I never knew I had a deep need to talk until I got married.
I thought I was a cool, in-control girl who didn’t have annoying female traits like “plenty of conversation”.
Until I began to feel frustrated when my husband didn’t understand what I needed from him.
In spite of the “hints” I dropped all over the place.
I have always been competitive, so in efforts to “beat” him at the equals game, I refused to demand things from him that he did not seem to need from me.
I.e he never seemed to have a burning desire to share everything he felt; fears, his day, his boss, his plans, his friends, his workplace. Such talk was never a top priority.
And so I decided to man-up too.
But my only frustration grew. And slowly it began to dawn on me that maybe…just maybe…he didn’t know what I needed from him in the first place. I needed to tell him.
Right along the revelation was facing up to my pride. Yup, it was one of the things that was keeping me bound in hush-land. It had to leave if I had any hopes of creating a happy marriage.
I would learn quickly that conversing with my husband kept us connected; it was therapeutic, healing, exciting.
I learned I was generally wired for relationship, connection, nurture. And more often than not, most of that connection, relationship, nurture would find expression through words.
So let me introduce myself again; my name is Ngina “Talk” Otiende .
In my marriage, I am the talker, always having something to say, to discuss, to share, to critique, to unburden, to laugh about, something to steam off, just something…
And finally, I am cool with it.
Unfortunately, my cool posture has been interrupted by a large number of women, who just like me (before I knew any better), are determining to switch off … “man-up” or walk the “silent-treatment” road.
I am hearing it more often, that women, especially wives, should keep it shut. Keep quiet and talk less.
But I want to state here and now that a woman is wired for conversation.
She’s an intuitive emotional creature who finds release, healing, excitement, energy in conversation.
Before a girl gets married, there’s a lot of stuff she doesn’t know about herself. Top of the list is the revelation that once married, she would be required to state her needs for her husband to meet them.
That her husband will not just “know” things by looking at her face or reading her mood. That she will have to tell him exactly what she needs for him to meet the needs. And state them not just once, but twice…thrice… if necessary.
After a woman discovers that she needs to express herself, (the what), the next thing she needs to figure out is the “how”, “when”, “where”
Proper communication, not just mere moving lips, happens when she first understands what she wants, chooses the correct time to say it and gets over herself long enough to speak in a language that he will understand. (respect and honor – if its not in your words, you can forget your conversation).
Meeting him at the door while reciting a long woeful day with the boss may not give you what you want. You may want a listening caring sympathizing ear but a tired man may not be able to give that to you.
Allowing him a few minutes to wind down may help.
After accepting your need to talk and learning how to go about it, the next thing is to learn how to wait for answers.
Like most men, my husband is processor. He likes thinking over things and is rarely in a big rush. He likes to have real solutions before he opens his mouth to “talk about it”.
Most of us women are wired to think and process as they talk. Actually, the more we talk, the more we have clarity, the more we feel like our needs are being met because someone is listening (without offering solutions!)
And so we expect our men to be the same; opening up about big decisions, changes, thoughts before he’s had time to think about it. We want him to talk and process his thinking with us.
I am still learning how to give my husband his space. He does try to connect but will usually say something like “Babe, I need to think about this some more”.
That statement used to frustrate me, “Why cant you think about it now and we finish this conversation?”
But I’ve learned, and I am still learning; to let the man be. He will never be like me. I am learning new levels of patience. And doing lots of growing up.
It’s the same with my relationship with Christ. When it comes to needs I have or changes I desire to see in my marriage, I have the temerity to stand right in front of Him, foot tapping, an impatient hand stretched right in to His face.
But God rarely moves according to my schedule. He always listens, always is faithful.
I have found out that one of His reasons for bringing Tommy into my life was to help me become more like Himself. It’s never an easy journey, waiting on Him to change situations.
Yet it is in the waiting room of life that I am changed, that I become more like Him. At the end of the day, He’s really after me…not my husband or the “situation”.
For more communication tips, read this post 6 things wives do that hinder communication in marriage
Question: So how has your journey of “talk’ been like? What have you learned when it comes to better communication in marriage? Let us chat in Comments!
If communication is an area of struggle in your marriage or you simply want to get better, my book “Blues to Bliss” can help! I share our messy journey and how God taught us to speak each others language, building a marriage on grace and intentional giving. Learn more about the book here. You’ll also find purchase links.