Family Relationships

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Monday, May 03, 2010

Women and Men Speak - But Who is Listening?

Do is sometimes feel that you're the unheard proverbial tree that falls in the forest? You're talking but no one is listening! A recent Associated Press poll of pet owners found that one-third of married women who own pets consider their pets to be better listeners than their husbands. And nearly one-fifth of husbands also believed their pets were more attentive than their spouses. What's going on here? Even after numerous books about getting your message across, it seems that men and women still need to learn more about how to talk with each other.

Portrait of woman holding her pet dog

Good communication begins with understanding - yourself and your partner. With the divorce rate continuing to hover around 50%, the exchange of information between the sexes is worth the effort it takes from both partners. But since men and women tend to view communication differently, the process can be very difficult.

Women generally feel comfortable talking with their spouses about what is bothering them. But men often deal with stress by withdrawing and pulling away to think about - rather than talk about - their issues. This can lead to each making mistakes in the way they interpret the other's actions. A woman may believe that her husband isn't interested in looking at a problem he is facing while a man may think that his wife is overly complaining and that the problem is so bad it can't be fixed.

When you have a better understanding of your partner's motivation and behavior, you can begin to consider new ways of responding. Respect a man's need for distance while still letting him know that you are ready to start a dialogue whenever he is. Once that door is open, learning how to identify your feelings and ask each other for support may be the first steps in resolving the differences between you.

Woman with dog

Tune in for our next post - we'll take a look at what you can learn from pets about being a good listener. And for more good tips about improving relationships with your family, visit our website, or sign up for our free newsletter, Stepping Stones, using the link to the left.

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Anonymous Joanna said...

I agree that communication is a vital ingredient to the success or failure of a relationship. Often we do talk, but say the wrong things. It is powerful words of life that make a relationship healthy. More about this at:

1:52 PM  

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