The 4 Words Men Dread

Years ago when I would say to my husband, “We need to talk about our relationship”, I truly had the belief that if we would just sit down together and he would just listen to all the reasons why I was unhappy, things in our marriage would improve. I wanted to talk about it and was quite convinced that this was the answer to cure all ills, solve all problems, and mend all fences. I didn’t understand or comprehend how the words, ‘we need to talk affected him even though time and again I would try this approach and receive defensiveness, irritation, anger, distance or complete shutdown.

I would like to say that I quickly learned from this experience, but unfortunately I did not. Later, as my son was growing from boyhood into manhood, I continued this same unsuccessful pattern. When there was a need to correct or discuss his actions or some other concern, and I began the conversation with ‘we need to talk’, I would be met with guardedness that often led to him reacting in anger or shutting down.

It wasn’t until I was able to set aside my pride and started asking questions that I was able to see things in a new light. I found that many women are like me. We want to talk about the relationship because talking about it makes us feel better and helps us move through our upset. Talking helps us sort through the layers of emotions that we experience. When we are in a state of upset and resentment, we feel disconnected. And often, beneath the disconnection, we have a fear of being alone and unloved. Because we find connection through communication, we believe the upset will be relieved by talking about it.

Men don’t want to talk because talking about it doesn’t make them feel better and often makes them feel worse. When a man chooses to marry, he does so believing that he has the ability to provide what will make her happy. In these ‘we need to talk’ conversations, our dissatisfaction and unhappiness makes him feel like a failure. Beneath the thoughts of failure lurks their own fear and shame. I also learned that for some men, just using the words, ‘we need to talk’ can take him back to those experiences as a child where he was called to task by his mother and punished – again inciting thoughts and feelings of failure.

Understanding and honoring each other’s vulnerabilities and fears can create new possibilities and ways to create more connection and partnership with one another. The best thing we each can do to create the connection we desire, is to work on our own personal inner remodeling. Begin by making peace with your own demons and fears. Seek to understand the fear beneath the emotions you feel and the ways you react. As we gain better understanding of ourselves, we are better able to honor another person’s feelings and fears.

What has been your experience? I would love to hear your thought. Please comment below. I also invite you to subscribe to our newsletter by completing the information below or you can choose to follow our blog by clicking the box to your right.

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