Solving The Marriage Communication Puzzle

 

Does it ever seem like men and women use the same words and yet speak totally different languages? Welcome to the world of marriage. You must understand that men and women speak differently…and that is OK. God actually designed it that way for a purpose. Learning to build your marriage on the foundation of God’s grace will help you become a better communicator.

Husband and wife are to be one in Jesus. Understanding this can help you navigate the sometimes-rough waters of marriage. God has made men and women different. We all know that. Truthfully, the differences are what attract us to each other. But in the same way that the differences can attract us, they can also frustrate us. They can cause friction in a marriage.

The Hebrew word describing Adam’s creation means, “to squeeze out.” I think this helps us understand how a man operates and thinks. Men came from dirt and are more comfortable being dirty, hunting, and playing football. Men are often unrefined and crude. That may explain why a man will share a foul smell with another man and laugh about it.

Men handle and express emotions differently than women. I believe God has made men tougher on the outside and less connected to their emotions on the inside. They need to be this way to protect their family. They have a God-given aggression that is useful in providing for a family. This is important for a wife to know because she will then be able to appreciate the differences in the way he communicates and expresses emotions. Just because your husband does not cry during a commercial featuring cute kittens does not mean he has no emotions. He just processes them differently than you do. 

When God created Eve he took her from Adam’s side. The Hebrew word used to describe God’s creation of woman means, “to build carefully and skillfully or to fashion her.” God seemed to take a little more time and care in creating woman. A woman, by nature of how she was created, is naturally more refined than a man. Women love to be pretty and clean. They communicate differently. They love pretty things. They are tougher on the inside than a man because they are more emotionally connected than a man. Although this is different than the way a man is made, it is equally important. Women are the emotional glue that holds the family together. They are more in touch with their emotions because they need to be in order to bring beauty into the marriage and mother their children. Women have a God-created skill set that men do not have. It is beautiful and necessary for a Jesus-centered marriage. Women are emotionally stronger, more intuitive, and softer on the outside than men. Thank God! It is a part of his design.

As a pastor, I have observed that these differences are part of what makes marriage a beautiful mystery. They help make marriage delightful. But these differences in emotional expression, communication, and instinct can also be a source of marital conflict. Many marital conflicts stem from not understanding these differences. Only when Jesus is at the center of your marriage can you navigate these differences and live in joyous union.

By trusting God’s design for us, we can celebrate the differences between husband and wife and embrace them as a part of the glorious, mysterious union. The Apostle Peter admonished husbands and wives to live together “in an understanding way.” Learning the subtle differences between how men and women communicate will go a long way in helping your communication with each other. Women tend to use many more words in a day than men. Men tend to use fewer words. Women have an innate desire for deep communication. They love details! Men, on the other hand, tend to think that their actions speak for them and they usually require fewer intimate details.

I learned this early in our marriage. Kim is a naturally outgoing person. She loves to meet people and she quickly empathizes with them. She meets total strangers and quickly discovers details about their family, children, where they are from, and things I don’t even know about some of my friends! I  played basketball with a group of men for about two years. One day Kim asked me about them and I realized that I did not even know some of their last names, much less any personal details. I knew their first names and what they did for a living. I knew who had a good jump shot and who played tough defense, but that was about it. It blew her mind that I never had any deep conversations with any of them.

I think that illustrates the difference between the way men and women communicate. She has had to learn to understand the way I communicate. She has learned to be patient with me and has extended a lot of grace to me. She understands just because I tend not to be as detailed as she is, does not mean that I don’t care. On the hand, I have had to learn to pay more attention. I have had to learn to engage in deeper and longer conversations. She needs to have more conversation than I. God mandated that I learn to understand her and love her as Christ loves the church. We have both learned to understand each other better, and as a result, our marriage is stronger. We are learning to celebrate our differences.