Nice class on Sunday. I appreciate the comments and suggestions. I also appreciate the questions and concerns.

We spent much of the class talking about being "open" with husbands, but with an emphasis on the question of how to communicate at all. Men and women are very different in their communicative styles (not ability, but method). Men tend to be very simplistic in their communication style, which is to say they tend to speak in order to communicate data. They think things out before speaking and say the thing they have decided to say. 

Women are far more complex. Women tend to say things not just to communicate data but to build relationships. They communicate differently with different people and tend to interrupt happily as part of the communication. Sometimes,  you will see two or three women speaking together and all of them appear to be speaking at the same time. This would drive men crazy, but women communicate this way.  They listen with the same care that they speak and they understand "what someone meant" even if that was not what the person said. Women use various context clues in a conversation.

So, what happens in a marriage is that you have two people with different styles trying to do different things. The wife, as is her nature, wants to grow the relationship with her husband and communicates in that sense. She will refer to a person as "him" or "her," assuming her husband knows of whom she is speaking. She will drop hints about things she would like him to do, assuming he will get the hints. This is a natural way for her to speak. If she says "wow, that trash can is certainly getting full," she thinks he will draw the conclusion that it needs emptying and that he will empty it. 

The trouble, of course, is that he is a man. He thinks that each person says precisely what they mean. He does not listen to you with any idea that he is in a mystery or that you are leaving clues for him to solve. He wants, more than anything, to know what it is that you want. If you say "wow, that trash can is certainly getting full," he will either agree or disagree, or he may ask "do you want me to take it out?" He is unlikely to go through the mental process of thinking it all out to reach the completely conclusion that "she wants me to take it out." He will probably think that you are noting that it will need to go out soon (it is "getting full" as opposed to "it is full"). He figures that if you wanted him to take it out, you would say so.  If he asks if you want it taken out, that is about as good as you are going to get from him, and to respond with "of course I do, didn't you hear me" is not positive.

Learning to speak with men effectively is very important in life; learning to speak with your husband is absolutely critical. He is the one person in the world who loves you entirely. He would be glad to take the trash out, just ask him. Your less direct methods (which are great with your female friends) only create a disconnect with him. 

None of us, deep down, want our marriages to be "magical mystery tours" in which we have to solve the various clues our spouses leave us. We want to know we are loved, to know we are needed, and to know what we need to do.

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