Today we are diving into the first of the responses from the “Men and Openness” survey. The first question I posed to men was: What makes opening up and disclosing your feelings to your wife difficult?
Here are the results …
65.52% – I am afraid my wife will become upset by my disclosures.
53.45% – I don’t know how to articulate my feelings.
20.69% – I’m afraid that if I talk about my feelings, it will open up old wounds and overwhelm me.
18.97% – I don’t know what my feelings are.
5.17% – I’d rather stick to the facts because my feelings don’t really matter.
Below is a sampling from some of the men who offered specific responses to this question …
“She stores them up and uses them against me”
“She doesn’t understand my feelings”
“She doesn’t respond in a way that makes me feel comfortable when I share …”
“I’m afraid I will hurt my wife if I disclose my feelings.”
It was clear to me from the men’s responses that many of them have been “burned” one too many times in the past by their wives whenever they’ve tried to open up and talk about their feelings. 😦
That makes me say, …
No wonder men have a problem with being open! Find out why I say that at MM[bctt tweet=”No wonder men have a problem with being open! Find out why I say that at MM! #menandopenness #communication #marriage” username=”BethSteffaniak”]#menandopenness #communication #marriage
I think that we, women (myself included), need to use this as a huge challenge to improve the way we LISTEN to our spouses.
I don’t think this is just a problem that wives have, to be sure. However, God does throw down the gauntlet to each one of us in Proverbs 20:5,
“The purposes of a person’s heart are deep waters, but one who has insight draws them out.“
So I challenge each wife out there to join with me to …
[bctt tweet=”Be a wife who takes up the gauntlet to be a Proverbs 20:5 wife so you can connect with your husband and draw him out! #listen #forhim” username=”BethSteffaniak”]
Now, based upon the fact that the first and most popular answer was “I am afraid my wife will become upset by my disclosures,” I’d like to explore what it would take to avoid and change this for wives.
What I hear from that statement is that as a wife I need to …
Work on being mentally and emotionally prepared to hear my husband’s truthful feelings.
This means I probably need some advanced warning before my husband shares frankly. In fact, I think if he is sharing in the “heat of the moment,” then his feelings are probably heightened too and could use a bit of cool down time as well before sharing.
Also praying together before my husband opens up can bring some much-needed calmness and respect to the situation. #mustpray!
Work on empathizing with my husband’s feelings on any sticky issues that keep cropping up for him.
That means I must first let him share his feelings without interrupting him. I need to reflect back what I hear him say, so that I am mentally “holding” the exact words he’s just said in my mind.
It’s one thing to hear something my spouse has said and another to repeat back what he’s said.
My husband’s words are processed and absorbed more deeply when I reflect back to him. This also increases my understanding of what he may be saying, which is another pathway to empathizing with him.
I’d like to deal with the other responses to this particular question slowly and thoroughly, so I’ll be continuing to unpack this and the corresponding responses next Wedded Wednesday. I hope you’ll come back around to learn more about how to break down these barriers between men and women—especially in marriage.
[bctt tweet=”Join Beth in creating safe places for our husbands to share without regret or hesitation. #listen #conversation #openup” username=”BethSteffaniak”]
What do you think about the responses from the men on this question?
Is there an insight you’d like to add to the discussion on this issue?
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