Chaplain (Capt.) Jeffrey Botsford
U.S. Army Garrison North Community Family Life Chaplain
I truly love having the opportunity to work with couples and individuals concerning their marriage.
First and foremost, couples differ in communication. The typical female (I’m stereotyping) is better verbally than her husband. Her vocabulary is more than double her husband’s.
Most men are talked-out by 2 p.m., so it’s hard for them to verbally communicate when they get home. And sometimes, men don’t quite know how to express themselves.
It’s not that men don’t love or desire to talk; they just have nothing to say. That is how they’re wired, so guys, give your wife the chance to talk, and ladies, it’s okay if he doesn’t talk.
Men also have something women don’t have: a nothing box. Men enjoy seemingly brainless things like fly-fishing. Most women cannot do that. Women typically are multitaskers; they do many things at once. Men can’t.
So, when a husband is just starting at the TV and doing nothing else, that’s OK. And when a wife has four or five projects going while she is watching TV, that’s OK too. That’s how she is wired.
So, when a woman needs to give her husband vital information, make sure he is listening. Get his attention; make sure he’s looking at you. Men can do one thing well, and if he’s reading the paper while you are sharing with him, he won’t remember anything you said.
One of the biggest areas men and women are different in is in the area of sex. Dr. John Gray writes in his book, “Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus,” that the two genders are far apart in their interest and desire in this area.
I also heard someone explain these differences well using a jet plane and dirt bike: Men are like dirt bikes. Turn on the gas, kick-start the bike and you’re off and running. Women are like a jet plane. It takes a long time to warm up, a long time to taxi and then a long time to take off.
Many couples don’t understand these differences; many believe that their spouse is just like them in the romance department. For example, the husband may think his wife should be as interested in sex as he is, and the wife may think that sex is all her husband thinks about and she’s just not as interested.
How do you handle these situations?
I like what Kevin Leman wrote in his book, “Sex Begins in the Kitchen,” about how men need to love their wives all day — and not just when they are interested in evening romance. Romance begins, he explains, in the kitchen, helping with the kids’ breakfast, cleaning up after the kids, changing diapers, doing housework, playing with the kids, and taking your wife out to lunch. Romance is doing things with and for the family. Husbands should try this type romance sometime and see what happens.
I have seen many couples who are having challenges in their relationship. Most of their issues are about not understanding why their spouse acts or does the things he or she does.
The best way to begin to make your good marriage a great one is to talk with your spouse about the issues you are struggling over. Each person needs to really listen to what the other person is saying and make the necessary changes. If you listen, your relationship with each other will become sweeter and more fulfilling.
I like what Bernard R. Brickner said, “Success in marriage does not come merely by finding the right mate, but through being the right mate.”