DOVE NOTE #3: Take It Like A Man


(from the forthcoming book “Dove Notes”)

For most people, there will inevitably come a time in the relationship when the woman will take issue with something the man has or hasn’t done. This will usually result in a tirade of sorts, which details all of the many ways that he has failed and/or fallen short of her expectations. It is during these moments that the man must realize and accept his role in this situation: grin (or not) and bear it.

Now why would I tell you to do this? It’s simple really. As crazy as this might sound, she’s not exactly criticizing you. She’s actually expressing her disappointment in your actions in hopes that you will once again become her superhero, or at least the man she fell in love with.

Okay, so lets back up.  Here’s an example scenario and how it plays out…
_________________________________________________________

You are watching TV and she comes and stands in front of you looking rather disheveled and clearly upset.

HER: I am so tired of you watching TV all the time! Whenever I look up, you’re watching TV! It’s like an addiction! You keep telling me you’ll take care of things as soon as the show ends, but I come back to find that you’re already watching ANOTHER show!

HIM: Wait. What?

(You try to look past her to see the TV, but notice the exaggerated movements of her arms and hands as if all at once they might disconnect from her body and fly straight toward your face.)

HER: I need you to be mindful of the rest of us. While you’re engrossed in your TV show, we’re right here in front of you. These are the times we could be spending together as a family. Instead, your head is somewhere else!  And you have the nerve to get an attitude with me when I interrupt you! This TV thing is driving me crazy!  I’m halfway thinking of getting rid of all the TVs in the house! 

(She pauses for a moment and takes a deep breath before continuing. She sounds much calmer.)

HER: You know, it would be a lot easier for me if you just had a set scheduled time to watch TV each day. That way I would know not to bother you or expect anything from you during that time. But this is getting out of hand.

HIM: Look, I…

She cuts you off.

HER: I don’t need you to explain. Just tell me. Can you give me a schedule?!?

(At this point, the conversation can go in two very different directions. You can stoke this fire until the ensuing inferno wounds everyone. Or you can diffuse the situation and simply say…)

HIM: Yeah, I can do that.

(She walks away.)
_________________________________________________________

Now normally, the guy would take issue with what appears to be an attack on his character. But you have to learn to understand what she’s really saying to you. This is not a discussion. To her it’s not even an argument. She’s not expecting (and really doesn’t want) you to day anything. This is her telling you how she feels.  She’s letting you know that she enjoys being spending time with you and that doing so is important to her. She doesn’t want you to get defensive. She just wants you to acknowledge her frustration, and demonstrate that her feeling are important to you.  It’s like a bite with a kiss chaser.

If you can get past your bruised ego and issues with pride, you will find that she will draw closer to you for your sensitivity. You will score points for your selfless understanding and for validating her feelings. Which is all she really wanted in the first place. Just don’t try to understand the logic behind her method. You will only wind up hurting your brain.

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