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Posted: October 16, 2011

“You never take out the garbage, you don’t help unload the dishwasher; you sit in front the TV and immerse yourself in football games instead of your family.” If you’ve ever heard yourself say all or any of those words, this article is for you. What you are probably trying to tell your husband is that you are tired, overwhelmed, feel like you’re the one running this household and your husband is emotionally distant and vacant to your needs.  Note to yourself: He might not understand your language.

What he hears is that he never helps around the house; which he knows is not true; so he cannot figure out your problem so he has no way of “fixing” it. Words are supposed to be the gateway to an intimate and meaningful relationship; yet they have the potential to be the stick of dynamite that can blow it up.

Women speak with facts and emotions; but men deal mostly with facts and then trying to “fix it.”  So how do we bridge the communication gap so that your husband gets a clear picture of what you are trying to tell him? Pictures!  Before you sign off because you think this is bizarre notion, please hang in here with me. 

We women have to create a picture with our words, so that our husbands can grasp our emotions.  Let me give you an example. Many, many years ago when I was still married to my first husband Dick, I was naïve enough to think that he would fill my emotional needs, be attentive to my feelings and know when I was tired and needed help. He was a wonderful man, but we just did not understand each other.  I just thought he “would know” these things, because as a women “I know” them in other people. I tried to explain to him that I felt he was distant, not meeting my needs and I felt lonely in my frustrations. He would look at me puzzled, with a frown on his forehead and I could tell he could not comprehend what I was trying to communicate with him. I would get angry, cry, feel resentful and overlooked and yet I could tell he could not seize what I was trying to tell him. 

So one day, out of desperation, I wrote him a story that depicted my emotions. It was a very picturesque story of how when we were first married, we were together in a beautiful boat. We would go out into water with the blue sky, the sun on our faces and we were so happy being together on that boat. Over time I very carefully and with many picture words, wrote about how it seemed he bought his own boat, and even though we were going down the river, side by side, I felt very lonely in my boat. I wrote that when I looked over at him for help, his face was turned away and he couldn’t see that I needed his help. I also wrote that every so often I had to pull the boat into shore because there were people on the shore who needed both of us, but he was looking in the other direction so he couldn’t see the desperate waves for help on the shoreline. Then I explained how hard it was for me to pull my own boat into the shore to help all those desperate people by myself. The story was quite detailed, with a lot of “picture emotion”, and it was written with love and without judgment. 

After he read my story, he was able to grasp my emotions because of my picture words. He understood what I was trying to tell him. It changed the dynamics in our home and he became more attentive to my words and call for help.

Some men have the ability to grasp a woman’s emotions! But for those who don’t I highly recommend trying this method of communicating a deep emotional need to your husband. Turn your emotions into pictures that become a fact he can understand.  I would love to hear your comments on this; I would also love some stories you have used to help your husband understand your life’s struggle. We need to  help each other.

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