We blame our spouse, most of the time, for the confusion. Yet, what is at the core of said confusion? Is it poor communication, lack of understanding, or… society?
Maybe it’s all of the above….
Yes, poor communication can exist in a marriage. This makes things challenging because both parties want to be heard. When your spouse speaks, they want to be understood.
Were you passively, or Actively listening?
Communication involves active listening to be effective. Yet while our spouse is speaking, most of us are thinking of our retort. We are not actively listening to understand. Most of us are trying to shift blame or defend ourselves. Not helpful when the goal is to reach a resolution.
However, poor communication isn’t always to blame. Neither are finances. It can be as simple as how we were raised. Sometimes, it is what we learned in society. Other times, confusion is based on experience, or mixed messages.
Why are we so confused?
To make my point, I will share a an illustration. Many of us can relate to this. You will probably find it humorous. Yet, if this can be skewed in its perception, what else have we been misinformed about?
Several men are standing around a water cooler. The discussion is about their spouse. One man turns and says to another, “Man, my wife is so emotional! I came home after a hard day and she’s crying! ‘What’s wrong?’, I asked. ‘Did I do something?'”
She replies, “I’m just feeling overwhelmed.”
He continues, “Where do you go with that? It just doesn’t make sense!”
The other man responds, “It’s hormones. It has to be that time of the month. All women are emotional then. Mine doesn’t cry. She yells! She tells me that I’m not picking up after myself. Or I’m not spending enough time with the kids. Then, when I try to tell her that she’s being ridiculous, she tells me that I just don’t understand! Women!”
Now all of the men are chiming in with their stories about how overly emotional their spouse is. Yet no one has a different story. Or at least one they are willing to share…
The reality, (if we take ourselves out of the equation), is…
With the first man, his wife was drained. Her day is spent schlepping the kids around. She takes them to school. Then, she goes to work. After work, she picks them up. Most days, her two kids find something to argue about in the back seat. All she really wants is silence.
They go to the grocery store, and come home. The kids don’t offer to help with the groceries. More often then not she has to carry them in. Then, she fights to get them to put it away. Chores? Homework? Well, that’s a fight, too. Her husband expects to come home to a tidy house, clean clothes, and a meal on the table. Instead, what happens? Fighting and chaos.
On this particular day, the children were not listening at all. They wouldn’t lift a finger! Worse yet, the oldest talked back to her! Feeling defeated, she sobs at the kitchen table.
Oh, and did I mention that because the kids consumed her attention, supper is ruined?
Her husband comes home. He notices she’s crying, and asks why. Expecting him to rescue her and understand, she says she’s overwhelmed. She wanted to talk about it. Instead, realizing the problem wasn’t him, he switches topics.
She becomes upset. He is not listening! She needs his ear! Instead of listening, he cuts her off and tells her what she did wrong. She storms off feeling frustrated.
He is left wondering why she left. He tried to solve the problem. She’s upset because he wouldn’t let her talk.
The Second Man…
With the second man, his wife is angry. She spends time making sure the house is nice. A lot is on her plate… She works full time as a CEO of a Fortune 500 company. Often, she works long hours, and is away from the family. When she comes home, half the chores aren’t done. So, she does them.
She expects her husband to help keep the house neat. Yet, he could care less. Discussion after discussion about dividing the work load have not availed any results. She’s tired of picking up after everyone’s mess! Time alone? You have to be kidding!
On this particular night, her husband left his clothes on the floor- just one foot away from the hamper. Wet towels littered the bathroom floor. No one did the laundry, and it was piling up. The smell of last night’s supper still pollutes the kitchen as the dishes are still in the sink. He agreed to do them, last night! What happened?
He comes home, all chipper. Meanwhile, she’s fuming! She tells him that she’s tired of picking up after him. That he takes her for granted, and that he really could help out more.
Bewildered, he tries to think about why his spouse is really so upset. It seems irrational to him to get this upset about the house. He will pick up after himself when he gets around to it. He just walked through the door… What’s the big deal?
After thinking about it, he concludes that she’s being emotional because it’s “that time of the month”. That’s when women get emotional! It must be. His spouse becomes emotional a lot. Must be those hormones. Or at least, that’s what he’s been told…
Society hammers the idea that women are a hormonal, emotional mess. If they are crying, then it’s hormones. While PMS can be real, not everything can be pained with this brush. Just because your wife is upset, does not mean that “it’s that time of the month”. Worse yet, many women use this as an excuse for bad behavior.
Meanwhile, men use this as a scapegoat to avoid communication or to shift blame. Instead of saying, “Help me understand…”, it’s easier to dismiss their spouse as irrational. It avoids accountability. It’s also a punchline for many male jokes, as well!
It’s not all about being hormonal or not that becomes the issue in our marriages. We believe many fallacies. Men don’t know how to court women. Do we act like a gentleman and risk that she might yell at us? Some women retort that they can open their own door. They dismiss the man who wants to treat them like a queen (not as a fragile creature).
Men are told that they should be more in touch with their emotions. They should be more like women. Yet, if they were more like women, wouldn’t that make them less of what makes them a man? Would you really want that?
Moreover, what about what society is teaching our kids? Are they preparing them for life?
Are we confused? You bet we are! Too many rules, confusing caveats, and lack of understanding. The author: Satan. The solution: God/The Bible.
Our October issue is a continuation of last month’s topic taken in a different direction. We talk about societal fallacies and how they impact marriages. We untangle the confusion. Learn how God designed things to function, and why.
Our next issue comes out on September 28, 2020. Don’t want to miss an issue? Please sign up to our free email subscription, or to our push notifications to receive our latest announcements. Also, please follow us on social media for the latest updates.