Can You Hear Me Now?
Needing to be heard and understood are huge for women. In part this is because woman are so relational, and don’t feel connected without good communication. Additionally, many women have been silenced, ignored, or discredited in the past, and this can make any hint of those things painful.
My wife tells the story of going with me to a hardware store I did not know. I walked in and said to a male employee, “screw eyes”. He answered “Isle 5”. That was the entire “conversation”. Lori said a woman would have said, “I need to hang a humming-bird feeder, and I’m looking for a decorative screw eye…” She also told me a female employee might have found my version to be a bit rude. Neither method of obtaining the location of the screw eyes is wrong, nor is one inherently better. However, gender differences mean my request is best suited for two men.
The point is most women need more than the raw facts when they communicate. For women communication isn’t just about sharing information, it’s also about relationship. She needs to make a connection with you when she talks to you. If you tell her to get to the point, you ensure she won’t feel heard.
As for understanding, this too is more complex for women. The facts are part of understanding, but so are the thoughts and feelings that accompany facts. If you don’t allow her to express these other things, she won’t feel understood even if you can recite word for word what she said.
It is easy for a man to dismiss women’s fuller form of communication as a waste of time that accomplishes nothing of use. This is only true if you don’t put any value on making your wife think you care enough about her to communicate with her the way she desires to communicate.