Men and women are different in many ways. They see the world through
completely different perspectives. The key to understanding their
differences is in the way that men and women communicate.
Here are six important communication differences that you should be
aware of, to help improve your communications with your partner and make
them smoother and more effective.
1. Why Talk?
He believes communication should have a clear purpose.
Behind every conversation is a problem that needs solving or a point
that needs to be made. Communication is used to get to the root of the
dilemma as efficiently as possible.
She uses communication to discover how she is feeling and
what it is she wants to say. She sees conversation as an act of sharing
and an opportunity to increase intimacy with her partner. Through
sharing, she releases negative feelings and solidifies her bond with the
man she loves.
2. How Much Should You Say?
prioritizes productivity and efficiency in his daily life, and
conversation is no exception. When he tells a story he has already
sorted through the muck in his own head, and shares only those details
that he deems essential to the point of the story. He might wonder, “Why
do women need to talk as much as they do?” Often he will interrupt a
woman once he has heard enough to offer a solution.
She uses communication to explore and organize her thoughts
— to discover the point of the story. She may not know what information
is necessary or excessive until the words come spilling out. But a woman
isn’t necessarily searching for a solution when she initiates a
conversation. She’s looking for someone to listen and understand what
3. What Does It Mean To Listen?
He is conditioned to listen actively. When a woman initiates
conversation he assumes she is seeking his advice or assistance. He
engages with the woman, filtering everything she’s saying through the
lens of, “What can we actually do about this?” Learning to listen
patiently — not just passively — doesn’t come easily to him.
She sees conversation as a productive end in and of itself.
If she feels sufficiently heard or understood she may not need to take
further action to resolve a problem or “make things better.” The fact
that she has been listened to assuages her anxieties and dulls the pangs
of negative feelings. Sharing with someone who understands and loves
her heals her from the inside and equips her with the emotional tools
necessary to handle the trials and tribulations of the outside world.
4. When She Is Feeling Down …
He will want to tackle her problems head on, like a fireman.
He feels impatient to put the fire out as quickly as possible. For him,
the quickest way to put the fire out is by giving solutions. Because he
wants so badly to provide for his spouse, he may take her mood
personally and defend himself. He might hear things literally, not
realizing that when his spouse is upset she will use words as tools to
explore and express difficult emotions.
By using words as tools to explore and express her difficult emotions
when she is upset, she is able to process her negative emotions and let
them go. She values support and nurture, and is most fulfilled by
sharing, cooperation and community. When he shows interest in her by
asking caring questions or expressing heartfelt concerns she feels loved
and cared for. He is fulfilling her first primary love need.
5. When He Is Feeling Down …
He will often withdraw into his “cave” (becoming quiet and
withdrawn) when he’s upset or stressed. A man’s “cave time” is like a
short vacation: he reduces stress by forgetting about his problems and
focusing on other things like watching television, reading the
newspaper, or playing video games.
He might avoid communication with his spouse during times of duress.
If she persists with nurturing questions or criticism, he withdraws even
further, fearing that his partner doesn’t trust him to take care of
business on his own. However, with her support and understanding, a man
will return and be more emotionally available, caring, and loving.
She might interpret her spouse’s silence as a sign that she
is failing him or that she’s losing him. She instinctively tries to
nurture him through his problems by asking an abundance of caring
questions. Or she may react defensively out of fear that her own need
for healthy open communication is not being respected within the
Ultimately, she can do more for him by appreciating his space, which
shows him that she trusts him to work out the problem on his own.
Trusting is one of the greatest gifts she has to offer him. In the
meantime she should do something nurturing for herself, so she won’t
resent him when he emerges from his “cave time.”
6. Communication Breaks Down When …
He feels like he’s being told what to do. The most important
thing to a man is doing a good job. When his competence is questioned
he’ll not only feel hurt, but he’ll throw up a wall of resistance, and
communication begins to breakdown. He thrives in an environment where
he’s the expert. Rather than being told, “You should do X” he is likely
to respond better to, “What do you think of X?” The trick to improving
him is to resist telling him what to do.
She hears from her spouse that her problems aren’t as real
and pressing as they seem in that very moment. Her spouse may mistakenly
think he’s being helpful in providing “reality checks” like: “You’re making a mountain out of a mole hill” or “You’re getting overly emotional about it.” To her it feels like he is attempting to minimize her feelings or talk her out of having them.
Men and women desire to satisfy their partners, but they may miss the
mark because it is truly difficult to understand and accept our
partner’s different ways of communication. Men and women need education
on these differences to help their relationships, so they do not end up
in a frustrated state of resentment and feel stuck.
If a couple is feeling stuck, I suggest they read or listen to
couples self-help books together. If the couple still feels stuck, then
they should always seek professional counseling and get back on the road
to better understanding and communication.