Men and women are different. When a man does something that doesn’t make sense to his wife, she thinks he’s wrong. When a woman does something that doesn’t make sense to her husband, he gives up. My goal is to change that for as many couples as possible. Solutions are usually simple, but not always easy or obvious.
As creator of A Wise Woman’s Guide to Men and Marriage. I’ve spent more than a decade teaching women what their husbands think, how they feel, and why they do the things they do. To wrap up that project, I created a 5-Day Marriage Challenge for Wives.
To learn my top 5 simple tips for upgrading your relationship with your husband, you can either watch the playlist on YouTube or download the free workbook.
Now it’s the men’s turn.
This new series is based on my forthcoming book,
A Quick Start Guide to Understanding Women: A Man’s Marriage Manual.
As a Clinical Psychologist, my specialty was the Psychology of Men and Marriage. Over my 25-year career, I mostly counseled couples.
Being a marriage therapist was a tough job.
I always began with the more anxious and talkative person. More often than not, that was the woman. As a woman, I understood where things were going sideways for her.
- His actions didn’t make sense to her, and she was hoping I’d fix him.
- However, I knew that if she really knew her husband’s heart, she would change her responses to him, and he would change as a consequence of the change in her.
For the most part, interpersonal conflict subsided relatively quickly when a woman understood her husband. But some women complained that they were working harder in couple’s therapy than their husbands were. And quite a few of them blamed me for that.
I understood how they could see it that way.
I spent a lot of time translating what a man was saying into words that his wife could understand. The guys were often surprised by my ability to put what they were thinking and feeling into words that clicked with their wives.
Sometimes, I successfully translated what a woman said into words that made sense to her husband. However, the very idea of understanding a woman was so far outside what any man perceives to be within the Realm of Possibilities that he’d just glaze over.
He’d freeze like a deer in the headlights.
It’s not that women are any harder to figure out than men are … if you have the right framework for understanding.
The fact of the matter was … the man in my office was already flooded by confusion, and I wanted to bring him into the conversation, not overwhelm him with more information.
As a result of working with me, men were happier, but remained dependent on their wives’ inconsistent ability to understand them. In a word, the men still felt powerless.
Honestly, I didn’t realize that at the time.
Years later, an amazing man I’d worked with suggested I should spend more time empowering men. I’m just now getting around to doing that. (Sorry for the delay, Jackson.) After closing my clinical practice, my brain finally has the bandwidth to create a new approach … this time A Man’s Marriage Manual.
Why didn’t I just do that before?
Well, translating from female expressive language to male receptive language is an entirely different process. It’s like a native English speaker trying to figure out adjective and adverbs in Japanese. It’s not word-for-word.
- Men and women speak different languages, choose different words, and follow dissimilar patterns.
- Furthermore, couple communication is based on complementary, but seemingly contradictory, views of what life and love are all about.
A woman wants to know what her husband is thinking and feeling because it makes her feel more connected to him.
- She uses more words to create more connection.
- She expresses emotions verbally and physically.
- She is afraid of being alone.
- She needs to feel safe.
A man just wants to know what needs to be done, but he has a hard time finding the bottom line in all his wife words.
- He avoids emotions, choosing to take action rather than talk.
- He uses fewer words simply to relay information.
- He longs for a partner in the process.
- He needs to feel productive.
Therefore, this new series, like my newest book, will focus not only on understanding the what’s and why’s of femininity, but also on the bottom-line how-to’s for men.
No, I’m not going to teach you how to be a man.
I’ve never been a man. However, I am well-qualified to teach you about your wife and how you can create a more productive partnership with her. I know The Territory and The Language, and I’m handing you The Map.
I’m a woman trained as a Clinical Psychologist, so I know The Territory well. Before you step into the Wilderness, you need a Guide who can teach you about the terrain. Your wife is different than you because of her biological makeup and her life experiences. Those differences attracted you to her and held your fascination.
Now she’s just confusing. Studying the terrain will help modify your current expectations. Instead of fear and trepidation, you will be able to move into The Territory with renewed fascination.
All along the way, I will translate female language into something that makes more sense to you. You probably won’t agree with her. Agreement is not required, nor is blind compliance. As a confident and compassionate leader, your goal is to hear her perspective and to take it into consideration as you make decisions about life. And, most importantly to communicate what direction you’re heading in a way that inspires her to follow and support you.
Maps help you stay on course, but only if you can clearly identify (a) where you are now and (b) where you want to be. Maps reveal many crossroads, decision points. If you keep making a right, you’ll go around in circles. Interestingly enough, you’ll do the same thing if you keep making a left. You’ll have to make wiser decisions if you want to get anywhere.
So The Map is a practical process for making wiser decisions.
And if you need clarification on anything, let me know along the way. Remember, I’m here to help.