Sometimes she just wants you to listen and not try and fix stuff.
Have you ever heard the age old adage than men are happiest fixing things in their tool sheds? There’s a reason for that and it’s not because of what you think. One of the core differences between men and women, and one of the biggest relationship breakers is down to the way we communicate with one another.
Men generally try to fix stuff; we are logical, we sit back and look through our problems and look at solutions to them. Women, well, they generally like to tackle problems on an emotional level rather than looking at logical solutions. Think of it in terms that men think and women feel — this is why you’ll hear a man listen to his brain over his heart, and a women listen to her heart over her brain.
The real magic is when you learn to create a synonymous relationship between both heart and mind, but that’s a story for another day.
I’ll be the first to put my hand up here and say that I fell foul to this many times. I would sit with my life and listen to the bad day that she’s had. Sometimes she’d be quite upset about what had happened with Alex at the nursery group, and I’d sit there and say to her, “maybe you can do it differently next time” and think up real solutions to the problems that she was having, and it would always perplex me when sometimes she would get mad at solutions I was suggesting to her problems.
It boiled down to the fact that she didn’t want me to fix them for her, if she did, she’d have asked me a more direct question like, “I’m having problems at the nursery, how do I fix this.” But that’s not at all what she was looking for from me, she was looking for empathy, someone to share in her struggles with her, and, perhaps (but not always) cook dinner for her that night because I’ve acknowledged she’s had a really hard day (or something to that effect).
It’s natural and normal for us men to go around hearing bad stories, or horrific situations to want to make the other person feel better. Naturally, some of us men have a tendency to want to make it better for the victim, and we do so in the only way we know how, by trying to fix it for them.
I’ve learned through my 39 years of existence that the best way to help a person overcome something is just to be there at the right moments, and be their cheerleading team at the right times. Before I learned this I was always someone that went around trying to fix everything that was unjust in this world, and it was through overcoming my overbearing addiction to curing the world of all it’s ills that I began to understand the importance of just being present with someone — and through that I learned about being present with my wife.
When you “fix” something, be it you mend a tool, or code a computer program to work better, then you are showing mastery over it, you are essentially espousing your control and dominance. And whilst all of my fixing women’s problems (especially trying with my wife) came from a very good place in my mind I can assure you, on the subconscious level I was claiming that I was better than her, I had mastery over her, or essentially I owned her — because for example when you go to a trained professional to help you sort out your life then you submit to their certainly level of mastery in life that you are unaware of.
I’ve always said that the only person you have control over in life is yourself. We don’t have control over other people but we can control how we react to other people. Often men use fixing as a way to control their surroundings. Take me when I was younger for example; I would try and fix other people’s problems because in some weird way it was how I thought people would like me. I had no idea that some people just liked me because I was just.. me. Sometimes we have to let go of that control and need to fix other people’s problems and be with them in the moment. She’ll love you more for it.
If you’re in a relationship and you find yourself listening to her complain about the bad day she’s had, or the messy home that she’s come back to, or a number of things that makes her unhappy — then just listen to what she tells you. Give her a hug, tell her to sit down whilst you do her share of the housework today, tell her you’re sorry and clean up your mess, just make her feel appreciated, and most of all listened to
It’s also natural to be on the defensive when she’s complaining about something that you’ve done. Unfortunately I’ve been on the receiving end of this too. My crux is my untidyness; I doubt this is the last time I’ll use this as an example but there are times when I can drive my wife insane about how untidy I am. In the beginning of our relationship I would palm off what she said as nonsense — because to me our house was nice and clean anyway so why would she complain? But it wasn’t all about me. It was about how I was making her feel, and when I started to listen to her then I was able to make her feel better, which in turn rocketed our relationship to new heights!
Now go forth and spread some relationship goodness