Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Dear Men, You Shouldn't Be Expected To Read Your Wife's Mind

Dear Men,

Your wife should not expect you to read her mind.  

Have you ever experienced either of these situations?

1.  Your wife is crying.  You're not entirely sure why.  Maybe it's work, maybe it's kids, maybe it's the house, maybe it's PMS.   She's being choppy and unintelligible with her explanation in between her tears.   You honestly don't know what to do to help or make her feel better.  Does she just need you to hold her?  Does she need a bit of alone time without you?  Does she need to go take a bubble bath or go for a jog?   There's no telling.

2.  It's chore time, house cleaning mode is switched on for everyone in the household and your wife is the fearless leader of the charge.  You look around the house and it honestly doesn't look all that bad to you.  You aren't really sure what to tackle because nothing looks all that dirty.

The short answers to each of these situations, in my opinion, are:

1. Ask.

2. Ask.

Now here are my long answers:

1.  Women cry.  For a lot of reasons or no reason at all.  Please accept this and respect it, rather than just blowing it off as dumb or whimpy.   But it is not fair for us to blow up at you if you don't know what is wrong or how to make us feel better.    Not being able to read your wife's mind does not make you a bad husband.  It makes you, um, human.   There have been many times when I have been upset and Trent has gently said to me "I'm not sure what to do to make you feel better.  How can I help?"  This should be a direct, caring invitation for your wife to share with you what is going on with her, and how you can help, or if you can't really and it just needs to run its course.   I personally love and respect these inquiries from my husband.  It shows that he realizes a hug and a kiss on the forehead might not be the answer, or it might be exactly what I need, but he is unsure and so...he asks.    Do you ask?  Or do you just go for the kiss on the forehead and hope it covers all the bases?

2.  Admit it, some of you men can be pretty messy.  Sometimes your definition of "clean" does not match up to your wife's definition.  Hopefully your wife understands this and doesn't blow it off as dumb or insensitive.  So you're standing in your living room during chore time and look around and honestly have no clue what to work on.  This was a new one for us a few weeks ago when we were doing some cleaning to get ready for Sunny to move in.  Trent calmly and sincerely told me "I really am not sure what I need to do.  The house looks pretty good to me."  My initial reaction was a blip of anger.  How could he not see what we needed to work on?!  But then I realized, he doesn't have the eye for dusty bookshelves or splotchy mirrors like I do.   I appreciated that he told me he was not sure where to start instead of just poking around and not accomplishing much of anything.

Ladies, I sincerely challenge you, from the bottom of my heart, not to blow up at your husband if he can't read your mind.  Newsflash: that capability does not exist.   It is not possible.  So please don't expect it of him.   If he asks questions to better understand what is on your mind or what he can do, please don't view that as a failure in knowing you.  Please view it as his desire to know you better.

Men, I challenge you to just ask.  Give it a try.   I am not telling you to spout off "I can't read your mind ya know" to your wife.  Ask calmly, gently, even humbly.  Show her that you care about what she needs and want to learn how to best meet those needs.

A wife who respects her husband for simply asking

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