I asked some husbands about how they feel about trying to have an important discussion with their wives”on the fly.” Here is one husband’s answer.
I appreciate his willingness to share with us. As we study how men think, process, feel and see the world – my prayer is that we might have a much greater understanding for their perspective, their insights, their wisdom,that we might be able to appreciate the differences between masculinity and femininity and extend grace much more easily to our own husbands.
FROM A HUSBAND:
Yes that is very uncomfortable. If it’s a topic I already know quite alot about then I have no issues. I can talk or add my 2 cents in based on what I already know. If it’s something I know very little about and have a passing interest I’m happy to listen, but rarely will I speak up because it might make me look foolish and no guys wants to look like a fool in front of people he knows.
The hardest is when it comes to a discussion on a topic you are not ready to discuss with your spouse. You can’t just bow out of the conversation as it’s usually just the 2 of you. Depending on how critical it is to her you may not have the choice of delaying it until you can process it a little yourself.
Chances are if you are just hearing about it a guy tends to make it fairly low priority so they can figure out where to go with it, but if your wife brought it to you now with a sense of urgency she thinks it’s critical and you already know that you are going to talk this out one way or the other right now and that is a VERY SCARY place to be.
Sometimes it’s not even about being made to look like a fool, but:
- what happens if it’s important and you make the wrong decision?
- Will it be held against you even though you made the best choice you could given the details and time frame?
- Will it be the wrong decision once you get past the problem and see you were missing something key that would have led you down a different path?
I can’t speak for all men, but I know when my wife came to me with something super important that had to be discussed right now and I could tell from the start that she was very tense about it I usually went into the conversation thinking I did something wrong because there is nothing else that could be that important in life that we couldn’t work out with a little time. So I tended to start the conversation like I was already under the microscope.
I will also add that a conversation between a husband/wife is hard on the husband because the wife likes talking and he discovery from talking it out.
- The husband usually will try to pause and think about what he’s heard and formulate an opinion on the topic.
- Once he has the opinion formed then he also has to figure out what words can explain that.
- It usually leads to an awkward pause where the wife is waiting on the husband to say something and then it’s like we don’t care because we are “waiting too long” to think up an answer.
I honestly never even really thought of it this way but now that I read it in writing I can completely agree with it. If I look back to the conversations I’ve had with my wife over the past year when I wanted to talk about something – I would usually send her a text or an email or just let her know hey when you get a few minutes at some point this week I would like to have a conversation about X.
I was making sure she had time to think about it and come prepared.
On the other hand when she wanted to talk about something it was usually walking up to me and saying hey we need to talk about Y right now. Let’s go to another room. I’m not sure either is the right solution maybe there is a happier middle ground, but I think it more men and women realized that’s how each side feels and communicates and change their expectations when there is a different level of communication needed it might help solve alot of problems before they ever started.
I’d love to hear some other husbands’ thoughts on this issue.
And for the ladies – let’s do our husbands a huge favor and try to give them a few days whenever possible to think about big issues before we expect a big dialogue about things. I think we will find our husbands are much more prepared and receptive when we work with the way their brains process and think instead of putting them on the spot.
I like to just lay an issue on the table pleasantly, with a smile, say what I want and leave it with my husband – usually until he brings it up again. “Hey, Honey! I’d like to think about doing X./I want to do X.”
- I want to talk about maybe selling my car for something more fuel efficient.
- I want to give more $ to orphans/church/people in need.
- I am nervous about the things that go on in public middle schools/high schools. I want to maybe think about homeschooling.
- I want to think about adopting a baby/child.
- I want to take the kids to the Disney on Ice show this spring.
- I don’t want to increase my hours at work.
I say it casually and with a smile and friendly tone of voice – then I leave it with him and often leave the room in a friendly way to go about doing chores or whatever so that my husband doesn’t feel pressured.
I know this requires a lot of patience, and it can be really frustrating to have to wait a long time – especially if your husband doesn’t tell you when you can talk about the issue with him. But hopefully, he will agree to a future time for a discussion, or you can wait and let him bring it back up when he is ready. The more respected he feels over time, the safer he will feel to talk about difficult subjects with you – knowing you accept him and respect him and aren’t going to freak out about whatever he says, but that you want to trust him.