Why Men don’t listen and Women can’t read maps

Well it is a bit outdated; thankfully we have GPS now! Still the content of this book is more relevant than ever.

Let me start with my personal story. About 15 years ago, we picked up our oldest son from the Marine Boot Camp graduation in Parris Island. We asked for direction a few times. And I am embarrassed to admit that every time I asked a woman for direction — it was impossible to follow whatever direction we received. Then I happened to ask a young guy and lo and behold he gave us correct and easy to follow instructions. From then on I decided I would just ask males for direction — and it worked every time!

I know I have a hard time with directions. I also know several acquaintances who have this problem, — some are worse than others. I must be definitely one of the worst cases. Of course my husband does not have this problem. He keeps asking me while we are driving “Do you know where you are?” and my answer is always “NO”, or maybe I just answer “Yes, in Miami” or “Yes, in Santiago” I even get lost inside of buildings. I simply cannot remember where I am coming from and where I am going. But still so far I managed to get to my destination and on time!. — But I must admit it really is embarrassing.

I hear from 95% of the women I talk to that their # 1 complaint is — “my husband doesn’t listen”. Really? I know my husband tries very hard to listen to me and understand — but for some reason he understands exactly the opposite of what I am trying to say. WHY? Is there something wrong with us? Are we are really coming from two different planets. (Anyone ever came across the book “ Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus”

Photo: Nathan Walker on Unsplash

The other book I came across years ago and proved to be very helpful was — ”Why Men don’t Listen and Women can’t read maps”. Today we don’t use maps any longer but we women still don’t have a good sense of direction. I know this is a general statement but I found that to be true with more women than I would expect.

I have made a lot of progress in how well I communicate with my husband. I understand now, if I am more patient and aware — for example what kind of questions I ask —things are much better. Men seem to think that we women expect an answer, a solution to every problem or many times we just ask and don’t even expect an answer — ”I don’t know” would be just fine. Better yet let’s just minimize the amount of unnecessary questions we ask.

I spent too many years having completely unrealistic expectations of my husband. Of course this is true the other way around too. Now we are taking more time — not simply to listen to one another but make an effort to understand each other on a much deeper level.

One day I had a discussion or more of an argument with one of my sons who was at that time around 17 years old. I had this epiphany “Oh, this is how males think and react. I realized that so much of what I blamed my husband for was simply that he was a man.

I have two sons and two daughters. My daughters would look for partners who think and feel like them. Of course they did not find anyone like that. In fact my sons did the same. I tried to explain to them — but I think there seems to be a big misunderstanding in today’s society of what “equality” means. Yes we have equal value, but we are very different, whether we like or not. That’s why we try to change each other rather than make a conscious effort to first and foremost accept and respect our differences and appreciate them. Then do our very best to understand and compliment each other. Bring harmony into our relationship! This takes a lot of work.

One day I was watching ice dancing on TV. Neither my husband nor I were into ice dancing. But suddenly we saw this ice dance pair at the Olympics in Sochi. It was the american pair who went on to win the Gold Medal. Both of us were captivated by the extraordinary performance of this pair. Later when they were interviewed and the commentator stated that their performance was magical; they replied — ”no it is not magic at all, it is hard work. Many years of hard work. Consistently getting better each time we go on the ice”.

What was most impressive in their routine was the harmony of their movements. This is how it is in life!! Marriages would we so much happier and last longer if more couples would realize that it takes a lot of workand it is all worth it! The reward is great. The joy of discovering a whole new universe through your partner! This is a lifelong journey.

So let’s go of unrealistic or false expectations and realize that there is so much to discover within ourselves, our partner and the world around us and enjoy the process of discovery.

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