Marriage Advice | Understanding Differences in Communication Styles

Some of the most common complaints in marriage counseling sessions center around communication. Men and women alike take issue with the way their spouse communicates (or doesn’t), citing many similar things like, “he never listens to me,” “I don’t understand why she gets so upset,” or “he acts like he doesn’t even want to talk to me.”

The reason these complaints are so common is simple: men and women do not communicate in the same way!


We’ve all been there – an experience where a person of the opposite sex just didn’t seem to get what we were trying to say, or misinterpreted our intentions or tone of voice. Isn’t it curious that women usually complain about not enough communication, and men complain about their wives demanding too much? Women are verbal communicators by nature – they want to talk things out, to share moments of their day to day lives, to use speech as a means for connecting with others. Men, of course, do this too, but their approach can be quite different. Where a woman will include contextual information to create a detailed picture, a man will present more rigid information, choosing to get to the point more directly. Where a man may want to dive right into problem solving, a woman is more likely to probe further to determine the reasons for the issue at hand.

This can even be apparent in casual communication, or conversations among friends. It has been said that women form relationships through communication that leads to activity, and men form relationships through activity that leads to communication.

These differences can become a serious problem if people aren’t aware of them – they will only see the communication (an inherently two-sided event) from their own perspective. To make the best out of these natural differences, couples need to keep them in mind when they talk to one another, both in the way they speak and in the way they listen. Now, not all men are alike, nor are all women. These are just general observations – each individual is going to have their own way of communicating, and it may or may not align with the typical behavior of their gender.

Based on those broad generalizations, though, here is a little advice for communicating with your spouse.

For men: your wife wants to communicate with you; it helps her feel connected. Make a point to listen actively, and to hear not only the information she’s sharing, but what she says about how it makes her feel – this is what she’s really sharing. When talking to her, let yourself be open to sharing details of how a situation affected you emotionally. You don’t have to be so matter of fact.

For women: your husband wants you to be direct and clear in your communication. They may not pick up on the emotional cues that you think you are giving, and it’s easy to lose their interest with too much loosely related detail. Ask questions. Get him involved in the conversation. It is inconsiderate to simply talk AT him. On the listening end of things, understand that if he has something to say, he has good reason (at least in his own opinion) for saying it, and wants to be heard.

For tips on effective communication with your spouse, as well more ways to strengthen your marriage, check out marriage help and the StrongMarriageNow System today!

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Adlet 11 years ago

Marriage counselling is not enoguh on it's own. This is a valuable tool but you need far more to rebuild on this relationship than just a third party helping you sort it. You need to rebuild the most important part of your relationship and that is the trust factor. He needs to be able to trust you again and get back to the loving you stage you guys were at before this all began. Something must have been really wrong in the relationship that led you to cheating on him. Maybe examining that aspect of your past will help you resolve the future. If we know why we made certain decisions and acted in certain ways we may be able to discover the key to resolution that has been missing. Your cheating would be going around and around in his head. Over and over again. He would not be able to stop this from happening. Everytime you are late, everytime something doesn't add up for him as being true .you are going to be suspected. This is very hard to deal with as you will feel like you are forever on trail and forever trying to make ammends for your transgressions.Statistically speaking, when a partner cheats the success of the relationship, the future you may have is in seriouis doubt. It takes a lot of work, understanding and lots of time. If things do work out then there will always be a seed of doubt that will be in the mind of the person who was cheated on.I don't know that you will ever get past this or the feelings you have right now. You would be feeling like you have to prove yourself time and time again and account for all your time who you have been talking to, your friends, the places you go etc this is a very harsh road you are travelling down.There are no easy answers or majic wands for this type of relationship crisis. Time is a healer. Pain can last a lifetime. Suspicion and guilt without forgivness on your partners part will make your road an impossible one.The real question is can you rebuild the trust. Can you show him how much you love him in lots of big and little ways each and every day. Show that you are a woman of your word, you have nothing to hide, you are open about everything. This will go a long way to rebuilding trust and hopefully it works if he can forgive your cheating.It takes a very strong partner to do this and a very big hearted forgiving person as well.I wish you all the best with this and hope that it all works out for you.Try to smile, try to keep your head up and try to keep finding ways to get past this big turning point in your life.