Moms, aunts, friends, books, and gossip have all been contributing culprits, sponsoring the claim that men don’t listen to women.
I recall as a child that most of the women in my family, with the exception of my mom, acted imperiously over their husbands, and I still see that behavior today.
What I find most common is the postulate that men have to be “told over and over again” what to do and that this repetition is necessary in order to get them to do it. There seems to be an inference that, somehow, they hear things differently than woman.
In the book, Men are from Mars and women are from Venus, the author, John Gray Ph.D., claims that men and women are different and basically like they are from two different planets. He suggests that they are “motivated” differently. “Men are motivated when they feel needed while women are motivated when they feel cherished.”1
Motivating or inspiring others may seem to require constant prodding, but I believe that when we women are asking something of a man, we must first check our disposition.
I am not intimating that this problem is the responsibility of women, but in this article, I prefer to address the issues of how what a woman says most definitely affects a man’s response.
At NewsHealth.com in an article by Amanda MacMillan, I read that “Men are five and a half times more likely to lose their hearing than women, according to a 2008 study from Johns Hopkins University.”2
I wonder if this is because men begin to shut off their hearing when women nag them too much!
There have been many times when I have clearly made requests to my husband and they’ve gone unnoticed and unaccomplished.
I was told by a friend that her husband was diligently working on their lawn, which had some dirt patches, and she watched him every day for about a week. He tried fertilizer, pest control products, and other such things to get those patches to grow green grass, but to no avail.
She said that he would stomp on the grass in frustration and at times verbally express displeasure at the lawn. She decided it was time to intervene.
She gently interrupted her husband’s huff and said, “Dear, you keep yelling and stomping on the grass, so I ask you, if you were the grass, would you want to come out and grow?”
I love that story, and it led me to ask myself if I would rather be a hector or a helpmate.
I had to confess that too many times I nagged and berated my spouse in order to get him moving in the direction I needed, but it was scorching the marriage. The mere stress of repeating myself along with gearing myself up from utter frustration began to wear on me as well as the relationship, so a change was needed.
As I usually turn to prayer for answers, I asked God what I needed to know about communicating with my husband and men in general. I came across this most profound suggestion in the book of Proverbs 25:11, “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a setting of silver” (ESV).
That picture was beautiful to me, and that is how I wanted to sound, so I continued in prayer about this, asking that, when I speak, I sound sincere and welcoming, and it worked!
God reworked my thoughts about my spouse and men in general, and soon my husband and I were more in alignment. I focused on speaking graciously, and he focused on listening to me. Do we get it exactly right every time? No, but we stay with it until we do.
In Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, Mary Baker Eddy writes that, “Love inspires, illumines, designates, and leads the way. Right motives give pinions to thought, and strength and freedom to speech and action.”
She is referring to divine Love in her statement. The love that God is, which breaks down all barriers of communication and sends forth a message with wings of love so that the idea takes flight and is accomplished.
How we speak, how we ask, will determine the outcome.
In John Gray’s book, Chapter 5, he explains why men and women often misunderstand each other. He proposes that it is because “the languages they speak are different.”3 I agree with that, but I also believe that when all of us, male and female, speak the language of love, every ear bends to listen.
In 1 Corinthians 13:5, Paul wrote that love “is not rude; it is not self-seeking, it is not provoked [nor overly sensitive and easily angered]; it does not take into account a wrong endured.” (AMP)
So the next time you want your man to hear you, try flavoring your words with love. I trust that it will get the job done!
ESV-English Standard Version
1 Gray, John. “Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus.” Genius. 2014. Accessed August 27, 2016. http://genius.com/John-gray-men-are-from-mars-women-are-from-venus-annotated.
2 “5 Surprising Ways Men and Women Sense Things Differently.” Health News / Tips & Trends / Celebrity Health. 2015. Accessed August 27, 2016. http://news.health.com/2015/03/26/5-surprising-ways-men-and-women-sense-things-differently/.
3 Gray, John.