Monday, November 21, 2011

7 Things He'll Never Tell You {but you need to know}

I really enjoy author Kevin Leman.  I've heard him interviewed on various radio shows and I laugh pretty much the whole time.  I've only read one of his books, but it turned out to be the most valuable pre-marriage reading I did.  And in the last year, it's been my go-to guide when I felt completely bewildered in my effort to understand this person I married.  He's a boy and sometimes (happily, not too often), I just don't get him.  

I hope that every one of you gets this book.  Whether you're married or not, it will help you in your relationships.  So, I'm going to review one chapter of this book each week for the next several weeks.  

Chapter 1:

The basic premise of this book is introduced, which is the difference between the top three things men and women need from their spouses.

A Man's Top 3 Needs:
     1. to be respected
     2. to be needed
     3. to be fulfilled

A Woman's Top 3 Needs:
     1. affection
     2. honest, open communication
     3. commitment to family

It's no surprise that these needs can conflict.  A girl wants to talk, a guy has run out of words.  A girl wants to do everything together, a guy wants some independence.
According to this book, the #1 thing he'll never tell you is this:

"It's Thursday, and I'm out of words already." ("But if you want to keep talking, honey, go ahead.")
Why men want the Cliff's Notes, and women want the whole novel.

Dr. Leman says, "One of the hardest things for a woman to realize is that sharing is not the key to your husband's heart, as it is for yours.  You love words, sentences, complete thoughts, paragraphs.  You are the Energizer Bunny of communicators who keeps going and going and going and going...Your husband often feels like the bunny who has the wrong kind of batteries, lying mute on his side."

Understanding this idea really freed me to talk all I need to, but not expect the same level of chitter-chatter to come back at me from Nathan.  (I had a lightbulb moment when I realized that Nathan is not my best girlfriend, and probably never will be.  If I want someone to go gaga over my new purse, I need a girlfriend.  Who would have thought?!)  This has been especially helpful because I'm a super-verbal woman and I have a husband that is out of words by Thursday, or earlier.  (He was just reading over my shoulder and told me that sometimes he's out of words by Sunday.)
The second part of the chapter is talking about "shooting it straight", or saying what we really mean.  Again, realizing this has given me so much freedom!  Guy-style communication is so much simpler.  Leman says,  "Save yourself the frustration.  Simply say what you mean!"  

He details an exchange with his wife:

"I said, "Do you like this sweater?  Should I think about wearing it to the speaking event?"
Sande shuffled her feet and didn't quite meet my eyes, "Well, you do need a Christmas sweater."
Now I know there's not a man in the universe who needs a Christmas sweater.  So I asked her, "Do you like the sweater?"  She still didn't meet my eyes.  "You go ahead and wear it." 
So now I've asked her twice.  She's told me I need a Christmas sweater and that I could wear it to the function, neither of which is what I want to hear.  
What I want to know simply is, does she like it or doesn't she?
If she said to me, "I don't like it," I'd take it back and be 70 bucks richer.  No big deal.  I just want to know.

I've applied this idea to my general communication style, not just with Nathan, and it is so much easier.  I don't think of myself as blunt now, I just have the freedom to be clear!

Okay, well, let's end with a humorous excerpt from the book:

Things you'll never hear from a man:
- I know this is a tough question, dear, but I want to ask anyway.  Can we just cuddle and watch a romantic comedy tonight?
-If I took Friday off, could we go shopping and make a weekend of it?
-Is there any way we can get your mother to stay a week longer?  She's only been here a month.
-Of course, I'll go with you to the ballet.  I love seeing those men in tights.

Check back next week for a quick overview of Chapter 2!

1 comment:

Liv said...

Well, I am not married, engaged, or dating, but I am excited to read your future reviews of the chapters...I'll just tuck the info away for a later date and put the book on my 'to read' list. =)