The No-Talking Way to a Better Marriage

If you aim to make your husband fidgety, stressed and uncomfortable, simply utter the words, “Honey, we need to talk.”

While talking about feelings can be soothing to women, for many men, it has the opposite effect, according to psychotherapists Patricia Love and Steven Stosney, co-authors of How to Improve Your Marriage Without Talking About It. Stosney’s research, which includes studying hundreds of human and animal responses, shows males and females respond differently to stress from birth. For instance, baby girls need to make eye contact if they hear a loud noise, while boys need to withdraw to prevent overstimulation. As they get older, girls and women use talking to cope with stress, while boys and men pull away to cope.

The authors explain men tend to feel shame if they feel they don’t measure up. So, a woman initiating a conversation about relationship problems can cause these feelings of shame to well up. Other likely results: glazed eyes, defensiveness, or withdrawal (to TV, man cave, sports, etc.).

Why? Love explains when a man feels shamed by his sweetie’s criticsm, the stress hormone cortisol floods his body. A woman might feel a similar stress hormone rush if her husband yells at her.

So are there better strategies to address relationship issues? Thankfully, yes. Stay tuned for the next post, which will give you the four new tools to keep you both calm and cool, and perhaps more likely to please one another.

Let’s hear from you. If you’re a man, do you agree with this assessment that talking about your feelings is about as pleasant as eating sand? If you’re a woman, do you find relationship discussions put your partner on edge, or are they successful?

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5 responses to “The No-Talking Way to a Better Marriage

  1. This is very interesting!
    I’ve been very unsuccessful in “talking” to my husband about …any changes in “us”. He always get worked up and angry and defensive and sometimes he just starts yelling before I even get started o.o; What I then end up doing is I move my focal point to the beginning of the conversation instead of easing him in because he doesn’t give me enough time to ease him in. So in the end he only hears the criticism, but not the reasoning.

    …I’m looking forward to ideas on how to fix this.

    • I’m glad you ladies can relate. You’ll find the tools posted, and a link to a more detailed article. Let me know when you try these new strategies how they work! Thanks for keeping in touch.

  2. “baby girls need to make eye contact if they hear a loud noise, while boys need to withdraw to prevent overstimulation”, so intriguing!

  3. Ack! I don’t wanna wait until the next post to learn more! This is SOOOO interesting.

    I had no idea that girls and boys respond differently to stress like that! I am dying to learn more. So much is starting to make sense!

    This seems bang-on. Oftentimes, when I try to initiate a serious conversation with my husband he seems to immediately get edgy. He always expects bad news and assumes that I am getting ready to criticize him. Maybe it’s just biology at work, and I need to find a new approach to dealing with problems with him. Thanks for another intriguing post, Lori!

  4. Pingback: The love part of the truth in love | Daily Generous Husband Tips

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