Women need conversation, men do to, but usually not to the same degree as the female sex. Us women talk on average 50,000 words per day, we typically enjoy conversations at work with our coworkers, getting to know them, their life, and their problems they might be facing, but when it comes to our personal friendships and relationships, the need for conversation is at the same level if not increased. Men on average, only have around 25,000 words per day to use, and for some men, coming home after a long day at work to a wife who’s only used half her tank of words can be overwhelming. He’s already used his 25,000!
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen couples in marriages where the husband is quiet and reserved, and the wife is literally starved for conversation. I’m sure there are exceptions where the situation is reversed, communication truly is vital to any relationship, however, it is much more common to see talkative women married to quiet, reserved men.
Erma Bombeck complained about this tendency of men to get lost in televised sports while their wives hunger for companionship.
She even proposed that a new ordinance be passed which would be called “Bombeck’s Law.” According to it, a man who had watched 168,000 football games in a single season could be declared legally dead. All in favor say “Aye.”
Women typically need verbal attention, questions asked about her life, her interests, the people she’s dealing with on a day-to-day basis. Women value being with someone who is caring and concerned with what is going on in her life.
“When she perceives this kind of caring, she feels close to the person with whom she talks. In the female psyche, conversation blends with affection to help the woman feel united with the other person. She feels bonded to that person as long as the affection and conversations continue on a daily basis.”
For women who are married to men who can’t or simply won’t understand this great need in a marriage, Dr. James Dobson, (founder and President of Focus on the Family), suggests, “that you change that which can be altered, explain that which can be understood, teach that which can be learned, revise that which can be improved, resolve that which can be settled, and negotiate that which is open to compromise. Create the best marriage possible from the raw materials brought by two imperfect human beings with two distinctly unique personalities. But for all the rough edges which can never be smoothed and the faults which can never be eradicated, try to develop the best possible perspective and determine in hour mind to accept reality exactly as it is. The first principle of mental health is to accept that which cannot be changed. You could easily go to pieces over the adverse circumstances beyond your control.”
No husband is the perfect man who can meet all of our needs, just like no woman can ever truly be the perfect wife! It is important for us as women to get part of our need for conversation from other women friends and family relationships, our husbands simply cannot be everything to us, and it wouldn’t be healthy if they tried. “A good marriage is not one where perfection reigns: It is a relationship where a healthy perspective overlooks a multitude of ‘unresolvables,’” Dr. Dobson.
Practical ways to meet your needs for communication:
- Do not use conversation to manipulate each other or make demands of each other, but to ask for what you want or need with care
- Don’t ever use your conversations to punish each other – this is mental and emotional abuse and frequently it causes more lasting harm than physical abuse
- Don’t use conversation to force your spouse to agree with you, use it to open discussions where you can respect both sides of views, and therefore, show respect for your spouse
- Don’t use your time for precious conversation to go over past mistakes and mess ups. Use the time you have to talk wisely to care for each other’s feelings
- Do use conversations to talk about each other’s interests and favorite topics, even quiet people become suddenly talkative when the subject is something they are passionate about or love
- Do balance the conversation, try allowing 10 minutes for the total and dividing it into half – set the timer, you might be surprised how much your husband gets out in his 5 minutes! It’s nice sometimes to be given the freedom of having an uninterrupted amount of time.
- Do use the conversation to learn more about your spouse, people grow and change throughout the years, don’t miss the chances you have to grow with them
- Do use the conversation time to give your spouse your undivided attention – no electronics allowed 🙂
Husbands, your wife likes to talk (as if you really needed the reminder)… and wives, focus on creating the kind of marriage you want, being gentle and caring with how you implement subtle changes.
(quotes from Love for a Lifetime by Dr. James Dobson and from His Needs Her Needs by Dr. Willard Harley Jr.)