Me: "Honey, what do you think of my new outfit?"
Norman H: "Well, it looks comfortable."
And then I return it.
I have learned over the years that "comfortable" is code for "that looks like pajamas." So I'll either go and change, or if the tags are still on the garment, I'll march it back to the store and try again.
Do you understand "husbandese"? It's a language, you know. Men often think and speak differently than women do, and we are wise if we'll learn how to speak their language, as well as being able to read the unspoken signals that are often sent. Here are a few examples:
1. "I'm not sure about that..."
Translation: "Let me think without pressure."
If your husband utters those words, don't press. How can we follow the leader if we're running ahead of him and telling him what to do? "The thoughts of the diligent tend only to plenteousness; but of every one that is hasty only to want." (Prov. 21:5)
2. "I can never please you..."
Translation: "You are criticizing me again."
This is a dangerous phrase, because it indicates a pattern of miscommunication. Did you know that repeated suggestions could be perceived as criticism? Have you been bringing up a topic over and over again, in the hopes of solving something? It may be time for counsel if you've been stuck in this rut for a while. Counsel is not a sign of weakness; it's the evidence of a desire for wisdom and understanding. "In the multitude of words there wanteth not sin: but he that refraineth his lips is wise." (Prov. 10:19)
3. "Would you let me think?"
Translation: "Be quiet and let my processor run."
When we're talking and yapping and pushing and demanding, it drives a man loopy cuckoo. Learn how to make a statement, and then follow it with silence. Men generally like to handle things one item at a time; not in multiples of ten! "He that hath knowledge spareth his words: and a man of understanding is of an excellent spirit. Even a fool, when he holdeth his peace, is counted wise: and he that shutteth his lips is esteemed a man of understanding." (Prov. 17:27-28)
4. "Now is not the time."
Translation: "Let's talk about this later."
People who know how to wait are peaceful in their souls and pleasant companions. Do you have to be answered right away about each and every little thing that you bring up? If so, you're a toddler in a grown up body. Nobody likes living under constant stress. If home is not a refuge, where can a man go for peace? Practice waiting. "Better is the end of a thing than the beginning thereof: and the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit." (Eccl. 7:8)
5. "You are always buying things."
Translation: "Would you please follow a budget?"
Men generally want to provide for their families, but may feel like they can't keep up with a wife who is the fastest draw in the west when it comes to swiping a credit card! Discuss your financial goals and make plans together. This way, neither of you feels like the other one is being unfair. If we're spending up the money as fast as it comes in, we can't complain when our husbands have to work longer hours to keep up with our lifestyles! "There is treasure to be desired and oil in the dwelling of the wise; but a foolish man spendeth it up." (Prov. 21:20)
Listen to your husband. Really listen. Sit down and look him in the eye when he's talking. Put your arm around his shoulder when he's had a bad day and let him recount all the gory details. Listen with compassion, but don't try to fix anything. Most of all, learn how to understand what he is saying. With practice, you can become fluent in your husband's language.
"She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life." (Prov. 31:12)