Let’s look at some examples of miscommunications.
Mom says, “Would you like to go out to dinner Saturday?”
Dad replies, “I don’t know, maybe.”
So, let’s break it down. So from the planet Venus, mom is actually saying that she would like to have a date night with dad and wants him to make plans and reservations to their favorite restaurant. She is also wondering who is going to set up plans for a babysitter.
While Dad hears the question and thinks that it’s up to him if they go out to dinner on Saturday night. That is all his thinks. He doesn’t read into the question anymore.
If you have never heard of “I statements” they are simple. Here is an example.
Dad replies, “A date night sounds nice.”
This is direct and uses a non-confrontational approach. It also opens the conversation up to more questions about babysitters and more plans.
Women (myself included) often have difficulties with a direct approach because it’s just not how we are wired. It takes some practice to get good at it. We are more wired to give subtle hints. What I mean is we want to talk about how beautiful flowers are or how that necklace in that store we saw is gorgeous. What we really mean is that I would love you to buy me that necklace and flowers for my birthday.
Men often see this as small talk and put it in the back of their minds that you think flowers are necklaces are beautiful, I mean what women think flowers are ugly.
I am not saying all men or women are wired this way. This is just years of insight into what I have experienced along with many other couples. I wonder if cavemen and women had their own difficulties?
Anyways, an easy fix about your birthday presents would be to literally state what you would like. I personally have even made a wish list of what gifts I would like. I know my husband appreciates it. He often does the same for me. If you want more of a surprise the list can say, jewelry that makes you think of me or he may write some new shirts for me that you like. It gives an option of what you want with their discretion and keeps some surprise.
It can be hard to work together on the same page when you are parents if you are struggling to directly communicate with each other. Some phrases or even looks can be construed very differently as well.
It’s not that you are trying to achieve opposite goals by any means. It is that when people’s brains are wired differently, you have to find an effective way to talk to you both realize you are on the same page. It can take some trial and error, but being direct with respecting each other’s feelings is the best way I have found for us.
In my house, chores are separated by age. The teenager has a list and chores each day. I try and take care of the chores inside the house and my husband the outdoor chores. However, if I see the lawn looks less than perfect and my Chihuahua is now getting lost in the grass, I may ask him if he needs help. I have learned that comment about how the grass is getting long can seem critical. He gets defensive thinking I’m judging him on not mowing. Just as if he tells me, wow there sure is a lot of dirty laundry in the kids’ rooms. I can get easily upset as I might have been deep cleaning all day and haven’t gotten to the laundry. They are simple comments that aren’t meant to be mean, but there is always a better way to say something. And ASK FOR HELP if you need it. A simple hey, could you please help me with the kids’ laundry is much better than becoming upset when you want help and don’t ask.
And believe me, the children sense this as well. They might not know what is going on other than, yikes, mom and dad have some tension. As they say, “you can cut the tension with a knife.”
So it’s ok to be from different planets and sometimes is nice to be able to be different, but when it comes to speaking your mind and communicating on the same page, you have to find a planet that works best your relationship. Even if it means meeting at Saturn and not Earth.
On a final note, when you learn to communicate more efficiently as a couple, your parenting style will also reflect this. You can not only be a united front and understand each other, but it also teaches your children how to communicate properly.