This is a continuation of How Do Men Think and from Why Pressuring Your Man to Talk NOW Can Be a Problem from last week (also check out God Understands Men and Part 3 of this series). My hope is to showcase a number of different men with different vocational/cultural backgrounds and allow them to explain the way they think and process so that wives might begin to develop an understanding for how differently men and women think. I’d like for us as wives to develop empathy with our men and for us to embrace their masculinity and work WITH them instead of against them.
It appears that men from different vocations may process issues and problems differently. I think that is so interesting. I asked our 11 year old son how he thinks, and he said, “I think in words and pictures.” It would be a fascinating study to me to watch the progression of how men learn to process and think through problems as they go from childhood through adolescence and into adulthood.
HUSBAND #1 – A LAWYER
A slightly different perspective here. I tend to process things verbally. (I guess I probably also think in words, rather than symbols or formulas, which is in contrast to one of April’s recent posts about how Respected Husband and others think.) Presumably as a result of my verbal processing approach, I’m a trial lawyer.
So it was no problem for me to have an impromptu discussion with my wife about something, even if it was important. (I agree that if it’s important it’s usually not urgent.) Discussing it with her would assist me in processing the issue and arriving at an answer. Not that these impromptu discussions never were problematic. In fact, they could easily become problematic, just not because I was uncomfortable having the discussion.
Instead, we’d have one of several other problems.
- Sometimes she wanted a definitive answer at the end of the first discussion of the issue but, while the first discussion was helpful in moving me toward an answer, there might be something that I wanted to think more about or research before I could give a definitive answer.
- Whether I arrived at an answer in the first discussion or after the additional thinking/research, it wasn’t the answer she wanted. That was definitely a problem.
- In the first discussion, I might ask some questions and she would perceive those as pushback, negativity, questioning her intelligence, or “cross-examining” her.
The worst situations were when she’d come into one of those impromptu discussions with her mind made up about what she wanted the answer to be but I disagreed. Then no amount of talking would make a difference. Logic didn’t work. Words didn’t work. My motives and intentions were suspect, my spiritual status was suspect, and any assurances or protestations to the contrary were insufficient. There were many occasions when I was the one who wanted to continue a discussion until we had reached a resolution but she would withdraw. It was actually me who was accused of trying to overwhelm her with words.
HUSBAND #2 – CHANGED CAREERS
I started as an electrical engineer, now I am a writer. When I do something like code for a web site, I do not think in words, but the more I write the more I find myself thinking in words. Words have become my primary tools, so it makes sense I use them for more and more.
When I’m working on a project I have a image of what it should look like when I’m done and a general idea of how to get there. From there I follow my general plan and improvise as needed. Where decisions for the family are involved it’s more like the movie playing out how everyone will be affected.
My wife has told me that when things involving the children come up she has a hard time not letting her emotions and fears affecting her. While I think, for a man I’m pretty emotional, I try never to make ANY important decisions when I’m upset or angry.
I also agree with the man who said he looks at all the alternatives,then chooses one-some times the least bad. Especially when dealing with older children (our youngest is 20) making the least bad choice is quite common.The thing is I’ve found how my relationship is affected with that child or person is more important than being right, as long as it doesn’t result in immediate harm to them or others.
It really depends on the situtation. As a husband I tend to visualize various scenarios in my mind and then attempt to anazlye which one is most logical or makes the most sense. At the same time I try to anticipate how my wife will react. Honestly, but not all the time, I may alter a decision based on how I know she will respond. 9 times out of 10 I am correct. I’m not bragging, I just know her after 20 years. So I visualize then analyze, then the words comes from that.