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Gender Conversations

Summer time seems to be the season for weddings. Isn’t it fun to watch newlywed couples with eyelashes so long they fail to see the bumps in the road they will encounter when they try to communicate with each other?

One of the first will occur when they experience what I call gender conversations.

The new bride, for instance, will learn it is not always prudent to take her husband’s words at face value. He is worthy of her adoration…but on occasion, he may be a little hesitant to blurt out the whole truth at once. It takes a wise woman to discern the difference between what her husband says and what he means on those occasions.

Let’s say, for instance, she is standing at the kitchen sink, washing dishes. Husband comes up behind wife and says, “Have you lost weight?”

A woman of experience might know that he really means, “I’m setting you up because I just spent our last $60 on a power tool.” Experience in using female radar is vital at this point.

Conversely, the wise husband knows that his wife may have hidden meanings behind her words. When a woman says to her husband, “Does this outfit make my backside look fat?” he had better do some quick thinking. It may take a few painful experiences to help him realize that sidestepping the issue can preserve domestic tranquility.

In this case, what his wife really means is, “You had better say something nice if you want a decent dinner tomorrow night.” And so his male radar signals him to respond, “You look good in anything!”

The situation becomes a little tricky when both male and female have agendas which they are trying to disguise. Here are a few of the more common:

She: I cooked your favorite meal tonight, Honey!” Translation:”I had a fender-bender today and am trying to let you down easy.”

Or this one. He: “So, how long can your mother stay when she comes next week?” Translation: “I need advance notice so I can work overtime next week.”

Here is another. She is sniffling as she prepares dinner. Husband walks up behind her and says, “What’s wrong?”

“Nothing!” she blurts. What she really means is “How could you forget the anniversary of our first date?!!”

Men with well-developed radar have learned that behind every sniffling “Nothing!” is a woman who may feel like dumping all her frustration on him.

As you can see, proper verbal communication is vital to any couple. It’s part of gender conversation. The tricky part is learning how to employ the radar. And that can take years of practice.

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