The concept of ‘mirroring’ is really helpful– Dennis Rainey shows a glimpse of one way to do it [and why it works for women]. I would also encourage wives to do the same behavior with their husbands, as it can lead to more successful communication for all parties who make use of it as a tool.
1 Peter 3:7
You husbands likewise, live with your wives in an understanding way.
There is this maddening part of being a man. When Barbara comes to me with a problem, my mind immediately shifts into a “fix it” mode. I wanted to solve the problem, you know, get to the bottom line! But often, the most important thing our wives need is to know we hear them and we care.
The other day Barbara came to me discouraged because our lives had been incredibly busy, and she hadn’t been at home as much as she wanted. She was so busy going to ministry, church, school activities and driving kids to different functions that she hadn’t been able to clean the house.
And guess how I handled it? First I took it personally. I said, “Well, I help around the house a lot.” But she wasn’t accusing me of not helping-she was just sharing a burden she felt.
Then, typically, I came up with a solution. That night, I declared, the entire family would participate in a “Clean Up the House” campaign. And once again I missed the real issue-how she felt. It took a few moments for me to understand that what she needed was for me to just listen and understand her.
So I dug myself out of the hole I’d fallen into and told Barbara I was sorry I had missed her clues, that I didn’t hear what she needed. I began to move toward her with the understanding and compassion she needed in the first place.
Want some advice? When your wife approaches you with a problem, repeat back to her what you think she said and ask her to confirm it. For example, I could have said to Barbara, “It sounds to me like you’re discouraged because you feel like you’ve been busy. And the kids and I have allowed the house to get to where it looks like a small volcano has gone off. Is that right?”
Believe it or not, men, often that’s all a wife needs-an understanding husband. Resist the urge to fix it immediately.
That God will give you the ability to live with your wife in an “understanding way.” Ask Him to help you communicate this to your wife.
Ask your wife if this is what she generally needs in the above situation.
Thank you for this lesson and reminder in how to communicate with others, and how to value what they’re saying without first jumping to action.