Creating a strong marriage is hard work. A truth I was clueless about on my wedding day. Back then, I thought marriage would be fun and fabulous, like in fairy tales. As a veteran wife of 32 years, and a Marriage Coach for over 20 years, I‘ve learned these 10 things about men, in general, and my husband in particular, that have made me a better wife!
1. His efforts to ‘fix it’ are expressions of love and care.
Men like to do something. Simply listening and empathizing with us doesn’t make them feel effective or helpful. Their suggestions and strategies to solve problems is how men show their love.
2. He needs time to process and think during our conversations.
My mind works at warp speed, and I communicate for a living. My husband is a methodical thinker and a high introvert. Just imagine our conversations! Once I learned that his silence meant he was thinking and processing, and not ignoring me, I learned to stay quiet and wait, instead of adding more information, asking questions, or changing topics.
3. He tends to compartmentalize.
Picture the difference between waffles and spaghetti. Waffles have neat, individual squares. Spaghetti is a mass of intertwined and interconnected noodles. Men think and process emotions and interactions like waffles, one at a time. One morning, my husband and I had an argument, and the issue remained unresolved when he left for work. I fretted all day. Midday, I called him to chat, only to find out that the tension in our relationship wasn’t on his mind or disrupting his day at all. Our argument was in another waffle square, and would be revisited later. He was at work, mind, body, and emotions.
4. He doesn’t want to be my best girlfriend.
Girlfriends can talk for hours about every nuance, possibility, and angle of any subject. John prefers the “shorter and more succinct” version, without endless processing and discussion. Shifting my expectations and viewing him as my best “guy friend” helped lessen pressure and tension.
5. He considers sitting side by side watching sports, or doing other activities together, without any conversation, as quality time together!
This is radically different from my idea of quality time, but I am learning to lean in and enjoy this time together.
6. He rarely responds to my nagging him.
Shocker… right!? Asking him and reminding him only once or twice is more likely to work.
7. He is emotional too, but expresses it differently than me.
Recently we watched a movie together and John’s eyes teared up. He didn’t say a word, but clearly he felt moved by the storyline. I wanted to “talk about” what he was feeling, to ask what provoked his emotion. Instead, I smiled tenderly and held his hand while the movie continued.
8. He cannot read my mind.
While this would be a terrific superpower for husbands to have, the only way they know our thoughts and feelings, is if we tell them!
9. He wants to know that I respect and appreciate him.
Remembering to thank him for all the efforts he makes, on behalf of me and our family, offering words of praise, being interested in the things he wants to discuss, all communicate my respect for him.
10. He connects more through sexual intimacy than verbal/emotional intimacy.
Sex IS his way of connecting. This is the Chicken and egg question of every marriage. Wives say, “If we connected more emotionally, we would have more sex.” Husbands usually respond, “If we had sex more often, I would connect more emotionally. This is true for us, and almost every marriage I have worked with in the past 20 years. Naming this as normal has helped me understand him and connect in his way more often!
While every marriage is unique, these 10 things can apply to most because they are true about most men. Learning them has helped me be a better wife, as well as equipped me to help couples improve their marriages as well.
Apply these to better understand your man and see how your marriage improves!