3 Steps To Really Understand Your Wife
If you really want to understand your wife better than you do now- or if you want your husband to better understand you than the way he does now- there are three steps that men need to take.
To start, there’s a difference in the way that men and women think in general. Now, it can get more complicated because the way people think, react, or feel also depends not just on gender, but on different personality types… and all those kinds of things. But that becomes too complicated for what we can discuss here.
Now, a word of caution here, ladies. If you think, “I’m going to teach him these things afterward, so I’m going to jot them down.” While it’s a noble idea, it may not be the best way to do it. It may be better that when you find this video and article, that you refer him back to that.
It’s likely you’ve had that experience where you’ve told him something over, and over, and over again… and then he hears it from somebody else, and he looks at you and goes, “Wow, that’s brilliant! I wish we’d thought of that before.”
…and you’re thinking, “I told you that a thousand times, and you never heard it.” to which he replies, “No, I never heard you say it once.” Sometimes, people just hear things better from other people. Now we can get into the psychology of that, but we don’t have time today.
1. Notice What She’s Doing To Know What She’s Thinking or Feeling
So what are the three things? Gentlemen, if you really want to understand your wife, you must be attuned to what she’s doing that can indicate what she’s thinking or feeling.
Now don’t misunderstand- I’m not indicating here that you have to spend ALL of your life all the time watching your wife, or trying to figure out what’s happening next. That would be miserable for both of you. But instead, be attuned enough that you can see signs. And often these signs are very obvious.
For example, if she’s very talkative, and then all of a sudden, she’s very quiet… something’s going on.
Or, just the opposite. If she’s been very quiet, but now she’s talking a lot about something, but it doesn’t really make sense to you what she’s talking about (or why she’s so interested in it)… something’s going on.
In other words, you’re looking for something that’s different than normal. And when you see that, begin to be aware of the fact that- wait a minute… something’s going on here that’s different. Something has changed.
“You’re looking for something that’s different than normal.”
It doesn’t necessarily mean this is a terrible thing. (It could actually be a good thing!) But be attuned enough to know that something has changed.
2. Make It Convenient For Her To Tell You What It Is
The second part is when you see that something has changed, try your best to understand it without aggravating her in the process.
You say, what do you mean? Perhaps on occasion, you’ve seen your wife upset about something. And so you ask, “What’s the matter?” And she looks at you and says, “nothing.”
If you’re anything like me… on occasions, my wife has done that when I’ve done this. I’ve persisted, saying:
“Now I can see that something’s the matter. Why don’t you go ahead tell me what’s the matter so we can deal with it now. Because if you don’t, we’re going to end up arguing over it for three hours. And then you’re going to tell me. So just tell me now to avoid the argument!”
What I just said is NOT smart. (I know that because I’ve done it!) It just isn’t smart.
Now, obviously, if you’re going to ask a question and she answers, that’s really good. If she’ll answer the question, then ask the question. It’s that simple. Just ask.
If She’s Not Ready To Talk, Don’t Push
If she doesn’t answer the question, then realize that it’s not something she’s ready to get into right now. Let her know you’re willing to understand and listen at your first available opportunity. That’s comfortable for her.
And so if you say, “Hmm, I can see something’s a matter. What is it?” And she says nothing. Then don’t push. Just say, “Well, it appears to me that something’s wrong, but it appears also to me, that you’re not ready to talk about it right now. I’d like to know, I’d like to do whatever I can to help to assist. So whenever you’re ready to tell me I’m here.”
But When She’s Ready To Talk, Make Sure You’re Available
And if you do that, gentlemen, then don’t make yourselves unavailable. Nope. Don’t then go outside to cut the grass at that moment. Don’t decide to go visit a buddy at that moment. If you’re making that offer, then stay around until such time until she’s really to explain to you.
And so the first step is you must notice that something’s different. The second step is, make it convenient for her to tell you what it is. And it might take a little while women differ on this.
3. Avoid Trying To “Solve” Her Problem
The third thing is, if you finally understand what’s going on, do not try to do for her something she doesn’t want you to do.
In other words, once you understand what she’s looking for, whatever need she has, don’t think in terms of what you think you need to give her or do for her. Think in terms of what is it she needs right now.
“Don’t think in terms of what you think you’d need to give her or do for her. Think in terms of what is it she needs right now.”
Here’s a classic example of this. Let’s say your wife comes home from the grocery store. She’s really upset because the checkout lady was rude to her in some fashion. Now the typical husband response is, “Well, now this is what you should have done.” But that’s not the right answer because it’s not understanding her need. Another typical husband response is, “I’ll tell you what I’ll do. I’ll just drive down there right now and fix this.” But that’s not what she’s needing either.
Instead, Be Empathetic & Be On Her Side
If you pay attention and understand her pain, the first thing you always do is get on her side of the table. Saying something like, “Wow. That’s terrible. I’m so sorry that you experienced that pain. I’m here for you. Is there anything that you would like me to do to help you?”
And probably, in a situation like I’ve just described, she’s going to say “No. I just want you to understand.” And that’s what it is. She just wants you to be empathetic.
She wants you to be on her side. A good response could be something like, “I’m with you. She should have never treated you that way.” If that’s all she needs then that’s all you give. Don’t try to step over and become her dad, her mentor, or her bodyguard when she doesn’t need one. Do become the person who listens.
I realize I went through these three steps really quickly, but make sure you heard them. Number one, be attuned enough to your wife to know when something is different. Number two, when you see that something is different, gently, without pushing, try to find out what it is. Rather than guessing, you really need her to tell, but don’t push her to tell you when she’s not ready. Just let her know that you’re there and ready to hear whenever she’s ready to talk. And number three, when you do finally understand it, don’t go into “fix it” mode. Don’t go into “rescue” mode. Rather than trying to fix it, very carefully, understand what she needs from you. If all she needs is an empathetic response like, “I’m so sorry. I can’t believe that happened.”
Then that’s all you give her. If she wants more, then you do more. Remember, these three steps will really help you understand your wife better.
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Dr. Joe Beam: Our CEO, Kimberly Holmes, is here with me. Kimberly, you were joking, before we went on-air, about the three steps that you would be giving husbands. So let’s just go ahead and say what those are.
Kimberly Holmes: I did. So the first one I said would be listen, which goes right along with that last one that you were saying, which is, we’re not always looking for the “fix it,” or the answer. We really do, a lot of the time, just want to hear the empathy of it, right? We want you to just empathize with us, not try and step in and fix it.
Kimberly Holmes: The second one is stop getting man colds, just stop.
Dr. Joe Beam: Haha.
Kimberly Holmes: Haha, can’t handle it. I saw a candle. My husband and I were in Asheville this weekend. And I saw this candle and the scent was “man cold.” And it said that it was “infused with helplessness.” And I thought, this is what women everywhere need, especially during the winter months.
Dr. Joe Beam: Are you saying that men don’t handle minor illnesses very well?
Kimberly Holmes: Oh my goodness. You’re citing death wishes and wills at the sniffles. It’s ridiculous-
Dr. Joe Beam: Not just because of the fact that your husband, Rob, reacts that way, but that’s going to be generically applied to all men? Well, there are a few memes about it.
Kimberly Holmes: Haha so many memes, you know, it’s true. And the third one I said is try and live a day in her shoes. Since we’re talking about understanding your wife, I think for Rob to really understand what goes through my mind, the things I’m feeling… if he would live in, of course, this is impossible, but if he could live one day in my shoes and see what it’s like. To see the things that I deal with, the way that I process it from my past and my perspective, it would add a whole new level of understanding and vice versa. If I were able to switch bodies with him for a day, it would be amazing. But we can’t do that.
Kimberly Holmes: But the things you were just talking about help us to be able to understand that there’s a past in a way that people filter things. Things that “trigger them,” so to say, from hurts that they’ve experienced in the past. Things that make them more vulnerable to things, hurting them more.
Kimberly Holmes: Now, I mean, all of these play into when something goes wrong (or when things are going right). You really understand what’s happening. So there’s so much we could dive into with that. We’re just scratching the surface.
Dr. Joe Beam: This falls under the general heading of what’s called emotional intelligence. We’re not going to get into here because it gets pretty complicated, but emotional intelligence starts with you. First of all, understanding our emotions. Because if I’m not attuned to my own emotions, if I’m just blowing them off, ignoring them, not paying attention to them, then it’s highly unlikely I’m going to pay attention her emotions and the way she reacts to things. So it’s a much more complicated subject than what we’re discussing here.
Dr. Joe Beam: But these three points we made are applicable. They’re valid and they work if you choose to use them now. They’re not always easy. Really, as simple as they sound, they’re not always easy because sometimes your emotions are involved. Her emotions were involved, but if you learn to think and do like this, life is better.
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