Communicate! Say What You Mean

When my husband and I were still newlyweds, he said or did something that really made me angry. I was fuming! Funny how today I can’t seem to remember what it was, but at that time it made me so mad, I had to walk away from the situation before I said or did something stupid. I just held my breath, did an about face, and angrily marched out of the room and up the stairs. Then, I proceeded to clean the entire upstairs. My way of letting off steam when I’m that peeved is to scrub anything and everything.

As I scrubbed each room, I made as much noise as possible, slamming toilet lids, throwing the cleaning supplies back into the caddy, banging the vacuum into everything –anything I could do to make sure he was totally aware of how angry I was. Through this process, I kept waiting for him to make his way upstairs to at least check on me, but he sat quietly downstairs watching whatever sport was on at the time. Keep in mind that this was a four bedroom house, so there was a lot to do upstairs. It took quite a while to clean the entire 2nd floor. I had it spotless.

By the time I was done, I was worn out and no longer ready to fight. However, I was still angry and now hurt by the fact that he didn’t care enough to walk up the stairs and check on me. I wasn’t expecting an apology at this point, but I would have liked him to show me he cared enough to come see what was wrong. Defeated and very thirsty, I walked back down the stairs to the kitchen. There he sat in the family room, content in his recliner with remote in hand. He turned to me with his sweet smile as if nothing was wrong and said something like “What have you been up to?”

Seriously?! You have no idea?
Well ladies, truly, he had no idea.

I’ve heard so many women complaining and saying things about their spouse such as:

  •  He should know ____(fill in the blank)_____.
  •  How could he not see that ___(fill in the blank)_____?
  •  I can’t believe he didn’t know I ___ (fill in the blank)____.
  •  Why doesn’t/does he ____(fill in the blank)_____?
  •  I wish he would just ___(fill in the blank)_____.
  •  Can’t he see____(fill in the blank)_____?

And best of all …

  •  I shouldn’t have to tell him to ___(fill in the blank)____.

Sound familiar? I would bet most, if not all of us, have had at least one of these thoughts about our spouse, fiancé or boyfriend at one time or another. Have you ever been in a situation where you feel he just doesn’t understand you? I want you to look back objectively (that’s the tricky part) at those instances and think about how you communicated your needs to your spouse.

  • Did you use a hint or innuendo thinking he would get it? (i.e. “Can you believe I’ve had this blouse for 10 years now?”)
  • Did you make an assumption that he would/should know something? ( i.e. “He should know to bring me flowers every now and then.”)
  • Did you rely solely on your body language or behavior like I did in the story I shared with you?
  • Did you rely on a past similar situation you two experienced?

Ladies, listen carefully, if you use any of the above tactics to convey your needs to your husband (boyfriend, fiancé’), he most likely won’t get it. You might get lucky and find he gets it 10-20% of the time, but for the most part, you are setting yourself up for a disappointing let- down.

Be honest with yourself. Would you “get it” if he communicated to you in that manner? We want to say “Yes”, because we’re women and have women’s intuition. We are smart, in-touch beings. Seriously, though, would we truly know what they want? We don’t realize how spoiled we are. We’re used to men asking for specifically what they want. They don’t mince words or hint around their need. They don’t expect us to read their minds or body language. They usually say exactly what they mean. We don’t have to decipher the code.

So why are we so hard on them? Is it fair to expect them to decipher our code? We all know the answer to that –No. It is simple ladies. If there is something you want your spouse to know, be specific in communicating that need. Tell him exactly what you want. It’s ok to tell him you would like flowers for no reason occasionally. Just because you asked for them, doesn’t make it any less romantic.

There are some ground rules you must follow.

  •  Pray for the Holy Spirit to take over and guide you.
  •  Ask nicely. We are all adults, let’s act like adults.
  •  Bring it up at the appropriate time. In the heat of your emotion isn’t normally a good time.
  •  Use I statements. “I feel ______when you say/do_______.”
  •  No saying things like “You only did ____ because I asked you to.”
  •  Praise your husband and show gratitude for any effort that is close to what you asked.
  •  No put downs or bad attitude if his effort is not exactly what you expected. This is most likely a communication issue.

When you are specific in communicating your needs and follow the ground rules, you will find your husband will actually get it. In turn, you get your needs met and both of you are happier. Trust me on this, my house is never really scrubbed clean anymore.

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