I am surrounded by men and have been for decades. Not only did I marry a great guy, I am the mother to three terrific, athletic sons. It was not uncommon to have my living room packed with 40 or 50 sweaty football players! In addition, I serve on several boards where I am the only skirt in a sea of suits.
Over the years, I have learned a few bits of wisdom on how to speak to males in a way they appreciate as I have traversed life surrounded by this much testosterone. When it comes to your husband, you just might find these tips to be the key to better communication.
Cover One Thing At A Time
Testosterone makes your husband different than you in several ways. When he was in the womb, he was immersed in a testosterone bath, and some of the connections between the two brain hemispheres were severed. As a result, when a man processes life, solves a problem or is talking with you, he is using one side of his brain at a time. Social scientists call this “compartmentalizing.”
In our marriage, we call it life lived one “box” at a time. The way men process is they put ONE issue in ONE box and deal with life ONE box at a time. This means men like it when we stay on one subject at a time. Stay in his box. When he brings up a subject to talk about, stay on that topic.
Sum Things Up
If you want to avoid getting that glazed over look in his eyes which indicates he has tuned you out, summarize, abbreviate and compress. “Cliff note” the conversation into bullet points, and give him some idea how long the conversation may take.
Your husband is looking for content (Is there a problem to solve? A task to do?), while your goal in conversation is likely for emotional connection. Guys do want emotional connections, but they like to move to that box. They like to be prepared for those deeper level conversations. Chasing him from room to room trying to get an answer or make some kind of an emotional connection will more likely result in him getting frustrated or angry. Instead, say something like, “I have a couple things I would love to run by you. I think it will take 15- 20 minutes. When would be a good time for you to do that?”
Give Him Space To Relax
Some of the boxes in a man’s brain are blank. Empty. Zip. Zilch. Guys like to park in these blank boxes. It helps them recharge.
So, when you ask, “What are you thinking?” and your husband replies “Nothing,” he really is thinking nothing! Even if your brain is always churning, accept the fact that his brain has the amazing ability to push pause every once in a while, and give him space to enjoy that relaxing time.
Test out these tips in your marriage to see if you can communicate better with your husband. And if you’re a husband trying to connect with your wife, be sure to check out our tips to “Speak Her Language.”
You may also be interested in 3 Ways A Husband & Wife Can Sharpen One Another