, I'm starving?"
It doesn't mean you did anything wrong, but it validates her feelings as reasonable, and the whole situation is diffused.
See - Easy Peasy!
A much nicer way to start your evening ~ and you have to admit that's a pretty easy solution not to mention a much better way to spend your time together.
Side Note: Even saying "I'm sorry" has different meanings for men and women - did you catch that?
For us girls it means ~ I care about what you're feeling.
For guys it means ~ I did something wrong and I'm apologizing for it.
That's a big difference, and can cause further hurt feelings and unnecessary misunderstandings if you don't pay attention to that little fact.
There are many more patterns that form in male/female relationships.
This is just the tip of the iceberg.
Just these few little tweaks can make a big difference in your relationship and save a lot of misunderstandings.
Did you know that your tone of voice and your body language is 80% of communication and your words are a mere 20%. That's a whole new topic but here's a really good book about it, if you're interested in learning more about that.
So if you're serious about making improvements in your otherwise healthy relationship I encourage you again to read the book ~
Cheers to Happily Ever After ~ Liz
P.S ~ If you're concerned that your relationship is unhealthy and there is more going on than just learning to communicate properly then check out my blog...