1 Peter 3:7 tells a husband to live together with his wife according to knowledge (KJV), in an understanding way (NASB) or considerately (Amplified) in order that his prayers should not be hindered.
It seems that God does not buy the popular Christian quip that since Adam was asleep when Eve was formed, he cannot possibly be expected to understand her!
God’s best for a relationship is that both spouses have a profound understanding of each other.
When a man and a woman first marry, the natural mistake that everyone makes is to assume that the other operates internally as they do.
After time has elapsed and the differences become apparent, the relationship becomes strained for the simple reason that when one party finds that the other does not handle situations as they would, they assume that they are not loved, respected or appreciated after all, since they are not receiving the treatment they expected.
A woman may assume that her husbands lack of a text to say what time he is coming home means that he does not love her, simply because she would send such a text out of love for her husband.
A man may assume that his wife’s slowness to respond to his sexual advances means that she is cold, because he would be quick to respond.
In both cases the answer is to become a student of your spouse and to purposely work to understand him or her, without rushing to hasty conclusions. Stop saying to yourself, “If he really loved me he would….” or, “If that was me, I would never said that. It made me feel so small. She can’t respect me after all.”
Make a decision to withhold judgment of what your spouse’s actions mean, before you have truly understood where they came from, since your husband or wife really doesn’t think like you!
On your journey to understand, let me help you with some gender differences that are basic principles that commonly hallmark the way men and women relate.
- A man hears what a woman says but a woman feels what a man says. Men, your tone and approach will be even more important than your words.
- A woman prefers to communicate indirectly, dropping hints and giving out vibes.
- A man rarely picks up on hints or even recognizes them!
- A woman expects a man to know what she is thinking and can easily get upset because she feels that “if he loved me, he would know this…” – but he doesn’t!
- A man naturally communicates directly, but a woman is delicate and doesn’t want to be treated roughly.
- A man respects a woman who communicates clearly and succinctly, because that is how he does it. He finds a woman’s “long version” rather boring!
- A man easily goes into self-preservation mode when there is conflict. He doesn’t want to feel that he has failed in any aspect of life, and becomes agitated and angry.
- A woman values talking more than a man does, and will find someone else to whom she can confide her innermost thoughts if her husband will not make time for her.
- A woman thinks as she speaks in order to work things through, but a man will often not speak until he has thought things through first.
- A man will not be open to talking as often as a woman will and she should choose her timing wisely. However, when he does open up to her, she does well to give him her full attention.
Culture differences as well as family traditions will also influence a person’s communication style and can only be fully appreciated as you set yourself to observe and understand your spouse.
Meaning is not found in words, but only in people. As you create a safe environment for your spouse, where judgment and condemnation do not await their every move, you cause them to feel accepted and loved for who they are.
This is a far more powerful environment than one where you are always trying to change the other person.
In this environment, the things that seem irreconcilable differences will have the greatest possibility for change: without your nagging!