Q: Why does my wife always want me to talk to her? When I’m tired and just want to relax, she launches into an emotional outburst about how we don’t “communicate” the way we used to. I have to leave the house to get any peace and quiet. Why can I do to make her understand?
A: It’s not unusual to find that spouses differ radically when it comes to their needs and desires for verbal communication. That’s partly due to gender; most women have a far greater stock of words than do their husbands. It can also be a matter of individual temperament and personality. Opposites attract, which is all well and good until the honeymoon is over and couples have to get down to the business of living together and understanding each other.
We’d suggest that you try setting up a specific occasion to talk, with an agreed-upon time frame. Twenty or thirty minutes should be sufficient initially. Get a kitchen timer and stick to the limit. Promise not to run, but allow for a time-out if things get too intense.
Start by focusing on your respective needs for communication and quiet time. Make a conscious effort to use “I” statements to convey your feelings; i.e., don’t blame or attack your spouse. The goal is for the speaker to be heard and understood. If you need to take a time-out, schedule a reunion session within twenty-four hours for further discussion. This will give both of you a sense of reassurance and safety.
If you need help putting these concepts into practice, don’t hesitate to call our Family Support Services at 03-7954 7920 or write to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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