QUESTION: “My husband and I have been married for over 18 years. Things are good and I can’t really complain, but I still feel that half of the time, he’s not paying attention. I mean, he is a good husband but I don’t think he really listens he just knows me and reacts accordingly which to his credit, he does rather well. I’d just like to have a conversation where he’s really listening and engaged. Is that too much to ask? ” - Donna, Age 42, Married
What did you say Donna? Sorry, we were distracted. Just kidding. But men get this label all the time that they don’t listen. Some of it is very justified. Sometimes men tell us, they are NOT listening. Interestingly though, it’s not because they don’t want to or like to, but rather, it’s how women go about it. We can explain, but first let’s look at the answers to the question we asked 1,000 men: “Do you listen to women when they talk with you?. Here’s the feedback from the men:
The answer is overwhelmingly “yes.” But there are some caveats. Men cite that it’s when you talk with them and how you approach them that makes the difference between truly listening and not. Here’s what a few of our guys said:
“Most of the time [when] women talk, their message is encoded in what they are saying. Since I know I will never fully understand what she is trying to say, I rarely listen. If something is said bluntly and openly I hear it and understand.” – Charles, 31
“It’s a timing issue. I mean, hitting me up first thing in the morning or right when I come home and the kids are happy to see me isn’t the best time. I just can’t multi-process. I need to listen when it’s calmer and preferably when it’s just me and my wife..” – Karl, 40
“Women rarely get to the point. They like to tell stories and I want the sound bite. I lose track with the story and wind up zoning out. Sorry about that, but it’s true. Just give me the big picture. No story.” – Phil, 39
“I think women would be better off texting me with the information. It’s not that I prefer that, it’s because it would force them into saying it all in 140 characters or less. If you can say it in a text, you can then say it to your man.” –Bill, 36
“Hey, I try. I really try to listen but I just can’t when it’s game night or before golf or something I’m engaged in, no chance.” – Curt, 38
WTF is the takeaway?
Well, Donna, there you go. Yes, the men want to listen and the majority of them actually try. The real key to having your husband successfully hearing you is picking your point as to when you talk with him and how you come across. They say that delivery and non-verbal cues are what really makes an impact and no more is that the case than in talking with men. Work on the timing and delivery and your points will be heard loud and clear.