Monday, November 06, 2006
she said / he said

As the wedding plans continue to progress and things are entering their final stage, I think it's safe to say that stress levels are mounting. Witnessing other friends go through the process when they got married might have given me an inkling of what it's all like, but of course, going through it yourself it quite different.

Nothing compares to firsthand experience, eh?


photo modified from mr.potatoe found via flickr

One of the things that has been interesting (at least IMO) has been attending premarital counseling sessions with my fiancee's pastor and his wife from her church. While we're using a book as the basis for the sessions, the pastor has been flexible (and skilled) enough to often move the conversations to a more deeper and engaging level... which is also often peppered with entertaining anecdotes from the pastor's own marriage (or his wife's version of the events).

This past week, the topic of the conversation was "communication."

I think some people are under the impression that a soon-to-be-married couple communicates via clairvoyant telepathy, however I'll be the first to admit that there are times that I'm completely baffled by the things my fiancee says or does. It's like we're speaking different languages, but hey... men and women having problems communicating?

Gee, like that isn't a novel problem. (rolls eyes)


As a man, I will confess that sometimes I chalk up issues of miscommunication to the fact that all women have certain aspects of bizarro logic and craziness in them, whether obvious or hidden.

  • Exhibit A: Why do some girls maddog each other? (as in this funny incident recorded by a fellow blogger?)

  • Exhibit B: Why is the universal response to the question, "What's wrong?" always is "NOTHING." even when something IS wrong? (see previous comments about mindreading)

  • Exhibit C: Why do girls resent being asked to make decisions about things? (is it as James theorizes?


I'm not sure where this entry is going, but I don't mean it as a diss against all the women of the world. I have a lot of respect for women; I was raised by a widowed mother and (kinda) helped to raise a little sister. I guess all of this is a long way of saying that because there certain differences in the way men and women are acculturated to think and behave, and these differences show up in the ways they interact and communicate with each other... and these interactions only get magnified once you're married to someone and pretty much living your entire life with them. (duh, right?)

The pastor who's counseling my fiancee and I commented how we're quite similar to most of the couples he's counseled in terms of communication styles - men being predominantly "cognitive communicators" (facts, ideas, judgments) while women being predominantly "emotional communicators" (verbalizing how they feel or how they think others feel about facts, ideas, judgments). However, the key point that came up in discussions was that rather than expecting to master the other person's style of communication, the first skill that needs to be learned is "how to listen."

An excerpt from the book:

What is listening? Paul Tournier said, "How beautiful, how grand and liberating this experience is, when people learn to help each other. It is impossible to overemphasize the immense need humans have to be really listened to. Listen to all the conversations of our world, between nations as well as those between couples. They are, for the most part, dialogues of the deaf..."

What do we mean by listening? When we are truly listening to another person we are not thinking about what we are going to say when he/she stops talking. We are not busy formulating our response. We are concentrating on what is being said. Listening is also complete acceptance without judgment of what is said or how it is said. Often we fail to hear the message because we don't like the message or the tone of voice. We react and miss the meaning of what was being shared.

By acceptance, we do not mean agreeing with everything that is being said. Acceptance means understanding that what the other person is saying is something he/she feels. Real listening means that we should be able to repeat both what the other person has said and what we thought he was feeling when he was speaking to us.


December is coming up fast.


bizarro logic.


i would say that it gets easier, but really, it doesn't... :) it does get better, though.
I have no comment on Exhibit A, except for my observation that the person seems very angry about something. Big surprise there. Heh.

As for exhibition B, it's just a matter of wanting to avoid the subject and conflict, but if prodded, we'll talk (or rather, bitch). Though wanting to avoid conflict is understandable, I think it's actually harmfun for the relationship by not talking things out. That said, I still am guilty of it. :/
I highly recommend the video Love and Respect (there's also a book which I assume is the same material). It explains very well about how men and women communicate differently.
haha, I'm looking forward to you dispensing more advice when you give the sermon on my wedding day.

angry women? nah, never happens! ;)

funny enough, the fiancee is actually reading the "love and respect" book right now... our marriage counseling pastor gave it to her.
i hope you're gonna read it too! it's good stuff.
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5. Jeremiah 31:33

the facts.
name. Gar AKA "that Chinese guy" "Sleepy.McSleeping"
ethnicity/nationality. Chinese/American, 4th gen.
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occupation. less-cynical poor grad student
age. younger than you think, older than you know



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