Couples often are skeptical about their ability to slow down and listen to each other. They look at me with extreme doubt, as if to say, “really, who listens to their partner and then says, “…so what I hear you saying is….”
It’s true that such a slow, deliberate and careful way of speaking to each other seems unnatural. Part of the reason may be that couples don’t do this very much and so our brains are not used to communication style.
Also, the architecture of women and men’s brains are different. Women’s brains are geared towards expressive language, nurturing and appreciating the complexity of human experience. On the other hand, men’s brains are geared toward focused problem solving and a linear view of experience.
Women faced with a problem tend to want to explore, deconstruct, and understand the problem in all it’s complexity.
For men, the problem is a challenge to face quickly and efficiently.
More on the differences between men and women, especially related to sexuality, later.
Focus now on empathy, listening, and effective communication skills.