We are still here in the village of Serowe doing this massive family building campaign. It is so exciting to hear daily of lives changing for the better.
The goal of this campaign is to teach practical family building skills. Each day we take a different issue and teach practical tips on how to deal with that. One of the underlying issues that most every issue centres around is communication and conflict resolution. Let me share some comments that men are saying and hope that this helps some people’s marriages.
I have had at least three men come to me and say “this is their reality”. Three DIFFERENT MEN! Same story! Women- I hope this helps you. It goes something like this, “Every night I get home and my wife is watching soapies. I wish she wanted to talk to me, but I am not going to beg her to talk to me. Even when I tell her I want to share what I learned today in class, she only listens with the TV on and keeps laughing and following the TV. It hurts me to know that she can’t turn off the TV and turn and listen to me with her full attention. But I don’t want to fight so I keep quiet and either go do something else or leave the house. But, today I learned that when I go home, I have to share my feelings. I have to share with her and say something like this. “My love, I had an interesting day where I learned something new which I believe will help our marriage. I really would appreciate being able to share this with you but not when I am competing with the TV. I understand you are watching this show. Would it be possible that in 30 minutes you turn off the TV and turn to me?” The goal is that he is learning to share his feelings. He is sharing exactly what he wants and giving an actionable plan of how to get it. But, this is not easy for anyone to do – though it seems so simple.
It takes vulnerability to say how you feel and what you want because there is always the fear of rejection. There is the fear that you can state that and your spouse won’t do it and that really hurts! So, wives, please if your man is trying to talk to you, you can state something like this, “I am enjoying watching this soapie, but I would rather talk to you than watch TV. You are more important to me.” Express how you feel because then next time he is watching football, you can say the same thing! However, please note that he gave a time of when to follow it up when he said “In 30 minutes.” The idea is not to punish the other person or take away something they enjoy watching. The hope is to find a good time for both of you to listen to the other person and for both of you to feel important. It is doubtful that anyone feels free to share their heart with someone who has both eyes on the television and is not really giving you their full attention.
I just thought this was interesting feedback because we tend to generalise an assumption of men that they don’t want to talk. We usually assume women are the ones who want to gab to their hubbies about their day. I hope this is an encouragement to you that women your man wants to tell you about his day, but if he in any way feels you are not interested, it is unlikely he will beg you or even communicate that to you. Therefore, you need to make a conducive environment for him to feel free to share. Find time every night before you go to bed before you both get too tired to sit down and with both eyes and ears on him, ask him “Baby, how was your day? Did you learn anything new? Did you have any interesting discussions that you think would interest me? Did something frustrate you? Did something make you happy?” Ask specific questions to begin to build a home where conversation flows freely. In that you will also begin to share your feelings and emotions. These are the habits which become building blocks to good friendships. Deep friendships build emotional intimacy which is even greater than physical intimacy in the long run and certainly sweetens the physical intimacy. So today – go home. Turn off the TV. Look at each other and TALK... really talk! Both of you are more important than the TV so demonstrate that with your actions.
*Ashley Thaba is a popular motivational speaker, family building facilitator, author and Producer of the hit TV show, Talking with the Thabas, which has strengthened thousands of marriages and helped countless families become stronger. Learn more about her work at www.ashleythaba.com or view her work on her YouTube channel: Ashley Thaba. You can buy three of her books: Dive In, Making Marriages Fun, and Conquering the Giants on her website. Email her at [email protected] or follow her on Facebook: Talking with the Thabas.