“Does this dress make my butt look big?”
Woah, Dude! Shut my mouth! Is this a trick question? How do you answer a question like that? You are about to enter a minefield. If you do answer, do so at your own risk. What if she actually has a big butt? Not a lot of wiggle room there. Women should know better than to ask the question that way (grow up and quit asking questions that require your man to lie). In a survey I read recently, women resoundingly responded that the perfect answer is “No, you look great.” It’s simple really. Really? Any answer you give could be famous last words. 😉
The point is… your words can get you in big trouble! Men need to learn to think before they speak. Paying attention to what you say can really make a difference and earn you a few brownie points.
I had a coaching session recently with a man who was prone to say what he thought needed to be said without considering how his hurtful words were driving a wedge between his partner and him. He was quick to anger and what he said almost always led to a much bigger disagreement.
Almost everyone has found themselves in a situation where they don’t know if they should bite their tongue or speak their mind. He knew, however, he usually plowed straight ahead, hurting her feelings, even though he knew when he was doing it that it was wrong. His choice to keep going was a disastrous decision. It nearly always led to a major communication breakdown.
I reminded him of something Mark Twain once said, “It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt.” It’s important to know when to speak up and when to stop running your mouth.
I asked him to look at the “what” behind his communications to his partner. “What” good can possibly come from raising your voice and purposefully talking down to your partner? His answer: “I don’t know.” I don’t know is not a good answer when you are receiving coaching and voluntarily came with your partner to fix the problem. When he began to look at the effects of his communications – on others and himself – we began to get somewhere.
I turned to her and asked her how it felt when he spoke to her that way? She reached for a tissue and said, “Awful. I love him and I hate it when he talks to me that way.”
I turned to him and asked, “How does that make you feel?” His answer: “Bad, but she… (blah, blah, blah)!”
“STOP,” I said! “This is not about her, it’s about how you are treating the woman you say you love.” From there we began to make some progress.
For the most part – right or wrong – guys have the reputation for not expressing themselves to their partner. It is good to merely “be” with your beloved, to be indulgent. Here we are talking about the lack of sharing how they feel about something. Some are considered close-lipped, closed-mouth, hush-hush, private, reticent, secretive, silent, tight-lipped and uncommunicative. Generally speaking, they do not like to talk about their feelings and they usually don’t listen very well. There is a lesson here: You can always learn more about your partnership if you listen more than you talk.
You must zip your lip when you feel the urge to say something hurtful to your partner. Getting the last word when having a disagreement with your partner is rarely ever a good thing. It only exacerbates the situation.
Remember that it’s not always what you say but “how” you say it. Angry? It’s better to keep the peace. Practice your shut up! It’s a matter of respect! Please think before you speak! You have no idea just how smart that is. You cannot un-ring a bell. Sometimes it’s better to “think it” rather than say it!
BONUS Articles: Does This Dress Make My Butt Look Fat?
“Do These Pants Make My Butt Look Big?” and Other Questions You May be Tempted to Ask Your Partner
Five Reasons Men Go Silent, and What to Do About It (Part One)
Five Reasons Men Go Silent, and What to Do About It (Part Two)
Copyright © 2014 – Larry James. This idea is adapted from Larry’s books, “How to Really Love the One You’re With: Affirmative Guidelines for a Healthy Love Relationship,” “LoveNotes for Lovers: Words That Make Music for Two Hearts Dancing” and “Red Hot LoveNotes for Lovers.” Larry James is a professional speaker, author, relationship coach and an award winning nondenominational Wedding Officiant. He performs the most “Romantic” wedding ceremony you will find anywhere. Something NEW about relationships is posted every 4th day on this Relationships BLOG.
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