October 27, 2011 By Chuck AllenIt may be hard to believe but those cute little critters you call pets are actually monsters. Well, they could become monsters – if you let Read More »
October 24, 2011 By Chuck AllenAh, vacation! It sounds so relaxing and fun. Images of lying on the beach or screaming on roller coasters dance in our minds. Packing is no Read More »
October 20, 2011 By Chuck AllenFighting back often means hunting down the monster. Most people assume that hunting begins with gathering the right equipment. Even in horror flicks the main character Read More »
October 17, 2011 By Chuck AllenWhy are all shows about marriage comedies? Whether it’s movies or television, if the main story is about marriage, comedy will abound. Sure, there are married Read More »
September 22, 2011 By Chuck AllenOne of the goals of this blog is to provide advice for men who are considering marriage. Women have strange rituals such as teas and showers Read More »
Tag Archives: communication
Technology seems to impact everything around us. Our jobs, our hobbies and our interactions can all change with technological advances. This is even true in our marriages. Since relationships are real and not virtual (if your marriage is virtual then this blog may not apply) it may be easy to overlook the impact of technology. Today’s post aims to point out some of the areas where technology may be impacting your marriage for the worse.
Here are some warning signs that technology may, in fact, be damaging your marriage’s communication:
- You use Internet shortcuts when actually talking – e.g. “He said that? LOL!”
- You send each other text messages even when your sitting in the same room
- You finalize “what’s for dinner” by exchanging Facebook status updates
- You interrupt your spouse after ever 140 characters
- You can’t remember the last time the two of you had dinner without a phone
- He won’t answer your phone call but he will respond to your text message
- When you think of your spouse you picture them as they are in their Facebook profile pic
- You call their mobile instead of walking to the other end of the house to speak to them
But seriously: We all know that communication is vital to our marriage, but do we spend time trying to improve it? Do you put technology to work making your marriage better? Or is it just another way to avoid each other while still keeping things moving? Remember, what your spouse really needs to hear is “I <3 u”.
Now it’s your turn. What other “warning signs” can you think of?
Conversation is an art. It is more than just the verbal back and forth between two or more participants. It is a sport. No, not like horse shoes, more like tennis or field hockey. It requires skill and practice and uniforms. Ok, maybe not uniforms, but a good hat never hurt.
Unfortunately, many men approach conversation more like a kidney transplant than a sport. We just sit back and wait for it to be over. That is unfortunate. You don’t get to drink Gatorade with a kidney transplant. It’s for sports! Get in the game! (I apologize for that tirade. ESPN was playing in the background.)
There are hundreds of books that will coach you on how to be better at conversations. They offer great advice such as asking open ended questions or practicing active listening. But let’s be honest. When you have a spare hour to do some reading, which are you going to choose- Be a Better Conversationalist or Sports Illustrated? We all know the nod goes to whichever has the most pictures and/or whichever is sitting on the back of the toilet at the time.
So today’s post aims to provide the most important points for talking with our wives. To begin we have to understand a fundamental difference between the way we tell stories. Men tell stories to get to a point, a finale if you will. We don’t interrupt each other unless it is to interject snarky commentary or jokes. Women tell stories for art and community. Their stories are designed to be interactive with questions and verbal affirmations. Interrupting a story with a seemingly arbitrary question is encouraged and expected.
So in the next few points I will share questions that you can interject that will allow you to participate as your wife tells you about her day or her trip to the mall or her pedicure or…
What was he/she wearing? – Apparently it is important to know what various characters in the story are wearing. The fact that the cashier was wearing a pink shirt with a gaudy red hat may seem off the point, but don’t let that distract you. This is art!
Who are they friends with? – The story is not truly meaningful unless you know how the characters in the story are connected both to you and to others you may or may not know. “…so Jane’s friend Lucy – she is the one who dated Fred for a while – you know, Fred that works with Sherry – she was going to come to the lunch but…” For many men this can be distracting and hard to follow. It helps if you treat it like the game Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon.
Who do they remind you of? – In addition to knowing what people are wearing and who they are connected to, it is also important to highlight any glaring lookalikes. It is not a problem if you have never even seen the person they look like it still must be called out. So if your wife is talking about her lunch date with her friends be prepared to find out that their waiter looked just like that guy from Days of Our Lives. And if she doesn’t tell you, ask.
But seriously: The real question is this: do you really listen when your spouse is talking? This is critical for both men and women. Truly listening to someone shows respect for that person. Are you listening?
What do you think? Add your comments below. (But please refrain from singing “R E S P E C T, find out what it means to me…”
This is a public service message about GPS navigation systems. If you are a married man and you use a GPS navigational system please follow these simple instructions as soon as possible:
- Find the “voice” settings on your GPS unit.
- Select a “Male” voice.
- It is now safe to continue using your device.
Most GPS units today allow the user to select from a range of voices. Selections include male/female, US/British/French, etc. The TomTom units even allow you to download celebrity voices such as Austin Powers, Homer Simpson, Yoda or Sean Connery. The choices are numerous.
For some reason, though, many GPS units are shipped with the default voice set to female. For married men this can pose a problem. No, I’m not talking about improper relationships, I’m talking about our ability to listen. Once a man says “I do” and places the ring on his finger his mind automatically begins to filter out the female voice. This is the gift that allows us to watch football games without hearing our wives ask us to take out the trash. In fact, some men can tune out their wives for weeks at a time. Well, total tune out is not possible for that long of a period, but they are able to filter it down to unintelligible gibberish- much like the teacher on Charlie Brown cartoons. “Wa Wa Wa Wa, Wa Wa Wa.”
Another problematic side affect of having the GPS voice set to female is that men tend to argue with it. This tends to decrease the usefulness of the device.
GPS Unit: “Right turn in 30 feet”Husband Driver: “Nah, I know a short cut.”
But Seriously: Do you tune out your spouse? Wives can be guilty of this too. How many times do we barely listen and simply nod our heads because we’re paying attention to something else? Wasting your GPS unit would be a small problem. Wasting your marriage is tragic. So pay attention!
What about you, reader? Any stories to share of a spouse that didn’t pay attention? Any advice for how to force ourselves to truly listen?
Attention all wives: the fact that many men like the movie character Yoda does not mean we want you to talk like him.
Communication is critical to a successful marriage. That is why today I feel compelled to address an issue that plagues marriages all around the world. The problem is the use of indirect request phrases, or IRPs. When using an IRP (pronounced “urp”) wives present direct orders, or requests, disguised as simple statements of fact or innocent questions. The unsuspecting husband is expected to identify the IRP and solve the hidden instruction in order to take action. It’s kind of like the movie National Treasure without the car chases and suspense.
In another post I recently made a passing reference to indirect request phrases by pointing out how my wife instructs me to take out the trash. (“The trash is full.”) If that were the only use of IRPs I would probably dismiss it and not bother raising awareness about it. Unfortunately, the problem is not that isolated. I’m suggesting a two-prong approach to the problem. My first solution is to simply ask all wives to please…. STOP! Don’t use IRPs on your husband. In fact, every time you do we are going to call it to your attention: “Did you just IRP on me?”
My second solution is for all of us husbands to create a master translation list. This list can provide the IRP verbiage along with whatever translation has been discovered. Using this list will allow us to better identify when our wives are IRPing and to better understand what it is they are trying to say. We can use this post as a starting point. Here are my first few contributions to this very important list.
IRP: “Are you going to wear that?”
Cross Reference: This phrase may seem like a simple Yes/No question, but it should, instead, be translated as “Go change into something nicer and check back with me before you leave the house.”
IRP: “Are you finished with your dinner?”
Cross Reference: This phrase can serve multiple purposes so you have to interpret it carefully. In many cases it should be translated simply as “Take your plate to the sink.” However, if you are a tad portly, like me, this phrase may say something more like “You need to stop eating now! You can’t save the starving people all over the world by eating enough for them too.”
IRP: “We don’t have much in this house to eat.”
Cross Reference: Most men learn fairly quickly that this phrase means “Take me out to eat.”
IRP: “Is the lawn mower broken?”
Cross Reference: This IRP is not as subtle as the rest, but it still causes challenges for many men because of its Yes/No format. Men assume that a Yes/No question should be answer with Yes or No and tend to leave it at that. In this case the translation should actually be something like “Go cut the grass before we lose a pet or child in it.”
But seriously: Word games can be fun, but communication is a critical part of a lasting and loving marriage. Good communication is a powerful tool. Conflict fades in the presence of good communication. Marriages fade in the absence of good communication.
So what else needs to be added to the list? Men, please contribute to the list and help your fellow men. Wives, you can sound off too. Are men guilty of this as well?