Do you ever wonder why what you say to your husband never comes out of his mouth as it came out of yours? I do. It never fails, you say, “I want you to come home so we can spend some time together today.” He says, “So I don’t spend enough time with you, we are together all of the time.” You’re thinking what he said didn’t relate to any inadequacy. You meant exactly what you said. No hidden agenda or attempt to discount time already spent; just a simple request to spend time together. We have all gone around and around about the difference between what you said or he/she said versus what the other thinks is being said.
I used to think there was this terrible, incurable communication problem in existence men and women. I thought why are we so different? Then, the more I talked to other couples and researched the more I realized there is a general communication difference between men and women that relates to how differently our brains operate. While we all have unique intellectual abilities that cause us to think and process information differently there is a marked difference between how men and women’s brains process information.
Men have this wonderful ability to, unless you are arguing with our husband and can’t get him to understand what you are saying, compartmentalize. Everything is its own thing for men. It’s all black and white. No room for uncertainty. Men seek to root out uncertainty wherever it exist. They are fixers. Men think, if there is an issue lets fix it. If there is no issue there is nothing to talk about. All is good with the world.
Women on the other hand have more diffused thinking. We can think of everything all at once. For us everything is connected. We often can’t resolve one issue because it is linked to every other issue and unless we can solve the whole thing there is no resolution for one. Men have boxes women have one never ending wire that balls ups, twist and turns, curves left and right and it connects everything to everything.
For men the boxes never touch. They are not connected. There are boxes for everything and they don’t relate to each other. The book Men are like Waffles, Women are like Spaghetti refers to the man’s mind as a having waffle divots. These divots allow men to divide things and place them in their own boxes with related things. Think of a man’s mind as a Craftman’s tool chest, of which my husband has two in the garage that he loves, large and divided with a spot for every single tool, strong and capable of fixing anything but not by using all the tools at once. Each job requires its own tool at every stage.
The tool in that chest are capable of fixing anything. But if those problems touch each other the whole project can fall apart. Women, we are sound boards. Even when the wire is not plugged in all the circuits are still firing. You can move the wire from one plug in to the next and most women would never skip a beat. Neither of these analogies makes either less important to the operation nor does to mean one is more or less responsible for communication difficulties.
Instead, these analogies teach us to focus on understanding how we each operate. Learning how we operate creates space for respecting the differences enough to communicate with each other using the tools that best relay our messages. The task in relationships should be to see and use your partner’s abilities as valuably necessary assets for the relationship’s success. And just like spaghetti and waffles you never know how great they taste together until you put them together.