Thursday, October 06, 2005

The Differences Between Men and Women - Part 1

Hubs and I went to the CPA's office recently, and the visit engendered a thought I'd like to share. We were discussing the ways in which men and women communicate and how each of those ways is received by the opposite sex.

The accountant mentioned how he talks to his wife: he's short and to the point, with no digressions and embellishments. His description of his wife's way of communicating is that she beats all around the bush before she comes to the point, and therefore, he tunes out nearly everything she says before the last sentence. This creates problems for both of them.

The accountant was describing the way in which my husband and I have communicated for the last 41 1/2 years - and probably the way which many husbands and wives interact as well. I am aware that not all men do it, but it seems to be typical of most. My husband has told me many times that he tunes out half of what I say because much of it is superfluous (to him). This is part of the reason why he claims no memory of some fact I have mentioned to him. The other part is that he seems to have very little memory for anything other than every basketball shot he has ever made. His other memories involve women and great meals he has eaten, but nothing substantial about what he has to do next week, or that we are having company tomorrow.

I know this about him; I filed it in my memory bank a long time ago. Therefore, I am constantly editing what I tell him, so that he might remember the important stuff and does not have to tune out any fluff. I do, however, have to repeat the important items all too often.

So what's your communication style? Have you noticed a difference in your spouse's way of doing it? Has it created problems in your relationship? If so, how do you handle it?


utenzi said...

Michele sent me to you, Judy.

While it's a generalization, men and women do seem to communicate in very different ways. While I'm not much for self-help books, I must admit that after a girlfriend's urging many years back I did read Men are from Mars, Women from Venus and was VERY impressed. It does a great job at outlining the difference in styles and how to keep out of trouble with the other gender. At least as much as is possible.

srp said...

Well, my ex didn't talk. If there was anything important or if something came up that he had his mind set already (which was almost everything) he would just clam up and sulk. After the divorce he suddenly wanted to call and talk about everything. That did numbers on my GI tract (turns out he is one of the causes of IBS)and most of the time he was the only one talking. Fortunately, that stopped.

As to Max. No better, no worse, and no news yet. He is always a happy dog and doesn't seem to be in pain. I gave him his Christmas toys, just in case, so he was like a kid with too many things to do at once today. I am still hoping for the best.

Angie said...

If it is something important I tell him "I need your complete attention ...". Otherwise just general chit chat and banter I have no idea how much he actually hears. I do know he doesn't remember things said if his nose is in his laptop. I have a bad habit of repeating my point to drive it home.

Jennifer said...

Lordy, this sounds so familiar, you could have been recounting a recent episode between me and mine. I've learned to take nothing for granted, that most things go in one ear and out the other. After 23 years together, we've just adapted, I guess. There is no rhyme or reason to our method of communicating. Sometimes, it's just the luck of the draw...

Yaeli said...

Isn't it interesting how different the sexes are?

Michelle sent me. :o)

metten said...

Yes, Dear. Yes, Dear. I'll take care of it Dear. Yes, Dear.

gnumoon said...

Mr. Gnu and I were both communication majors and work in communications fields, so it always amuses (and frequently annoys) us how different our styles are.

He assumes that if HE knows something, EVERYONE else knows it too, and therefore doesn't tell anyone (including me). His mom says he has always done this. Quite frustrating. ("Oh, you invited everyone over for dinner? When were you going to tell me?")

My problem is that I get into a bad mood and then take it out on him without him knowing what the charges are. Oops.

At least our backgrounds allow us to understand the differences, even if we can't "fix" them!

ps- Max the dog is male, but as long as petting and treats are abundant, we communicate just fine.

Sonia said...

Very interesting this post today! It's make me think and reflect also about the ways in which people from different countries and language communicate and how each is received by the other. Many misunderstand come from the different behavior, habit, language and so on. Really, this entry today is great!

OldHorsetailSnake said...

Back when my wife and I were both healthy, we sat down and figured out all the chores, divided them up and never discussed it again. So, when if I cooked poorly (I did all the cooking), an arched eyebrow from her would let me know. If there was a pile of undone laundry (her job), I would stare at it and say, "Um, I wonder if I have any clean T shirts left?" This form of communication served us well and saved arguments.

Kim said...

(Trying to type while being head-butted by an amorous orange cat) This is exactly how hubby and I communicate.
Not while we were dating, oh no, he hung onto every word.
Doesn't remember half of what I say but he can sure spot when a new Barbie enters my collection. And he has an internal timer that goes off when I spend money; he can sense it.

No, this no longer causes problems because I figured it out long ago and just adjusted my style to his.

Jamie Dawn said...

My hubby is a blunt, straight talker. He's not big on emotional expression.
He also jokes around and it is hard to tell when he's joking or not.
He told the kids a few months ago that he had bought all four of us burial plots at a nearby cemetery. He said the bargain of buy one get one free was just too good to pass up and he wanted to have these costs pre-paid so no one would have to worry about it later.
I just found out yesterday in conversation with my son that my son did not know his dad was joking. I later asked my daughter if she has believed what he said for these past months, and she didn't know he was joking either.
Goodness gracious!

lucylocket said...

When anything of import needs to be said, I preface it with, "Are you listening?" I guess after almost 40 years he's heard everything from me that he thinks he needs to hear.

Pirate said...

Hmmm? What were you saying? I was watching the game.

Maria said...

My husband was well trained when I married him. He was a widower with two adult daughters. He looks like a quiet, thoughtful listener during most conversations. However, I think he drifts off and doesn't pay close attention, but he hides it well. I on the hand, do tend to ramble and to think he has to have lots of background about what ever I am talking about.

vicki said...

Rich and I do well- I provide the emotional charge and he provides the calm rational approach-and we calue that in each other. And like Hoss, we set out the guidelines and understandings in advance. Our best ever was the 500.00 rule. Either one of us can spend up to 500. without consulting the other- over that and it's a discussion. We actually rarely do spend much of anything without discussing it but it creates a feeling of trust and autonomy.
So when is your birthday, Judy? You must be a Scorpio. Figures. :-) Cough it up...readers want to know.

Huw said...

Maybe you could work out a cunning way of communicating with your husband through the medium of basketball shots and great meals?

JV said...

I heard somewhere that women need something like twenty thousand words of conversation a day, and men need about ten thousand a week. So by the time both spouses get home from work, she's just getting warmed up, while he's long since maxed out.

Something else I heard: men talk to share information, while women talk to share emotions. So a man learns that every word that a woman says to him may not be "important" in that sense, and tunes some of it out. At the same time, the woman is feeling emotionally rejected because the man isn't sharing enough.

Michele says hi. I say grunt. :)

Peter said...

It's amazing how much "Marital Thrombosis"
(married a clot) there is around, far be it from me to suggest who is at fault.

Laura said...

My hub and I have very different communicative styles. He's a tad on the reserved side, and isn't likely to share his feelings willingly.
It created problems back when we were in our 20's and first married. I learned to stand my ground and not let his moods affect my better judgement. (I used to give in to keep him from getting upset, but not anymore).

He learned to go ahead and speak up even if it made me mad. In the long run, we learned how to compromise on some things.

Best advice I ever got about communication was from his grandmother, who was well used to the way the men in his family are. She told me to stand my ground, and not to make any apologies for it. LOL, she's a fiesty old lady, but her words made a big difference in my life at the time.

I had been giving in so often, I was contemplating divorce because I was so resentfull of him.
We just had a lot of maturity issues to overcome. ;) It's been 22 years now and we're fine.

Weary Hag said...

My darling is a reserved and s-l-o-w communicator. When he speaks, I listen intently because none of his words are wasted and I can bet my bottom dollar he has clearly thought them out before he utters them. Unfortunately, he pauses a lot. When we first met, I used to think he was finished with his thought and I'd interrupt a lot. Now I know to "watch" him speak. His body language speaks volumes.
Conversely, I speak quickly ... often groping around for my finish as the words spill from my mouth. We've adjusted nicely and in a sense, our communication styles compliment one another.

As a listener, Ed doesn't seem to miss a thing I say - even the throw-aways (haha, I've tested him). I, on the other hand, can become distracted easily while he's talking because he takes so darned long to complete a thought!
Operative word there is "can" ... I usually don't because I've learned to figure if he's talking at all - it must be fairly important.

Loved this post!!