Revive Our Hearts Podcast

Leslie Basham: Why does it seem like men and women have such a hard time communicating? It seems like we can’t even agree on a definition of the word game.

Drama:

Woman: Honey, let’s do something fun tonight.

Man: Yeah. How about, let’s watch some TV.

Woman: No, no, no, no. I was thinking more of, like a game.

Man: Yeah. That’s a good idea. I think the game’s on right now.

(Sound of TV being turned on and baseball game announcer in the background)

Woman: I am not talking about a TV game (sound of TV being turned of). I’m talking about a board game.

Man: Oh.

Woman: You know, a board game with the kids.

Man: Yeah.

Woman: Okay. If not a board game, how about we read to them?

Man: Yeah. I know, we could do that after the game.

Woman: Which game?

Man: The game (sound of TV being turned on and baseball game announcer in the background) on TV, it’s starting right now.

Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss for Wednesday, July 30.

Have you ever felt frustrated trying to get your husband to communicate more? Today we’ll hear how different languages might be at play.

Here’s Nancy in a series called The Politically Incorrect Wife.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: I’m so delighted to have with us on the program this week two new friends who are going to help us explore a subject that I think is one of the most common areas of frustration that women face in their marriage today.

We’ll tell you what that subject is in just a moment, but first of all, Nancy Cobb and Connie Grigsby, welcome to Revive Our Hearts.

Nancy Cobb: It’s wonderful to be here. Thanks for having us.

Connie Grigsby: Yes, thank you.

Nancy: I think I know you a lot better after reading a book that you’ve written recently called How to Get Your Husband to Talk to You. I just saw that title and before I even opened it, I thought, “This is something that’s going to be of interest to a lot of women.” The very woman who thought, when they were courting, “I just love the fact that he is so thoughtful and reflective and quiet” now six years into the marriage is struggling with the fact that she can’t get him to say six words.

This whole area of communication in the marriage relationship is such a major issue in many women’s lives, and you’ve written a book that I found hard to put down. In fact, I’m not married, but I still found it hard to put down because it has so much to say about relationships in general.

So I want to encourage our single listeners,who may think, “This doesn’t apply to me because I’m not trying to get my husband to talk to me, I don’t even have a husband.” If you know any men, in the work place or your church or people that you’re trying to relate to, this is a wonderful tool just for building and strengthening relationships.

We do want to focus, particularly, on the aspect of marriage, and the fact that men and women speak a different language. And as women, if we’re going to have good conversational relationships with men, we need to learn how to speak their language.

What brought you to even want to address this subject?

Connie: Nancy and I had such a heart to want to write a book that would get into the hands of a lot of women, both married and non-married, Christian, non-Christian. How could we do that and what is the topic that all would be talking about? It just came to me instantly, how to get your husband to talk to you, because men typically over the years tend to grow quieter in the marriage.

As you first meet and date and court, they’re wooing you. They may be putting that best foot forward, and, of course, you’re doing the same. Then you marry. The wedding’s over, the marriage begins, and many times the men step back in that communication, and that causes a woman’s frustration level to increase greatly. So we realized this was a topic that needed addressing.

We saw that often husbands had become the enemy in the marriage to the wife, and we had seen this in our own lives. We had both struggled in our own marriages. So many times women hear us and they think, “Well, they’ve got a cake walk of a marriage.” We’ve not had a cake walk. We’ve struggled, so we wanted to point out some of these differences, some of that language differences. Men don’t usually learn to talk women, so we wanted to encourage women to learn to speak male.

Nancy: You have learned this both, or are learning it both in your own marriages, and I appreciate the fact that in your book you were so honest and transparent about some of the issues in your own marriages.

Connie, you’ve been married now how many years?

Connie: Twenty-two years.

Nancy: Twenty-two years. Your husband’s name is . . .?

Connie: Wes.

Nancy: Wes, and you have . . .?

Connie: Three teenage daughters—twins that just graduated a week ago as we’re taping and a 13-year old.

Nancy: So you’ve been 22 years down this road of learning to develop communication.

Connie: Yes.

Nancy: And Nancy, you’ve been married even longer, right?

Nancy Cobb: I have been married 44 years to my husband, Ray, and we have four children. One of the things that we’ve found out is that women stop men from talking. The number one reason men don’t want to talk to their wives is women have a tendency to over-react, and not only do they over-react, but what they over-react to is the truth.

In my own marriage, for instance, one of the character traits my husband has that I so admire is he is direct and he’s to the point. I loved that about him when we were dating. After we got married, I began to see that in a different light. I saw that directness and to the point as being slightly rude, so I spent the next number of years trying to help him overcome something that was his strength. Then as I began to grow in my Christian walk, I saw that there are many different ways the Lord makes personalities.

My personality softens things when I speak. My husband’s doesn’t. That doesn’t make him wrong, and it doesn’t make me right. So now I’ve come to appreciate his directness, and so do the children. They know that they can go to their father, and their father will come out with a direct answer that is very well thought out. They take his point of view and receive it well. So that was a huge hurdle for me, and I think that’s the biggest problem that men and women face in their communication.

Nancy: So you really had to come to the point where you were recognizing that these differences are not necessarily bad or wrong, but they’re okay. You could accept those differences.

Connie: And you can expect those differences.

Nancy: Expect the differences.

Connie: Yes.

Nancy: That’s good. Now, in your book you suggest that these are some common differences between the way men think, the way women think, the way men respond, and the way women respond. What are some of those typical differences that are fairly common across the board between men and women?

Connie: Well, some of the ones, Nancy, and again, these are general. Every individual is different. These are so general, but by and large:

  • Men express love by doing.
  • Women show love by being; they’re feelings oriented.
  • Men are action oriented; they express love by doing.

I can remember as a new bride saying to Wes, “Honey, I don’t feel loved,” and he would say, “What can I do that would make you feel loved?” I would say, “You can put your arms around me at night; you can reach over and take my hand if we’re at the movies; you can kiss the nape of my neck.” And he would say, “What does that have to do with love?” That just blew my mind, and I said, “It has everything to do with love.” And he said, “I show love by going to work every day, by bringing home a paycheck, by mowing the lawn, by changing”—he went through a whole list. I was thinking, but I don’t think I said it, “What does that have to do with love?”

  • Women want to be cherished and nourished and appreciated.
  • Men want to be admired and respected.

We show love differently; we receive love differently. Another thing they don’t do:

  • Men don’t worry, fret, and fuss.
  • Women show love by worrying, fretting and fussing.

If my children are sick, or if Wes is sick, or if my mother has a cold, or if Nancy has a cold, I’ll call and say, “How are you feeling? I’m so worried about you. Can I do anything? Let me get you some chicken soup.” And if I’m sick, Wes may say, “How are you feeling, Honey?” And I’ll say, “Okay,” and then he’ll say, “Okay, then I’m going to go do something or other.”

My girls and I drove back in a horrible snowstorm in 1997 from visiting my parents in Oklahoma. It shut the city down for three weeks. Some people were without electricity. It hit about Kansas, and I was in a mini-van that literally would go all over the road. I would see a semi coming at me, and I was praying, “Lord, keep us safe,” because I had no control, and you couldn’t stop.

I got to Yorkton, Nebraska, and I had to go east to Omaha, and I went in and said to the truckers, “Is it safe?” They said, “You can go east, but you can’t go west; west is totally shut down. Be very careful, but you can get to Omaha.”

So I got us to Omaha, and I went dragging into the house, and I thought, “Wes is going to be peering out of those wooden blinds every two minutes. I walk into the house. He wasn’t there to greet me, and I walk through the house. He wasn’t there. I finally found him in our bedroom watching a football game, and he said, “Oh, you’re home.” And I said, “Weren’t you worried sick?” I was just so, “Haven’t you been watching for us?”

And he said, “You know, Connie, you have so much common sense. I knew those girls were safe in your hands. I knew you’d know what to do. If it was dangerous, you’d pull over; if you could make it, you’d make it.” Well you know what that did, that made me angry. I was so mad. I wanted him to worry, fret, and fuss, but men just typically don’t do that.

So when you learn these things, you can let go of them. And what that does is, it liberates you to love your husband. You stop holding your standards over someone else, and you say, “Lord, help me love my husband as You’ve made him, as males are. I recognize these things.” You become free is what happens when you do that.

Nancy: So what you’re really saying is we need to recognize that there are these differences, to accept them rather than always reacting against them, chaffing against them, and to realize that in those differences are some lessons for us.

Our tendency to express love by worrying, fretting, and fussing isn’t necessarily the best way to respond to life. One of the things that we can learn as we watch the way that men interact is that, when we do worry, fret, and fuss, it doesn’t necessarily change anything or make it better.

Connie: That’s right, and I remember Nancy teaching one day (Nancy and I were teaching a class). We were talking about this issue, and she said, “The Bible says don’t worry—don’t fret or fuss, that’s another edition—it doesn’t add a single hour to your life. So actually, a male’s perspective, a husband’s perspective is the more spiritual, yet we hold it against them so often that they don’t do it."

Nancy: So we really want to celebrate those differences and thank the Lord for them and make the most of them. We need to realize that those differences may be the very thing that God uses to mold us, to make us more like Christ, to conform us to the image of Christ. We really need each other, including those differences.

Connie: Yes.

Nancy: What are some of the other differences between the way women communicate and the way men communicate, and how does that affect us in our relationships?

Nancy Cobb: Well, in my own marriage, and again, we’re speaking in generalities, my husband likes the brief stories. He doesn’t like it when I go on and on and on. It doesn’t matter to him that the dress was pink that our daughter was wearing and that she got chocolate spilled on it and that Tide would not get the spot out. It doesn’t matter to him, these details, so he even says to me, “Is this going to be a long story?” Well, no, it’s not anymore because I have appreciated that about him. He just wants the Cliff Notes.

  • I like to give the novel.
  • He wants to hear the Cliff Notes.

Nancy: Did you always appreciate that?

Nancy Cobb: No.

Nancy: Did it sometimes bother you when he said, “Is this going to be a long story?”?

Nancy C: I thought that that was rather rude, “Doesn’t he want to share in all the details of my life?” Well actually, he did not, so why not be the one who adjusts? The Lord created me to be my husband’s helper. That means I am to adapt myself to him. If he wants a shorter story or the shorter version of something, that’s what I’m going to give him. It’s opened up communication between us because I’ve now learned how to draw my husband out. One of the things I’ve learned, one of the skills I’ve learned over the years is how to listen.

If I ask my husband a question, I wait for him to answer. I look at him as he’s speaking to me, and then I spring off what he’s just said to me so that he thinks (and he should think) I’m really interested in him. I want to know how his day went. Then he answers and again I spring off of that and pretty soon he has turned from a man who was a silent guy, a little bit like the John Wayne type, to a, I won’t say babbling brook because he doesn’t actually babble, but what he does is, he lets me in on his innermost thoughts. It has revolutionized our marriage.

Nancy: But you’ve had to be willing to make some adjustments in the way that you communicate.

Nancy Cobb: Well, I can save my long stories for Connie or for our daughters who love long stories, or for my sister who loves the longer versions, and that’s going to be fine with me.

Nancy: I don’t think your husband is really unique in this matter. Men are often more inclined to want to say to us, “Land the plane.”

Nancy Cobb: Yes.

Connie: Yes.

Nancy: And that’s not easy for us.

Connie: We were doing an interview, I can’t remember when, but the host said, “You know, gals, here’s the truth: Men listen to the first two or three sentences of what you say, and then research shows that after those first sentences, they shut down. It doesn’t matter what you’re saying, they’re going to be thinking about something else, so get to the point.”

Nancy: Get to the bottom line.

Connie: Most husbands are like that, “get to the point and move on, because then they’ll hear the point, but if you wait too long, they won’t hear it.”

Another thing that they’re different in, and we were just discussing at the break, was how men love to solve our problems. This is one of the things that we teach that just drives women crazy. They don’t understand why a man can’t just listen and hear without coming forth with a solution.

Nancy: Just be sympathetic.

Connie: Yes, just listen to me. Don’t solve my problems, just listen to me. We hear this time and time again. But you know the reason men want to solve your problems, the reason a husband wants to help his wife in this way is because he loves her; it’s because he feels responsible for her; it’s because he cares about the family; it’s because he wants to be the provider, and that’s his way of showing love.

So when a woman can begin to see, “He’s not trying to irritate me by solving this problem. It’s not that he’s not wanting to listen. He’s showing his love for me in this way.” It puts a whole new skew on why he’s doing what he’s doing, and it can cause her to actually learn to appreciate that about him.

Certainly it’s still fine to say, sometimes I’ll say this to Wes, “Honey, I’m going to tell you this, and all I want you to do for the next minute or two is just listen. Don’t offer any feedback. I just want you to hear me, and then you can tell me what you think.” He’ll look at me like, “Why on earth would you want me to just sit here quietly?”

Nancy: That’s not productive.

Connie: That’s right, “This is wasted time, but if it means that much to you, I will do it.”

So you can just accept them and begin to see that they’re solving your problems because they love you—not because they think they know it all, not because they think they’re smarter than you. We’ve given men such a bad rap. Husband bashing has become so popular in our culture that we slam them with every tiny little thing.

My husband said to me just last week, “Why do women expect men to have an intimate relationship with them when they’re criticized and condemned every time they do something, every way they do it? Women always seem to know a better way, a quicker way, a righter way, but yet they want intimacy.” How tired does a man get, and how long is he going to jump through hoops before he gives that up and just says, “It’s never going to happen”?

Nancy: In the way that we communicate, we really can either be tearing down with that negative, critical spirit or building up the one that we want to have that right relationship with. And nowhere is that more important and maybe more neglected than in the marriage relationship.

Connie: Yes.

Nancy: You talk also about men needing processing time. What do you mean by that?

Nancy Cobb: They need processing time if you have a problem. For instance, I wanted to go to Virginia to visit my father recently, and my husband needs more processing time than just I need to go tomorrow. He needs some time for me to talk about it, for him to think about it. He enjoys my being there, but he doesn’t really like being alone. So if I give him enough time to process it, then oftentimes he gives me his wholehearted blessing to do something that I want to do. But if I just throw it at him, it’s too much for him. He doesn’t like it when I handle things that way.

Connie: Or maybe your husband is just coming out of a meeting and you know it’s a big meeting. If when he comes home you say, “Tell me everything that happened at the meeting.” He’ll say one or two things, and you say, “Well, tell me more.” My husband has actually said to me, “I just need some time to think about what happened at the meeting. I’ll share with you later.” It may be a week later.

Women are more, they process as they go. As they’re thinking and talking, they’re processing.

Nancy: We process by talking.

Connie:

  • Women process by talking.
  • Men need time to reflect, sit back, in general, chew it over in their own mind, and then they’ll be ready to share.

We expect that quick 1-2-3. We can do it. Why can’t they? You see, it goes back to, “Why don’t you have our strength? Why don’t you do what we do well?” We never get on to, “Let’s look at their strengths.” Their strengths are different. They do things differently. It’s a great thing. They don’t have to be like us.

Nancy and I both say sometimes to gals, “We used to think if our husbands could be more like us, we would be so happy.” But that’s not the way God wants it to be. That’s not the way He wants us to think, and we need to remove some of that expectation from our husbands and just embrace them for who they are.

Nancy: I think it was Elisabeth Elliott in her book Let Me Be a Woman, she points out to her daughter who was at that time getting ready to get married, "Remember that you’re marrying a man—and that’s a good thing. You don’t want him to be a woman."

Nancy Cobb: That’s profound. That’s good. That’s so true.

Nancy: I think to recognize that those are important and valuable differences rather than letting those become the irritant that ultimately tears the marriage apart. How many of us as women are really wanting men to start acting in ways that are more womanly? We really don’t. We wouldn’t want that, but we act as if we want them to be more like us.

Nancy Cobb: And that’s such a shame, because men are made to be male. We take that maleness away by trying to make them become more like us, and we don’t want that. Then we go on the attack often and criticize them for being wimps, which they’re not. They just have been put down.

Connie and I have a heart for women to love their husbands and to accept them the way they are without criticizing them, without trying to change them. When we accept them the way they are, when we love them that way, that’s our first ministry. That’s one of the ways we glorify God. If we want an intimate love-relationship with Christ, we have got to pick up our first ministry, and the first ministry that God has given a woman who is married is being a wife. If we’re not going to do that well, we’re going to begin to stumble in other areas of our lives as well.

Connie: There’s a great verse that ties in with that. It’s found in Romans 15:7, and it says, "Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted, you in order to bring praise to God" (NIV). When I began to realize that to accept Wes as Christ accepted me, wow, what a thought. And why? It brings praise to God, and God inhabits the praises of His people. He glories in that, and that’s what I want to do.

It doesn’t matter that he’s different. I want to accept him like Christ accepted me. I want to experience all that God has for me, and one of the best ways to do that is to begin accepting your husband the way God created him to be.

Nancy: I wonder as you’re listening today if you’re thinking about areas where your husband is so different from you and you have battled those differences, you’ve resented those differences, you’ve picked him apart for those differences, you’ve told other people how irritated you are by those differences. What God is saying to your heart today is, “Accept your husband. Accept him for who he is, the personality he has, the spiritual gifts and inclinations that he has. Don't try and make him over or change him or fix him, but consider it a privilege to be his helper, to accept him. Connie, you touched on the basis on which we can do that, and that is the fact that Christ has accepted us.

So we need to ask, not only in relation to marriage, but in our other relationships as well, “Am I accepting those that God has put into my life as a gift from God? And am I accepting them in the way that Christ has accepted me?” When I do, particularly in the context of marriage, then in greater oneness of heart, that couple can bring glory to God.

Leslie: Nancy Leigh DeMoss has been talking with Connie Grigsby and Nancy Cobb about approaching relationships with God’s glory as the goal. Understanding the way other people think and communicate will help you. This is especially important for husbands and wives.

Nancy Cobb and Connie Grigsby discuss this in their book How to Get Your Husband to Talk to You. If miscommunication or lack of communication causes conflict in your home, I hope you’ll contact us and get a copy of this book.

When you make a donation to the ministry of Revive Our Hearts, we’ll send you How to Get Your Husband to Talk to You. When you visit ReviveOurHearts.com, it’s easy to donate and follow the instructions for having the book sent to you.

If you’d rather call with your donation, make sure to ask for How to Get Your Husband to Talk to You. The number is 1-800-569-5959.

Please make sure to let us know the call letters of your radio station when you contact us. That information will help us know that the program is making an impact in your community.

Now Nancy is back with a final thought.

Nancy: Well, as you know, we are in the middle of a hotly contested election season, and candidates are spending a lot of time and energy trying to get your vote. I want to request something else from you, and that is your prayer.

Would you intercede for our nation during this time of great decision? As people grapple with big issues and the best way to solve them, we need to be praying that they would seek God for the deepest issues of their hearts and of our nation.

The need for prayer is so urgent during this time that some dear friends of mine, Shirley Dobson, Kay Arthur, and Vonette Bright have organized a campaign that I believe is the most vital campaign taking place this year. They’re inviting people to pray for 30 minutes at twelve noon each Thursday. Would you make plans to pray tomorrow? They’re inviting people to pray in small groups in churches, homes, or work places each Thursday for 30 minutes beginning at twelve noon. Would you make plans to pray tomorrow?

For details on this important prayer initiative, visit ReviveOurHearts.com and follow the link we’ve posted there. I’ll be praying tomorrow and I hope you will, too.

Now, have you ever asked God to change your husband? Perhaps God is actually in the process of changing you. We’ll talk about that tomorrow on Revive Our Hearts.

 Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss is an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

 

*Offers available only during the broadcast of the podcast season.

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