"How NOT to fix Your Wife (Girlfriend or Date)!"

- by Steve Roberts

© Steve Roberts - All Rights reserved
Men are dense... in relationships. Men, I know this isn't going to be a
popular statement, but you know that it is true in many ways. We may
state that women are not understandable, that they don't make sense,
they are not logical, or that the particular one we're with is worse than all
the others.

But, the truth is, we're dullards when it comes to the deeper realities of
relationships. There are exceptions, but not very many. For instance, my
expertise as a marriage and family therapist is relationships. But I can
tell you that any woman coming into my office knows more in her little
finger innately about relationships than I do.

Women have been raised on them. When they come out of the womb
they know that physiologically they are just like momma. So, they try
to be even more like her. That's a relational way to grow up.

Little boys come out of the womb and right away know there is a
really big difference between them and momma. And then culture says,
"Go out and find yourself. Find out who you really are like." This sends
us toward a non-relational way of growing up.

So, men, let's face it, we're playing catch-up with women all the way
when it comes to the subtleties of making a good marriage, partnership,
or dating relationship. We just don't "get it" where and when we should.

And here is the rubber meets the road point of this article: We don't get it
about "fixing" women. We have grown up fixing things. And we also want
to fix our mate's problems because that's what we think we're good at.

Unfortunately, women don't need to be fixed, they need to be listened to,
and then they can go fix things just fine themselves. (Men, read that line

The way I get around this with men is that I teach them that "listening is
fixing." It's simply a matter of redefining what we think fixing is in this
context. Remember, "Listening is fixing."

OK, easy to say, not so easy to do. Here's how my wife taught me NOT
to fix her. One day she started saying to me, "This is not helpful to me."
Note, that this is a very functional "I" statement. No blaming, no finger
pointing, and not inflammatory. Just a simple statement about her reality
and she left it at that.

What did I do? I immediately started arguing with her, saying that,
indeed, this WAS helpful to her. At this point she merely said, "And THIS
is not helpful to me," and turned and walked away. She was very
self-composed and non-reactive.

This pattern continued a while (I don't want to confess how long) until it
started to dawn on me that I really did want to be helpful to her, and
since I apparently wasn't being helpful, maybe I ought to ask her what
would be. This is where I learned about listening to women!

She taught me that "Listening is fixing!" That's all she needed, just to be
heard, and then she could go on and do whatever she needed herself.
She just needed the embrace of the relationship.

I've just given you the condensed version. It actually took quite a long
time for me to really "get it," and I still fall into the old pattern, lo, these
many years later. Pam merely says, "This is not helpful to me," and I
now catch on fairly quickly.  Instead of arguing, I have learned to ask,
"What would be more helpful right now?"  Then she gets to tell me what
she wants or needs from me.

Men, we're dense, and we've got alot to learn.

Women, you already know it, but men are dense and have alot to learn.
You can help the process or hinder it, by how you educate the men in
your lives. We need to know what you want and need at any given time.
My wife's self-possession, self-restraint and willingness to educate me is
an example of how to do so effectively. Just don't think it works the very
first time!

Who is Steve Roberts?

       Steve  is an experienced Marriage and Family Therapist who shares tips and real life
      relationship secrets from over 20 years of practice. Married 31 years  to Pam, his
      partner in life and profession, he has personally known the peaks and valleys of the
      couple experience.

Steve Roberts also publishes self-improvement articles at his local blog: Colorado Springs Counselor, mental health articles another of his local blogs: Colorado Springs Counseling, and marriage articles at Colorado Springs Marriage Counseling


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