DOVE NOTE #6: Learning To Take A Hint

For the women… here’s an FYI:

A good number of men, myself included, tend to be very straightforward thinkers by nature.  When we’re hungry, we say, “I am hungry”  and we go get food.  So when it comes to relationships, we prefer to have your expectations clearly defined.  We are more than willing to do things that make you happy, but we prefer if you take the guesswork out of it.  This method is far more likely to get us into a habit of consistently doing something you like.  We don’t like to guess because, well…  we honestly don’t like the way you look or act when we (inevitably) guess wrong.  If you want something, tell us exactly what you want.  We are not inclined to “read between the lines” or follow up on a hint, no matter how cute you said it or how obvious you may consider the hint to be.

Many of us are not accustomed to understanding things based solely on an implication.  So if you want a foot rub, do not say, “You know what would really be nice? A foot rub.”  We will simply agree with you.  “Yeah, a foot rub would be nice.” and go back to watching TV.  But if you say to us, “Honey, will you rub my feet?” that will give us an opportunity to be the doting husbands that we are.  We want you to know that your wants and needs are important to us.  But if you say something like, “I think you should rub my feet” it simply comes across as a command and sucks all the joy out of doing it.


This does not mean that we can’t learn to take your hints. But you have to understand two very important things:

1. This will not be learned overnight.  We will make a concerted effort to recognize and act upon these seemingly arbitrary and inconsistent hints. But you have to give us at least a good year for it to sufficiently take hold. Anything less than that and you’re just setting yourself up for disappointment.

2. You will have to actively participate in our hint education. This means that the first few times you want something, you need to make it plain.  Not cute or sweet or giggly or in a joking manner. PLAIN. Like, “Babe, I would love for you to install the ceiling fan before Saturday.” This way, you have given us a goal and a specific date by which to have it completed. SCORE!  If by contrast you say, “When are you going to install that fan??” On the inside we’re thinking the 15th of NEVERuary.

For the record, we do NOT differentiate between hints for mundane activities and hints for special occasions. This means that just because your obvious hint has to do with your birthday, anniversary, losing XX pounds or “that one time the baby laughed and it sounded like Elmo”, it does not translate into sudden realization and acceptance on our part. You must take extra precaution when prepping us for special occasions. Do not expect us to somehow remember “next time” just because we bombed the year before. Men are not born with the automatic emotional follow-up gene. This is a learned behavior. So remember, pleasing you is something we actually enjoy. So why not give us every opportunity to get it right?

Categories: Dove Note, marriage, relationships, Series | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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