Really, Ladies… He Can’t Read Your Mind

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Why does my marriage work – and work so amazingly well?

Communication.

Yeah, I know.  You’ve heard it all before.  “Communicate with your spouse. Talk about your needs, your hopes, your dreams, your fears, your anxieties and little irritations.  Work through them, and you’ll have a great relationship.”

But you’ve tried and he doesn’t listen.  Or maybe he seems to but then he does (or doesn’t do) the same thing the next time.  And you can’t figure out why he doesn’t seem to care because after all, you wouldn’t dream of being so cavalier about things that are important to him.

Let’s take a pretty basic example, and say he forgets to put his socks and underwear in the hamper.  Instead, he just drops them on the floor and there they sit.   So you have to pick the items up yourself and toss them in the laundry.

Socks

Or his concept of “doing the dishes” is to “do the dishes” and nothing else.  The mat under the drainer doesn’t get washed, the stove doesn’t get washed, and the counters don’t get cleaned up.   So after he’s done with the dishes, you have to clean up after him.

Stove

Annoying, huh?

Yes, it can be.  If you allow it to be.  Or you can “communicate”.

Unfortunately, too many women think that communicating involves having your man read your mind.   I know; I’ve been there. “Look at this mess!” you sigh, pointing dramatically and world-wearily to the socks on the floor (or the grease splatters on the stove).  “Mess?” he asks, confused.  “Your socks are on the floor!”  And he looks briefly befuddled, then hurriedly picks up the offending items, tosses them in the laundry and starts to head off.

Man with Laundry 2

And you’re ready to shriek.  And may, in fact, do so if this is the 137th time you’ve complained about the socks.

And he’s confused.  After all, the problem is solved, right?  The socks are in the laundry.  So why are you standing there, annoyed, and acting as though this man who is a complete brainiac at the office is a total doofus at home?

Here’s where you get to communicate.  “Before you leave for work every day, please pick up your socks and put them in the hamper.”

It’s that simple.  No drama, no sighs, no expecting him to read your mind, no picking up after him.  Just a simple statement of what you want done.    If he doesn’t do it, leave them there.  But don’t do it as a punishment, or as a passive-aggressive way of getting even; do it as a consequence.  If he doesn’t pick them up, they won’t go into the laundry. And they won’t get washed.

The next day, repeat “Before you leave for work, please pick up your socks and put them in the hamper”.

Why should I have to do that?  you may ask.  Shouldn’t he just get it?  He’s not a child!

And there’s the rub.  That attitude, the “I have to handle everything, he’s behaving like a child, he should know better” long-suffering dialogue you have with yourself is the problem, not the socks.

Man with Laundry

If you want something, just tell him.  If it doesn’t get done, tell him again.  As long as you do it without drama or impatience, most men will gladly try to remember to do whatever it is to make you happy.

By the way, this goes for sex, too.

If there’s something intimate you want him to do or think you would like, tell him.  Don’t expect him to read your mind.  Just tell him.   (More on this in a future blog.)

To be continued…

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