One of the biggest struggles in a marriage is communication, and much of that conflict is because men and women have very different conversation styles. One big mistake that can cause conflict is thinking that your spouse communicates the same way you do. Couples can avoid a communication mistake by changing their mindsets about differences in communication.
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Three ways to avoid a communication mistake:
- Take into account that both styles of communication are equally valid.
- Know that you shouldn’t try to change your spouse’s style of communication. Instead, adapt to the differences.
- Educate yourself about these innate differences so you can recognize them when you want to communicate something to your spouse.
The differences that God created men and women do not stop with the outward physical characteristics. Our brains are wired in very different ways, causing us to react to events in a way the other might not expect. The differences are what allow us to complement one another and act as one flesh in our marriages.
So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. Genesis 1:27
Don’t make the communication mistake of thinking your way of communicating is better than your spouse’s. Because God created these differences purposefully, we need to recognize that neither one of the communication styles is better than the other. They are both divinely created.
Instead of getting upset about the different ways your spouse communicates and reacts to events, learn to adapt to them. And if you want to adapt to them, take some time to learn more about these differences.
You can find thousands of articles on the Internet explaining the differences between men’s and women’s conversational styles, but here are just a few you should learn to identify in your spouse.
Set up some groundwork for effective communication: Read How to Pave the Way for Better Communication in Marriage.
How much we talk
Women use more words to make their point than men do. They will express more feelings. Men get to the point with a lot fewer words and rarely express emotion in their conversations. Consensus building is one of the reasons women communicate, and that takes a lot more words than men use. They just want to get to the point, so they choose first and use only a few words to explain their choice.
It’s a communication mistake to think that just because a man doesn’t talk much, that he isn’t interested in sharing with you.
Why we talk
Women often need to talk through a problem. The act of speaking helps them work their way to a solution, whereas men think through the predicament and then speak once they find the answer. Speech is a process for women and a product for men.
The primary purpose of communication for women is using it to build relationships with other people. It’s a way to express emotions and increase the level of intimacy with those that they love. Men use communication for giving information, solving problems, and showing expertise. Conversation needs a purpose, a definite outcome.
How we come off to others
Women don’t want to come off as thinking they are superior when they talk to others and use more tact. They worry more about the other person’s feelings as they communicate. Men don’t have a problem with appearing superior. They are blunt and direct because they don’t believe that you should take feedback personally.
What we talk about
Women most often talk about people, feelings, and relationships, but men talk more about tangible things like sports, money, or cars.
Men’s conversations are much more organized than women’s. They usually finish discussing one topic before they move on to another one. However, women will often change the subject in the middle of a conversation and come back to it later. This difference fits with how our brains work. Men can compartmentalize things much more easily. It’s like they have boxes in their brains for each subject. Women don’t have those boxes. They have a spaghetti-like network in their mind where every idea comes in contact with every other idea.
Important point: God created men and women differently, but all men are not the same. Not all women will speak or respond in the same way. Your spouse may have varying levels of these traits. For example, as a woman, I love talking about sports, but I’m not big on discussing every aspect of a relationship.
If this comparison of the differences in men and women’s communication styles is interesting to you, you can read even more in the book Communication in Marriage: How to Communicate with Your Spouse Without Fighting!
Most married men and women genuinely want to hear and understand their partner when they speak, but the differences in how we talk can make that difficult. Spend some time researching more about different communication styles and recognize those God-given differences. It’s a communication mistake to expect your spouse to communicate like you do, and it will frustrate you and damage your marriage.
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Are you really struggling with communication and are wondering if it’s worth the effort to continue in a marriage that doesn’t seem to be working? Maybe you know that God’s will is for you to keep your relationship together except in the worst of situations, but you’re tired of the fight.
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