Do you feel like you just can’t understand what your spouse is saying, or thinking? Do you wish that you had a decoding device to translate these mysteries? It would be nice, but even if you did have one, you may find the following to be true:
“Even if a man could understand women, he still wouldn’t believe it.” (AW Brown)
Men often joke that they will never understand women. And as true as that may be, you have to admit that men aren’t easy to figure out either.
Decoding Each Other’s Language
I (Steve) know that even after 43+ years of marriage Cindy still has a hard time decoding some of the things I say. And I certainly have problems decoding some of what she says. Now, we’d love to tell you that we’ve learned how to de-code each other’s language and we no longer have conflict. But, we can’t say that. What we can say is that we’ve both gotten better at working with our misunderstandings. And this has happened only because we’ve worked at it.
With that in mind, Cindy and I came up with a few examples of our different language codes that we’d like to share with you. While some may make you smile, we’re hoping by sharing these, can learn from them …a lot faster than we did.
MALE LANGUAGE CODE:
• When I say, “I can’t find it,” I REALLY mean: “It didn’t fall into my outstretched hands. So I’m clueless and flummoxed.”
• When I say, “It’s a guy thing,” it REALLY means: “There is no rational thought pattern connected with it, and you have no chance of making it logical. So please just accept it.”
• “Can I help with dinner?” REALLY means: “Why isn’t dinner already on the table?” (I admit that I was guilty of this in the past. But more recently I REALLY do mean it when I say, “How can I help with dinner.” I’ve learned that Cindy works just as hard—if not harder through the day. It isn’t her responsibility to make sure I’m fed every night when I get home from work.)
• If I say, “It would take too long to explain,” I REALLY mean: “I have no idea how it works.”
• Exercise has been a big topic recently, so I’ll likely say, “I’m getting more exercise lately.” However, that will likely be more accurate if interpreted: “The batteries in the remote are dead and I actually have to walk over to the TV and change the channel.”
• When I do something and I say, “What do you think?” I REALLY mean: “I’m fishing for a compliment and I hope for nothing other than that!”
FEMALE LANGUAGE CODE:
• When I say, “Nothing” when you ask me “what’s wrong?” what I REALLY mean is: “A LOT… and please keep trying to get the answer out of me—no matter how much I resist.”
• When a woman says, “The kids are driving me crazy!” what she’s really saying is: “Could you please give me a long (non-sexual) hug and tell me that you’ll take care of the kids for a while? And then tell me to go off somewhere away from the kids just to relax.”
• When I say, “Could you go with me to…” what I’m REALLY saying is: “I really, really, REALLY want you to go with me to that location. And if you say ‘Sure!’ with eagerness (and then exhibit patience along the way) you’ve given me a love gift, more than you’ll ever comprehend.”
• When I say, “The yard’s a mess…” I REALLY mean: “Please clean it without my having to ask you directly, again. I’ll be thrilled if you do.”
• When a woman tells you at any time in your marriage that she loves it when you bring her flowers what she’s REALLY saying is: “Surprise me… love me enough to bring me home flowers periodically. (If you need to secretly pencil reminders in your day-planner throughout the year to make this happen, then DO IT.)
• When I say, “Could you ask that person over there about…” what I’m REALLY saying is: “PLEASE go over there and ask that person. It’s really important to me.”
• When I say, “Could we stop for ice cream?” what I’m REALLY saying is: “I want (or need) ice cream right now —please take us to get some and YOU have some too!”
Practical Advice for Both Males AND Females:
“Don’t hint, sigh, or pout when you want something done! Usually our spouse DOESN’T have a clue about what we want, even though you think he or she should!” (Sandra Aldrich)
Be a dispenser of grace and give the benefit of the doubt —and just ASK! (More grace is given if you ask more than once.)
Solomon also offers some great advice in Proverbs (that he probably learned the hard way) about communication. Here are a few that I’ve (Steve) gleaned in my study of Proverbs:
• Let the wise listen and add to their learning, and let the discerning get guidance. (Proverbs 1:5).
• Discretion will protect you, and understanding will guard you (Proverbs 2:11).
• Though it cost all you have, get understanding (Proverbs 4:7).
• The wise in heart are called discerning, and pleasant words promote instruction (Proverbs 16:21).
• A fool finds no pleasure in understanding but delights in airing his own opinions (Proverbs 18:2).
• Do not forsake wisdom, and she will protect you; love her, and she will watch over you. Wisdom is supreme; therefore get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding. (Proverbs 4:6-7)
We hope this information will help you live with each other in respectful, considerate, Christ-honoring ways “regarding each other as more important than yourself.”
Steve and Cindy Wright
— Additionally —
Here are a few articles you can benefit from reading:
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Filed under: Marriage Messages