I know there are men out there who want to listen harder, understand better, and put the time and focus into being the best mate they can be to the women they fall asleep next to every night.
This guide pulls together psychological research, advice gleaned from therapy sessions with my therapist, Dr. Crane, and my own experiences with my husband. All for the purpose of giving you a no-bullshit resource for communicating better with your main squeeze.
My hope is that this guide will help us all on our quest of learning how to love and understand the one we’re with. We can’t change that we’re different (and would we honestly want that?), but we can change how we navigate those differences.
Okay, gentlemen, are you ready for some communication tips you can start implementing today? Here we go:
1. Let her know that you want to understand.
We all know the stereotypes about men and women: Women are driven by emotions
and talk, talk, talk … while men are driven by logic and want to get to fix. Of course, that is a generalization but whether your lady does or not, it’s important to remember that your partner is not just any woman, she’s your woman. You don’t have to understand the entire female species, but it will take your relationship to the next level if you show her that you want to understand her.
For starters, make sure you clear your mind of distractions and really tune in when she’s pouring her heart out to you. Start asking clarifying questions like these:
• “How does __________ make you feel?”
• “What do I do for you that makes you feel most loved?”
• “What do you wish I knew about you?”
• “What can I do to help?”
You might feel silly at first, but watch her face light up when she realizes that you’re serious. Look at her when she’s talking to you. If you’re being distracted by your TV or phone, turn them off!
Sometimes it might feel like she’s talking in circles, or she brings up the same topic three nights in a row (guilty!), but remember that just because you have different communication styles does not make one better than the other!
“When a man can listen to a woman’s feelings without getting angry and frustrated, he gives her a wonderful gift. He makes it safe for her to express herself. The more she is able to express herself, the more she feels heard and understood, and the more she is able to give a man the loving trust, acceptance, appreciation, admiration, approval, and encouragement that he needs.” ― John Gray, Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus
In the end, the lady in your life simply wants to feel connected to you. She wants to know that she’s worth the effort. So next time you’re sitting across the table and find yourself tuning her out but nodding your head as if you’re listening—Take a deep breath. Lean in. Ask her to repeat herself. Ask her to clarify. Show her that you’re listening and that you want to know her more.
I can guarantee that if you make active questioning and listening a regular part of your relationship, you will see her open up to you in ways she never has before.
2. When she has an issue, let her talk it out.
Shocker alert: my husband likes to retreat to his “cave” while he’s tackling a problem (which is like every other day but who’s counting). Women often deal with conflict in the opposite way. John Gray talks about women’s reaction to stress in his book Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus:
A women under stress is not immediately concerned with finding solutions to her problems but rather seeks relief by expressing herself and being understood.
— John Gray
This difference is probably my biggest hurdle with my own husband. When a relationship issue stops me dead in my tracks, I want to talk it through now so I can feel better by processing it out loud—he, on the other hand, wants time. What usually happens is that he stonewalls me after I dive in, which just makes me hurt or angry… or both.
Patience in the midst of tension is difficult stuff. While it’s helpful for the woman in your life to work on her patience, one of the biggest gifts you can give her is to let her talk it out when she needs to… At the very least, agree to a set time when you can talk rationally so that she doesn’t feel like she’s waiting indefinitely.
3. She wants to feel worth your time.
This piggybacks off of the last one, and is crucial to cultivating intimacy in your communication. If the woman in your life doesn’t feel like you value her enough to set aside time for her, she will wither inside.
I get it—you men are the warriors of the household, focused on worrying about how to make ends meet and fulfilling your dreams of success. My hubby doesn’t usually realize when he’s withdrawn from me, so I have to ask him to snap out of it. As women, we crave uninterrupted time. I need my husband’s attention and engagement with whatever is going on in my life. I also need him to show me that he values me enough to share with me what’s going on in his.
If a woman’s communication seems negative at first, it’s because we need to vent. It’s not because we want all of our communication to center around complaining. Science tells us that women have a bigger language center in their brains than men, which means that, “Women have a greater need to vent their frustrations, their disappointments and problems”. Please, please, please don’t take our venting as criticism! It’s not! We’re simply wired to let go of stress through language.
John Gray suggests having a “Venus Talk”—a ten-minute time for women to have a chance to reduce their stress through talking—at least three times a week. This doesn’t mean men can’t have a say; it’s simply a way to acknowledge the ladies’ need to “talk it out” on a regular basis.
4. Emotional connection first, sex second.
Oh boy, here we go, right? Sex can be a hot-button topic in relationships. Love lives differ wildly, but there’s one thing that I think most women can agree on: We focus on emotional needs first, sex second. Notice I’m not saying sex never! The truth is, gentlemen, if you focus on connecting with your lady emotionally, any sex that follows will be so much better. Why? Because she will feel more relaxed, more confident, more loved. And more sexy.
Have you ever heard of the term “Habituation?” Verywell.com describes this as “a decrease in response to a stimulus after repeated presentation.” This is like when you buy that shiny new tech toy that you can’t stop looking at, or thinking about, or using. After time you become desensitized to it. It loses its allure. See where I’m going with this?
Women need to feel that they are still special to you. Still attractive to you and cherished by you. My husband and I have been together for years; and now with kids in the house, it’s even more difficult to feel cherished. I know my husband loves me, but I still crave affirmations of his attraction to me and need to not feel taken for granted.
I can live for two months on a good compliment.
This isn’t foreplay. This isn’t an affirming smack on the booty (though those can have their place!). It’s important to tend to your lady’s emotional needs with no strings attached. Will sex sometimes follow? Of course! But not every time, and that shouldn’t be the point.
Compliments are key, but there are other ways to help meet your wife or girlfriend’s emotional needs. Only you know the things that make her feel most cherished (because you had that conversation in section #1, right?). As I’ve said before, there’s nothing like intensive study on the one person you need to know how to love best: your partner.
There are many ways to make a woman feels cherished, and every woman is different. Here are some ideas to start:
- You can support the leading lady in your life by encouraging her to reduce stress and feel special through sensory stimulation, like a massage or a warm bubble bath.
- You can take walks with her because you know she loves nature.
- You can take her to a comedy club for your next date night, because you know she loves to laugh and laughing is a great stress reliever.
- You can compliment her with a love letter or a cute text.
- Sometimes her emotional needs are best met by someone else, and that’s okay too: you can encourage her to go out for a girls’ night.
The sky’s the limit here, gents! The point is this: To truly connect to the woman in your life, you have to know how to make her feel cherished.
Let’s wrap it up here.
It may feel like you have a long road ahead of you when it comes to communicating well with the woman you love. But remember why you love her in the first place. Remember what sparked that attraction, what keeps you wanting to get closer to her, and what makes you want to spend your time with her.
In the end, remember that communication with the one you love only gets better with time and effort. Navigating your communication and love language differences with respect and affirmation will work wonders in your relationship.
Sign up today for Evouq’s FREE, sensational new 6-week Intimacy Challenge. Evouq will walk you through small weekly changes you can make to feel more connected with the one you love. Don’t wait, embrace change that will make your life, and relationship, happier and more at peace.
Previously published on Evouq
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