The key to being understood by your spouse is often found in clear communication not hints and unspoken expectations. Dr. Mike Bechtle points out that men and women communicate their needs and their affection differently.
“Men tend to express their affection by doing things.”
While woman often need to hear this affection, not seeing it played out through action. Dr. Bechtle encourages men to be more verbal in expressing their love.
“They need to do it verbally as well, but when we do something for the woman in our life, it’s our way of expressing our care for them and how much we love them.”
He shares a personal example:
“We’ve been in our house for about nine years. When we moved in the baseboards weren’t painted and so I thought I’m going to paint those base boards. It will just feel good when she comes in and notices. When she came home, I realized that she’s not going to notice.”
Instead of waiting for his wife to notice, Dr. Bechtle realized that he needed to ask for what he wanted, rather than hoping she would bring it up in conversation.
“She walked in and I said to her, ‘Could you come in the bedroom just for a minute and ooo and ahhh for me over what I did?’ And she said, ‘sure, give me about three minutes.’ She went in and put her stuff down, she walked in, she looked at the baseboards and said, ‘Oooh, ahhhh…that really does change the whole look of the room – you did a really good job on that!’
“It was my way of asking for something, instead of just hoping she would notice. After we did that, it was her way of affirming me and making me kind of the hero for her.”
She was able to affirm his heart and authentically appreciate the work that he put into painting the baseboards. In turn, he was able to receive the praise and adoration he was looking for.
Dr. Mike Bechtle (EdD, Arizona State University) is the author of , , and You Can't Text a Tough Conversation: #RealCommunicationNeeded. His articles have appeared in publications such as Writer’s Digest, Pastors.com, and Entrepreneur. A frequent speaker, Bechtle lives in California.