A man’s default impulse when they are told about a problem is to come up with a solution. Whether they know every detail or not, as soon as they hear a problem, they start formulating how they will attack the problem. Broken toy, he can fix that. Car fan belt broken, he can fix that.
The problem comes when a man’s wife comes to him with what he perceives as a problem.Whether he knows it or not, he immediately begins to analyze the problem to determine a solution. Trying to fix every problem, though becomes problematic in and of itself.
Many times, your wife may simply be venting. She may already have a solution in mind, but wants to get the whole issue off her chest before she explains how she plans to handle it.
Other times, she may simply be venting and just want to blow off steam.
Too many men say not to bring them a problem they can’t or aren’t supposed to solve. This is the wrong attitude. Even if the man is not supposed to solve it, they are partners in this world for better or worse.
What they can say though, is give me a problem to solve, tell me what to do, and let me do it. A lesson for both of you is that no one likes to be micro-managed. I’ve said many times to my wife, you can tell me what to do, but not how to do it.
So when presented with a problem from your wife, don’t automatically switch to solution mode, make sure the solution is welcome first. Remember that
Here’s the practical advice:
- Listen First – Hear her out. Let her get it all out and don’t interrupt. Only when she’s ready should you offer to help fix it.
- Practice Emotional Empathy – It’s not always easy to do, but try to understand her feelings on the issue. Work to understand her perspective.
- Be a Sounding Board – Let her think out loud or brainstorm. Give ideas and talk about the pros and cons of each.
- Follow Through – If you accept a problem to solve, do it. Don’t let her down. This doesn’t mean you can’t ask for help, it means you have to do what you say you will do.
- Do What is Best – If the problem affects the family, or your relationship, make sure that the solution is one that is best for your unique situation. Don’t allow any “fix” to break something else.
Above all else: Love Your Wife!