Today I want to continue to unpack the results of the “Men and Openness” survey by looking at question #5 …
What do you feel you need to overcome in order to be better able to identify and share your feelings? (I allowed the men to choose all that applied)
70.49% – My fear of rejection, intimacy or conflict.
39.34% – My inability to communicate my feelings effectively or clearly.
26.23% – My belief that it doesn’t actually help to talk about my feelings.
26.23% – Feeling intimidated in comparison to my wife’s superior ability to share clearly and openly.
18.03% – My lack of self-awareness
9.84% – Write-in responses, click here if you’d like to read them.
The results of this question were strikingly obvious to me. The biggest factor that most of the men felt/feel is the fear of rejection, intimacy or conflict—by a long shot!
In other words, the survey results indicated for men …
[Tweet “It’s not fear of how to communicate but the repercussions of opening up! #menandopenness”]
That gives me the sense that …
[Tweet “We, as women and wives, have not been so great at our communication skills after all. #wakeupcall”]
I mean, we “talk a good game” but apparently we are not listening or receiving our husbands’ words with skill and compassion.
So today I will be talking about two things …
1. How husbands can deal with this fear in communication that is based in “reality.”
As well as …
2. How wives can learn to be better listeners and receivers of their husbands’ feelings.
How men can deal proactively with fear of rejection, intimacy and conflict …
- Prepare your heart with prayer – If you are a believer, this is an amazing way to allow God’s power and courage flow into your heart as you step into the “unknown.”
- Prepare your wife for the conversation – Don’t just drop an emotional bomb on her. Make sure to give her a heads up on the fact that you’d like to talk about an issue with her later. Then schedule it at a time that is free of distraction and stress.
- Begin and end with reaffirming your love – Every difficult conversation we bring to our mates needs to be wrapped in love and grace by reaffirming our love for our mates, as well as reminding them of that before we walk away from the conversation. Giving a hug at the end is also a great way to leave your spouse feeling secure in your love.
- Ask your wife to listen “reflectively” – It may seem like I bring “Reflective Listening“ up a lot, but it’s precious gold in my view. It is truly a crucial process that will help you to feel listened to and heard, as well as potentially avoiding defensiveness and arguing. And isn’t that what you’ve been longing for, after all? 😉
How women can become better listeners and receivers …
- Understand the power of listening – If you use the Reflective Listening guide, you’ll begin to understand this power that comes directly through receiving. You’ll begin to see what it feels like to truly enter his world and understand his feelings—with no agenda or thoughts of your own to pollute the process.
- Expect difficult conversations to be … difficult, but enriching –
Anything of any worth in life almost always comes with pain and perseverance. That’s especially true when breaking down barriers in marriage with vulnerable disclosures.
- Determine to be humble – This is extremely important to this process. In order to truly receive, we must empty ourselves of our pride, our need to control, and our self-sufficiency. Humility is the perfect way to empty your heart of selfishness and will make room to receive the “sharpening” that is necessary for any good partnership (Prov. 27:17).
What are some suggestions you would add to the lists above?
If you’ve tried using the Reflective Listening Guide, how did it feel? Was it helpful?
[Tweet “Christian bloggers, I’d love to have you join us at Wedded Wednesday Linkup! #Messymarriage”]
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