In marriage, who are the better communicators – men or women?
Most of you probably thought “women” as you were reading the question. The question that needs to be asked then is what are the reasons behind men being poor communicators in their marriages? This lack of communication can cause many problems. Wives don’t “get” their husbands. Husbands brand their wives need to be heard as nagging and inadvertently retaliate by growing distant — in both word and deed.
A common joke revolves around husbands not taking out the garbage or taking too long to do so. Wives brand it as general laziness. Husbands get indignant about it. It is no joking matter at all. Taking issue with not taking out the trash speaks to the larger and more consuming belief by wives (real or imagined) is that they don’t feel appreciated/taken care of/loved in their relationships. If this is allowed to fester for too long, any hope of having a happy and healthy marriage evaporates and the death of the relationship becomes inevitable. So why not just nip all this drama in the bud before it happens? Is it that hard to talk about it?
The short answer is yes.
Passive Aggressive Husbands
Passive-aggressive Behavior is described as a personality trait that is a cocktail of negative thoughts and feelings mixed with passive behavior, an obvious but denied (by the person doing it) resistance to work with others. It is an unbelievably destructive and manifests itself in a number of ways some of them being helplessness, procrastination, being generally moody and what is perceived as being unable to meet and fulfill requests, such as taking out garbage, planning vacations, paying bills on time, etc.
Passive aggressive behavior typically has its roots in a person’s past. For men:
“…when a man was a child, …if he had a need, and was feeling it keenly, what happened when he expressed it? If he was guilt-tripped for being too ‘needy,’ shamed for being a baby or a whiner, he probably taught himself to just shut up when he needed something from other people. In order not to feel pity for himself, he would have then taught himself that repressing emotions and sucking things up was an admirable trait ““ a feat of skill, something only a manly man could achieve.
“A future passive aggressive man, in order to learn how to control himself and not open up, would have shown his frustration in ambiguous ways, like falling behind in school, even if he was very smart.” (Source: PR.com)
As a boy I sought the approval of my peers so badly I did so at the expense of my own wants and desires. I didn’t want to appear whiny if I disagreed. At the beginning of my marriage I thought it was best to agree with my wife, even when I didn’t agree, to keep the peace and to keep her happy. Almost immediately I began self-sabotaging the things I “agreed” to by becoming uncontrollably and inexplicably angry when it came time to do them or I simply didn’t do them at all or put them off until a war erupted between us.
Quickly my wife came to believe I was incapable of making any decisions and taking action for myself or the family. I had no idea what she was talking about and thought she was the most ungrateful woman on the planet. It got so bad that we had to seek counseling.
When the smoke cleared I was told I needed to stop agreeing and start speaking my mind, no matter the consequences. I was doing more harm than good keeping my wants to myself. I didn’t like being told that I feared disappointing others and avoided conflict. But sometimes the truth is a bitter pill to swallow.
Men are quick to dismiss, often unwilling to self-address their issues and highly unwilling to be called out on them by anyone, especially a woman, even if that woman happens to be the one they married. But if something doesn’t give, the marriage will.
How Do You Know if You’re Passive Aggressive?
I recently discovered a great website called the Passive Aggressive Test. They have a short online quiz that will determine if you are passive aggressive in your marriage. I took the test and got mixed results. I’m halfway in the clear, but still need to do more to express myself to my wife.
If you feel your woman constantly says you don’t do anything and you know you are tuning her out and doing what you want to do, I would strongly encourage you to take this test. In my opinion it’s the first step to getting back on track. The test is private and an algorithm will tell you about yourself. Not a person. There’s no harm in finding out. This way you’ll be informed as to what steps to take next. The harm exists if you discover you do exhibit PA behavior and you continue to allow it to cause conflict in your marriage.
Wives, do you think your husbands suffer from passive aggressive behavior? Have you tried to talk to them about it? Husbands, as the man of the house, do you think your wives should accept you as you are, or do you believe there is room for improvement? Does trust factor into your unwillingness to talk?
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