After reading my summary of Chapter 7 in Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus, JKnitt asked a good question:
It’s all fine and good to say that, “she needs your love, support, and attention. But she doesn’t want your advice on how to fix her problems, Mr. Fix-It.” But to quote the great Ralph Wiggum, “that’s unpossible!”
I’m not going to speak for all guys, but I don’t know how to show love and support WITHOUT offering solutions. (So if you could fill me in on how to do that I’d be much obliged.)
Well, JKnitt, or Ralph Wiggum…Can I call you “Ralph”? Remember that a woman’s main need is to be heard, not to have her problem solved.
Woman: Work is just so stressful.
Man: Honey, I’m sorry. (::HUG::) What happened?
The hug shows that you love her. Asking a question shows that you’re concerned, and it allows the woman to vent and achieve what she really wants: for someone to listen to her.
Woman: Sally is always making my life miserable.
Man: Sally’s a b*tch. (::HUG::) What did she do now?
By taking her side about Sally, you are showing support. Again, notice the question technique that allows the woman to speak and the man to listen.
The primary problem isn’t Sally (she’s the secondary problem). The primary problem is how your partner feels, so your solution should be how you can make her feel better, not how to put Sally in her place.
Woman: I just have so much to do!
Man: (::turns off the TV, and then hugs woman::) Let me give you a massage while you tell me what I can help with.
First give your partner your full attention. By asking her what you can help with, you are offering support, and the hug and massage show your love.
And this response even incorporates a man’s need to offer a solution. The hug is part of the solution because it will make her feel better. And by helping her, you are the solution. How cool is that?
Men, when in doubt, hug. Ladies, please feel free to jump in with more suggestions.
Ladies, you’re welcome for the massages you are all about to receive.