I believe I was about 4 months pregnant with my 2nd son. I was so upset about something (I can’t remember what right now- but it was really important!) I was in our bedroom crying when my husband walked in. He was just popping his head in to get something as he was enjoying the Bears game downstairs. He didn’t realize he had walked into the tornado or he would have done without whatever he came in to get! I started crying even harder and telling him what I was upset about. He started offering suggestions and giving different ideas to help. In my pain, I shot every one down. I wasn’t even listening- that’s not what I needed. I think it finally hit him, remembering from previous conversations, what I needed. He took me in his arms, let me cry, and told me it was going to be ok. I cried for a minute longer and then felt better. I looked at him and said, “If you would of done this 20 minutes ago you wouldn’t have missed the whole quarter of that game!” We both laughed. He realized what I was really needing was comfort- not suggestions.
It’s amazing to me how different men and women truly are. I have to be honest- sometimes I ask God, “What were you THINKING!?!?” I see it played out day after day with the couples I work with, with my friends in their relationships, and played out in my own marriage.
I don’t mean to be stereotypical by any means but I am just stating what I see everyday. Generally, men are fixers and women are relational/feelers. Time after time I see a woman sitting on my couch crying and sharing her pain. Her husband feels so helpless that he starts offering suggestions and things they can do to “make it better”. I see the tears turn to frustration and anger. She doesn’t want him to fix her, she wants him just to “be” with her. Hold her, let her know he is there, or just empathize with her pain. This is where I literally wish I had a pause button. I would pause the session and say to him on the side, “This is where you just hold her and listen. Let her know you are here with her.” Then hit play and watch it play out. It would go 100% better.
There is not anything wrong with how we were created. I trust that the good Lord knew what He was doing when he created us so differently. We just need to understand those differences and find ways to love each other despite our differences. It is also our responsibility to share with our partner exactly what our needs are. If I had not ever shared that with my husband, he probably wouldn’t have thought to do that.
The week after Thanksgiving, I will talk about one way women can actually help when their husband is in pain.
Thank you so much for reading. I hope you have a great week!
Written by Natalie Chandler
Natalie Chandler, MA, LMHC is a therapist at Imagine Hope Counseling Group. Natalie enjoys doing marriage counseling, individual counseling, and couples counseling. We also specialize in family counseling, child, and adolescent counseling. Imagine Hope serves the Indianapolis area including the surrounding areas of Carmel, Fishers, Noblesville, Westfield, and Zionsville