Dear Dr. Ellen: I need your help & I need to understand how to fix my marriage please! I am a salesman and am at work all day evaluating situations, critiquing those situations and most of all talking about those situations!
How should I tell her that I need to relax when I come home and am too exhausted to start talking all over again?
I don’t think I am asking for much!
Dear Neil: I believe the biggest difference between men and women is what they want to gain from a conversation.
Women feel like conversation is an end in itself and they enjoy it for just that; they have no other objectives. Most men, however, carry on conversations because they want to achieve a specific objective.
When you and your wife were first dating, you probably showered her with attention and talked to her for hours. This is because you had an objective: to win her affections and to present yourself as a charming man. At that time, you were intrigued by every word she said and paid close attention whenever she talked.
However, once you knew that she was yours there was no need to woo her anymore. You had achieved your goal and now there was no more reason to carry on lengthy conversations.
You couldn’t be more wrong! I completely understand that you want to rest once you get home, but you also need to consider the needs of your wife who has been looking forward to talking with you all day.
She needs to know that you are still intrigued by her and that you’re the still the same man that she fell so in love with. Marriage is about compromise, and her needs are equally as important as your own.
So I suggest that you put aside half an hour each day where you and your wife can just talk about your days together. It will help you in a much better way than a marriage and family therapist programs.
This should be a time that works for both of you, when you can each give the other person your undivided attention. Be careful not to let it turn into a monologue! You should both be sharing equally: 15 minutes for you and 15 minutes for her.
I am sure that she will understand your need to unwind after work, and she will be overjoyed when you tell her that you do want to talk to her about your day, and hear all about hers, after you’ve had a chance to do that. Give it a try, and I bet you’ll both be a lot happier!
By Dr. Ellen Kreidman, Ph.D
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