In order to help facilitate "The Couple's Conversation", i am listing below some of the gender differences that contribute to making this process more challenging. Of course, not all men and women are alike and there are always exceptions to prove the rule; however, most of the elements listed below will be recognized by most couples.
1) Women are more comfortable having longer conversations which makes it frustrating for them when men want to end the discussion prematurely.
2) Men have less interest in many of the details that women want to share and want to get to the point or solve the problem.
3) Since men are not as comfortable with "our relationship" talks as women, they will often avoid or put off the discussions which feels very uncaring and unloving to women.
4) Men will respond more quickly with anger when hurt or cornered which makes it difficult for women to not become fearful.
5) Women will often respond with hurt and tears to conflict or accusations which cause men to shut down and withdraw as they are uncomfortable with sadness and feel guilty for causing their partner's pain.
6) It generally takes men longer to calm themselves down when their anger is activated making relationship repair more difficult for women as they usually want to re-establish the connection more quickly.
7) Men will focus on logic and women will zero in on emotion which leads both to feel frustrated when trying to have what each considers a resonable conversation.
Obviously, these differences have been present for a long time and will not likley disappear in the near future.
So what can you do?
I believe the simple recognition of these differences by each partner can help to minimize taking certain gender communication styles personally. Keeping these differences in the back of your mind will also allow you to give your partner the benefit of the doubt and utilize softer and more caring approaches when holding "The Conversation".
Next Week: Individuation