How to Talk to a Man
This is going to be a short post about how to talk to a man. It is based on a webinar I attended, a book I read and then a series I watched on Amazon Prime. They are all by the same person: Laura Doyle.
How I learned of Laura
I saw an ad over a year ago to attend one of her free webinars. I watched it. It was interesting and enlightening.
Her lead-in story
She talked of how she and her future husband went to Hawaii for a vacation. She was frustrated and then in tears the first day of their vacation. Why? he was “dragging” her to places she didn’t want to go, doing things she could have cared less about, and he seemed oblivious. Oblivious, that is, until she snapped, snarled and whined that he didn’t love her, couldn’t care less about her… Sound familiar? I’ve been there a few (ahem) times over the past 40 years. After working hard to be a “biblical wife” I may not have had the outbursts, but they were there in my mind. I had not yet learned how to overcome evil with good or how to communicate as Laura describes. I was just keeping my mouth shut.
So, what did she learn?
She learned that it is not only about communication – she had communicated. It’s about how we communicate when we communicate and even how we look at ourselves. How can you tell your husband you’d love to have a crystal vase if you don’t feel worthy of having one. Depending on the quality, they can be purchased for less than a night out. I can tell you that if my husband had said he wanted to get me a crystal vase – or if he had surprised me with one – I would have said that we couldn’t afford it, it is an extravagance… I never believed I was worthy of having one even though I would have treasured one.
What did she do?
She spent some time in introspection. She made a list of things that would really bring her joy. They didn’t have to be things that could only come from her husband. Some were just self-care items: 15 minutes of alone time, an hour-long soak, whatever it is that brings you joy, peace and contentment. She also learned to communicate in a way that inspired her husband to want to please her and protect her.
Does it work?
It worked for her. She is a woman’s marriage therapist and it works for her clients. I took the book out of the library while in school over a year ago. I decided to try out this new way of talking to a man at school and it worked for me.
I had a male lab partner. It was the second class that I’d had him for a partner. He is a couple years younger than me, but we were the two oddities being in our upper 50’s. All through our first class when presented with choices I’d ask what he wanted and he said I could choose, he didn’t care. When we got to our baking class he again said I could choose. One time I pressed him for his choice and this was his response – and I was floored. He said he lives in a houseful of women and early in his 25 years of marriage he learned that it was better to just not have an opinion or set his heart on one thing over another. I was SO saddened. His masculinity had been so squashed by the women in his family early on so he decided that in order to keep the peace and have some semblance of happiness it was better to just not have an opinion. That’s TERRIBLE. He is the man, and according to God’s design the head of the household.
So I tried it. I practiced how I would answer his, “I don’t have an opinion” or “I don’t care” answer the next time we were presented with a choice. Then I delivered my line. He was taken aback that he actually could have an opinion and choice and THAT would make ME happy. I don’t remember how I said it now, but I just learned to talk in a way that inspired him to have an opinion, to take the lead. It was probably something like, “my greatest joy would be to make something that inspires you, something you want to eat or take home.” He was really unprepared that first day. But he got used to it. We bake 5 hours a day 3 days a week. When I wanted a certain thing (like lemon, which I know he doesn’t like), I said so when he asked. He knew I was being honest because he knew all too well how much I like lemon. To this day when we see each other he gives me a great big hug because I let him be the man, take the lead – and choose the direction of our team.
The free offer
Right now Laura has the first season of her TV show called Empowered Wives on Amazon free if you have Prime. I have Prime and watched several episodes. To be honest, you need to read the book first to get what they are saying. The series is Laura talking with different women about an area where they are struggling with an application or correcting a mis-step.
I have suggested her book in other posts. I love the title, it made me smile. It’s called First Kill All The Marriage Counselors. [Update: The book has been updated and is now called, “The Empowered Wife: Six Surprising Secrets for Attracting Your Husband’s Time, Attention, and Affection.”] She explained that as a trained marriage counselor (psychologist), she was taught in school that when couples come to you they are usually past any hope of help, so the best a counselor could do was to teach them how to live without their partner. Sure, they disguise it as “needing to know yourself and your needs so you could be honest with the other…” But truly they were counseling you how to live without that person and be on your own. In the end you choose that as you see yourselves as different and incompatible.
I remember going to counseling many years ago. I saw that same thing. I recognized it for what it was and I called him on it. The counselor said that he had to do that as he had determined our marriage would never work and it would make both of us healthier. We didn’t want to divorce or live on our own. We wanted our marriage to work. That was not his decision to make. So I appreciated that Laura was honest about that training. I also appreciate her honesty with her own marriage struggles.
I think most ladies say that they wish their husbands understood them better. Most men also say they don’t know what we want. Most would say they’d give us what we wanted IF they only knew what that was. This book helps you learn what you want, identify areas where you are sending mixed messages and helps you speak in a way that inspires your husband to respond to your needs and desires. Laura warns that this isn’t to be thought of or used like a magic Genie bottle. It is a way of communicating for a healthy, happy marriage.
Let me know what you think of the book and TV series if you read/watch them.
Updated 1-26-19 to include updated book information.
Updated 2-11-20 to fix 2 grammar errors.