I am sure we have all heard the results that often happen when we assume things.
That is SO true in male/female relationships.
** Speaking about assumptions 🙂 for this post – and every post – I am making the assumption that you are dating a godly man who loves Christ above all else and who desires to obey and honor Him. If you are with an ungodly man, what I am about to say is probably not going to apply well at all.
We tend to make a LOT of assumptions in our relationships with men. I know I sure did – and didn’t even know to question any of my assumptions for many years:
- men think just like I do
- his motives will always be what my motives would be if I was doing/saying what he is doing/saying – so I can accurately judge his motives
- men have feelings just like mine (they feel in a feminine way)
- men express their feelings just like I do
- words matter to men as much as they matter to me
- men bond with words and through sharing emotions like I do
- if a man doesn’t say anything about his feelings, it is because he doesn’t have any feelings
- men need love just like I do
- men process emotions and decisions just like I do
- my perspective is the only one that “makes sense” or “is right” in the world
- I am more in tune with God than my man, I am the only one who can correctly discern God’s will
- if he isn’t talking to me, he hates me/doesn’t love me
- if he doesn’t verbalize his love to me daily, it means he doesn’t love me
- if he doesn’t prioritize an emotional/verbal connection with me, it means he is unloving and “wrong”
- if he acts in a way that doesn’t make sense to me or that I wouldn’t do to him, it means he is unloving, uncaring and thoughtless
These are the kinds of things I used to just assume and believe were true.
Problem was – these things were not NOT true for my husband!
Some of these things may be true of some men or in certain situations. But not for all.
Here are some assumptions I would rather see women make when we are befuddled by our men and confused and when things don’t make sense to us:
- I don’t understand why he is saying/doing this. There is a really good chance that I just don’t understand his masculine perspective and that he is actually good-willed toward me (unless I have very strong facts and evidence that he is being purposely malicious, not just assumptions and emotions).
- I’m going to assume the best about him instead of the worst. He is probably not purposely trying to be unloving toward me and he is probably not trying to hurt me.
- I don’t know his heart. I don’t want to assign evil motives to someone when I don’t fully understand that person’s mindset.
- Maybe he thinks in ways that I just don’t “get” yet.
- Maybe, in his mind, he is treating me with honor and respect, and I am receiving his actions/words as unloving. But that is probably not his intent.
- Maybe his priorities and goals are different from mine in this situation. That doesn’t mean he is wrong. His ideas may have a lot of merit, and may actually be even better than mine.
APPROACHING OUR MEN
I believe that if we can ask questions in a calm, relaxed, peaceful, interested and curious way, showing that we are genuinely seeking to understand our men’s perspective, most of the time, they will be glad to share with us (if they feel respected and emotionally safe with us and we are not treating them like it is the inquisition).
In 1 Corinthians 13:4-8, we learn that godly love assumes the best, not the worst about a person.
Different men think and feel and process differently. So this will be a process of discovering your particular man’s unique personality and learning to be a safe place for him to be vulnerable and open and to learn to understand him more and more.
SOME APPROACHES TO AVOID:
- Why? Why would you? Why did you? Why didn’t you? (This word often comes across as questioning a man’s intelligence or as if we think they are making a stupid decision)
- How could you?
- What is wrong with you?
- That makes no sense!
- You shouldn’t…
- You should…
- I want you to…
- That is ridiculous, obviously you needed to …
- eye rolling
- staring at him with anger and daggers in our eyes
- a hateful tone of voice
These kinds of words and body language very clearly communicate disrespect – that will either anger a man or repel him. He is not going to open up and share his heart if we approach in a confrontation way – giving directives or demands or if we obviously have contempt for him.
SOME PRODUCTIVE WAYS TO APPROACH HIM
- I was wondering if you might be able to tell me a little more about X.
- I think I may be confused. I would love to hear more about Y.
- I would love to know more about how you think and how men think. Would you please walk me through your decision? Your perspective is fascinating to me and I want to understand you more clearly.
- I always think in words when I am working on problems or concerns. Do you think in words or do you think in pictures or formulas when you are processing something important?
- I tend to know what I think and feel and want right away. I have heard that sometimes men need time to think and that they might like to have a few days to mull over important decisions – which can actually be a good thing rather than making a hasty and rash decision. I would love to hear your thoughts about that.
- Do you tend to share your emotions with people, or do you tend to keep them to yourself?
- I have heard that sometimes it can take awhile for men to put their emotions into words, that some men don’t think through their emotions verbally in their minds, but in non-verbal ways.
- I would love to learn more about your approach to X.
- I’m so interested in how you think. What steps do you take to arrive at decisions in your mind?
- Would you be able to share with me more about how a man’s world of respect works in a situation like this?
- In my girly world, I would expect to approach this issue/problem this way… How would a man approach it?
- What motives do men have when they do X, usually?