Step 2: Learnt little things that most hurt or heal your spouse’s feelings — not yours.
I spoke at a women’s lunch yesterday and shared a few truths about men and relationships that women tend to not realize. And in the book signing line afterward I heard, yet again, from a sweet single mom, the saddest thing I routinely hear: “If I had known just a few of these things two years ago, I wouldn’t be divorced right now.”
There are so many marriages that are suffering from something as tragically stupid as a lack of a little information: especially about what most hurts or heals the feelings of the opposite sex. And gaining just a little new knowledge about those things that hurt or heal our mate’s feelings are often life-changing!
For example, ladies, we don’t realize that men look all strong and confident – and can be absolutely crushed by what seem like minor words of criticism that we toss out without thinking. (“I can’t believe you forgot to give Parker his lunch box for school today!” “Did you even look at how wrinkled the clothes were getting when you crammed them in the drawers?”) Why? Because unlike us, men live with a deep-seated doubt about whether they measure up. Feeling inadequate is, statistically, the most painful feeling a man can feel. Those sorts of off-the-cuff statements wouldn’t bother us in quite the same way, so we simply don’t realize how much they hurt his feelings—or how often we say them.
On the other hand, men, you can crush your wife without realizing it, by (for example) working a gazillion hours to provide for your family and not realizing that, statistically, your wife would probably trade off the extra money and extra stuff if it just meant she could get more of you. Instead, you sacrifice going to Parker’s soccer games to provide more for the family—and don’t see how deeply your constant absences hurt her heart.
Once we learn what matters most – not to us but to our spouse – suddenly we will see every day how a few simple changes will make a big difference. (I don’t want to make this a commercial, but truly, the simple information in For Women Only and For Men Only is often enough all on its own.)