Are Men and Women from Different Planets? (3)

Susan Broadwell

Communication Between Men and Women :: Part 3

If we can understand how each other is different and how each other ticks—it can make male/female relationships run more smoothly and result in less conflict.

Last month I addressed the first of five ways men and women are different. That difference is how men and women think and process life differently.

This month I will address the second difference in the way men and women think and communicate. That difference is what I call “Men tend to be Mr. Fix-it and women tend to be Ms. Home Improvement.”

The most frequently expressed complaint women have about men is that men don’t listen. Either a man completely ignores her when she speaks to him or he listens for a few beats, assesses what is bothering her, and then proudly puts on his Mr. Fix-it cap and offers her a solution to make her feel better.

However, he usually is confused when a woman doesn’t appreciate this gesture of love and she tells him that he’s not listening to her. No matter how many times she tells him that he’s not listening, he doesn’t get it and keeps doing the same thing. She wants empathy but he thinks she wants solutions.

The most frequently expressed complaint men have about women is that women are always trying to change them. When a woman loves a man, she feels responsible to assist him in growing. She tries to help him improve the way he looks and the way he does things. She forms a “home-improvement committee,” and he becomes her primary focus. No matter how much he resists her help, she persists, waiting for any opportunity to help him or tell him what to do. She thinks she is nurturing him, while he feels he’s being controlled. Instead he wants her acceptance.

For example—when I was dating Dave, there were some clothing choices he made that I would not have chosen personally. I didn’t realize it, but I thought deep down inside “When I get married I will help him dress better and get rid of some of the ‘tacky’ clothes.” Well, he was not open to this idea. It was quite a topic of conflict. I was just trying to help him look better and he took it as I was controlling his life.

So what we find out when Mr. Fix-it and Ms. Home Improvement start dating or get married is that there is going to be conflict and these two will find it hard to communicate and mesh together.

Men will begin to offer solutions for every problem and women will continue to get frustrated. Women will seek out areas to improve and men will get annoyed by her controlling behavior. So what happens? Sparks fly!

Take some time this month to try to understand why men and women are like this and it will help and greatly improve communications between the sexes. Next month I will talk more about why men and women act this way and how to understand and improve communication even with our differences.

Susan Broadwell has been on staff with Campus Crusade for Christ for 15 years at Virgina Tech. She has been married to her wonderful husband, Dave, for 14 years and is a mom of three children. There are two girls, an eight and five-year-old and a son who is four and a half-months-old.

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