Despite what the media wants to tell you these days there are big differences between men and women. Not just physically, physiologically and biologically; no, it is much more complicated than that. We think differently, we experience emotion differently and we have very different perspectives. To make things worse we communicate in very different ways so there is a lot of confusion about all of the above when we try to work through it all. This is why the counselling industry is so busy and why there are thousands of books on the subject of relationships. Despite mankind’s existence on this beautiful rock we call home for thousands of years, men and women are still an incredible and wonderful mystery to each other. It is actually amazing. We can go to space and talk to someone across the world. We can build skyscrapers that dwell in the clouds and jump on a plane and be anywhere in the world in 30 hours or less, but we still get twisted when it comes to the opposite sex of our species. Let’s get into it.
1. He goes to work no matter how much he hates his job.
Men have an instinctual need to provide for the people they love, not to mention a lot of us were taught as much growing up. No matter how badly he hates his job he will work countless hours at it to provide a paycheck and pay the bills. This is why men statistically list finances as one of their biggest stress factors and being jobless takes a bigger toll on men. Our self-value is tied directly to being able to provide because it is our responsibility (read Love, because that is where responsibility ties in for men) to provide.
She wants to have a real conversation with you.
Women are great communicators except they don’t like to tell you exactly what they want to say (weird right). Women believe that if you really love them that you should understand what they are expressing without having to come right out with it. It makes them feel loved when you can connect the dots, because you are obviously in sync with them. She also wants to have real conversations at the worst possible time for you, this is not to annoy you (despite what you may think) it is because women want to feel like they are more important than whatever else you may be dealing with and this is a subconscious check-in with that.
(I noticed as I was writing. See the difference, I used the term “feel” with how women are expressing. Not with men, because we don’t “feel” in the same way women do.)
Take away for both:
So when we come in exhausted and, ladies you are frustrated that we don’t engage socially, we are tired. We just spent 8 to 12 or more hours saying we love you the best way we know how. We “feel” (just for you ladies so we are speaking the same language) disrespected that you don’t understand we are tired and want to force us to engage verbally. When we are tired our verbal skills deteriorate as you well know. (wink, wink, nod, nod) We do want to engage with you, but when we can actually engage with you. Try this: for a 15 to 30 minute cooling off period after work, let him get a cup of coffee or whatever and take his shoes off and relax. Men, if she gives you this then you need to make sure relaxing doesn’t mean checking out. After an initial agreed upon cool down, purposefully engage with your wife so she knows how much you love her in her own style of communication. She wants to hear about your day and tell you about hers because this sharing speaks volumes of love.
2. He needs to touch you, and be annoying.
This is generally a love/hate relationship for men and women, a lot of women love the touch and hate the annoyance. The truth is men never fully grow out of the adolescent instinct to pick on and tease the girl we are into. Kindergarten is not the end of this, or ever. While it is annoying, please understand that if we are doing this it is our version of being playful and is best responded to by playing back. Like your urge to talk to us at inconvenient times, this is our need to have your attention in a silly, lighthearted way. Seriously, this means we are deeply into you still. Add this to our need to touch you in some way, we know you wish it wasn’t touching you in an annoying way and it isn’t always. We just want to touch you, it is a territorial thing (we are also still blown away with the fact that we are permitted to touch you period, especially in places other people can’t. We will be into your breast and butt forever, never gets old for us, especially because no one else gets to.) It does not always have to be sexual, but contact, particularly skin to skin contact denotes intimacy to us.
She wants to be touched by you!
Just not in all the annoying and frequently inappropriate times. Women tend to love physical contact as much if not more than men; with that said, there is a caveat. Women want the touching to be meaningful to them and have a specific intent. Random touches are not the same to them as touching with meaning. Some women (NOT ALL) actually approve of a little pat on the backside in public (situational, probably not at church or a school meeting, women see these differently than out for dinner, drinks or in larger public spaces. See “inappropriate” times comment.) because in the proper situation they might be fine with you “claiming” them as yours. In places where there are other women on the prowl or men, it may be ok (or not) as that touch has a purpose and meaning. Please verify this with your spouse before trying it and blaming my article. Women are not big into random touches, they want a purpose which is why sometimes they read more into a touch than you do.
Take away for both:
He is screaming his affection out to you when acting slightly childish and annoying, so engage with him in this. Pick back, start a tickle fight, a pillow fight or anything else slightly childish between you guys. It might very likely end up in some unique foreplay where you guys are scrambling for your bedroom. He is open, in a good mood and craving your attention so give it to him and it will payoff for you both. Men, tone it down a hair and realize that whenever you touch her she is reading much more than a slight touch. Communicate your intent with your touch, but also you may need to communicate it more verbally as well. No one wants to get their engine revved up to sit and idle, so make sure she know you just want to be close or just need the contact for comfort (we do that).
3. He tries to Fix it
This one is easy for us because we instinctively want to build and fix things, we just need to find the things we want to work on. We prioritize fixing things that cause problems because they are not fixed. That is why some of those honey do’s don’t get much attention from us. Men fix things that disrupt the flow of our ecosystem. For example, if you tell us the leaves need to be raked up but we are not big lawn and garden type of guys then our response is meh. I hate lawn work and the leaves are fine where they are, not hurting anything or screwing up our daily life. Toilet broke? We part heaven and earth trying to fix it because that impacts life. So when you care enough about an issue to complain to us about something that is bothering you or is a problem for you; we need to fix it. You are our life, you being discombobulated in any way has a devastating impact on the ebb and flow of our entire world so we want to fix the problem. When you are happy and at peace then everything is great, so we make fixing any issues you are having our priority, because of the old adage of “Unhappy wife, unhappy life.”
She wants you to listen, not solve.
This has taken me years and I have mentioned it before so I won’t take a lot of space. I still have to ask sometimes because guys, this goes against every instinct. 90% of the time when your wife just starts unloading about problems no matter the cause; work, a friend, social stuff, school stuff, she really just wants to get it off her chest and have you listen. You, on the other hand, are trying to come up with solutions as she carries on, which is why you start to look distant. Then she thinks you aren’t listening and gets frustrated. Let’s not even go with what happens when you try to offer a solution out loud. She wants you to hear and be sympathetic where appropriate to show that you are listening and engage. Go back to point 1.
Take away for both:
Ladies, you have to help us here, we are trying to override eons of instinct. We want to fix anything that is distressing you that much, because that is what we hear and see in this interaction. Someone or something has got you upset enough to need to vent. We don’t do that, so it must be a big problem that needs solving for you to need to do so. Make it clear to us that you just need to tell someone about it. Guys, be proactive and ask if needed; my wife used to hate when I asked, but over time I have not had to ask as often because I have learned through practice to look for other signs of needing to fix or listen. My wife has also done her part and if she see my face start to go into “solve” mode then she will point out that she is just telling me. A simple statement helps, “So I understand, am I listening or solving?” Then move forward with the conversation.
4. We just go along with whatever you suggest
We are men, if we really have an opinion or disagree you will know. We are happy most of the time to do whatever you want. In our view, it is one of the ways we imply our love. The mentality is something to the effect of, I don’t care what we do as long as it makes you happy. To us we are being thoughtful by letting you chose what we you want to do, eat or be a part of. Most of that is not a big deal to us, so since it is not an issue for us it is an easy way to express our affection because we know you care about it more than we do.
She wants you to engage
Your act of selflessness comes across more like laziness or indifference. Let’s be fair, sometimes it is a little bit of indifference. For her she is hearing that she is not important enough for you to engage in the discussion. (Let me point it out one more time, women like to communicate.) Women want you to care about the “little” things enough to be involved; this is because they are not little things to them. Little things are the early warning signs of big things, so by not engaging there it translates to not caring enough to engage with her.
Take away for both:
This one gets a lot of people in trouble because it is so common of an issue and we speak such different languages in this scenario. You have got to find a middle ground. Men have a hierarchical method of thinking and prioritizing. Think back to point 3, if it is not impacting our world it becomes low on the list. We instinctively assess the situation, place a value on it, and then it gets sorted to its appropriate priority. We also want to make you happy because you actually have an opinion on whatever it is and there is a good chance it is low enough on the hierarchical order in our brain that we actually do not. Guys, we need to try to engage in the conversation a little more, because she does not think it is as little as you do. Zone in and actually discuss whatever she is bringing up. Likewise ladies, pick and choose your battles. If it really is insignificant when put in perspective then you may not want to spin our wheels on it. You will know if we object. If you really want us to engage because it does have value in your eyes. Try this, change the way you present the thought. If it has significance or value to you then present it in that way, remember we want to fix things. Try a phrase like this, “Honey, I really want to go out to dinner tonight, I had a long day” or “I just don’t feel like spending all that time in the kitchen and I would rather hang out with you. But I can’t decide where we should go to make that happen.” You stated a desire, that it would be distressing for you otherwise, a desire to spend time with us and a problem for us to solve. He will start reaching for the keys, just ask my wife. It is the ultimate format for a quick response from us as men.
5. We are here.
This one sounds too easy, but it is a simple truth. With all the places we could be, or people we could be with, we choose to be here. If a man doesn’t love you, he simply won’t be there. If he does, you are where he will choose to be. Men are territorial, if we are with you it is because that is where we want to be. I am not saying we would be off with someone or somewhere better if we were not with you, we would just be somewhere else. If we are with you it is where we want to be.
She wants some affirmation.
While men understand the above concept women want more affirmation of your feelings toward them. I remember an old movie when I was younger, the conversation went something like this. She said “Do you still love me at all? You never tell me so?” He said “I told you I loved you when I married you didn’t I? I will let you know if I change my mind.” That probably was not accurate word for word; but guys, sometimes we act just like this. She wants to hear words, see little gestures and feel loved (that “feel” word again).
Take away for both:
Gain a sense of security, because we really would not be there if we didn’t want to be. That is us staking our claim, every day. I know you want more but at least recognize that if he is still there then he loves you. Even if things have gotten rough in your relationship, if he is still there then there is still hope for you guys to fight back. Guys, you are not the Duke or any other silver screen character, it’s not the 30’s or 50’s even. While it is tough for some of us to verbalize our emotions or thoughts you need to engage more. If you have gotten comfortable in your relationship and have stopped “trying” to win her affections, shame on all of us then. She is more worthy of the effort now than when you first tried so put some effort into it.
Thanks for spending the time with me.
Be better tomorrow because of what you do today!