One of the top problem that women complain to me about in couples therapy is that they cannot get their man to listen. As you are already aware, the female chatter about men being too distracted by fantasy football, football stats, ESPN pre-game, and ESPN post-game – it doesn’t end when I leave my private practice. My girlfriends, my acquaintances, my kids’ friends moms . . . Truth be told, it’s one of the things I have been known to whine about when I am feeling ignored by my hubby!
Even when men are distracted by work, football, or other hobbies, they sometimes have bad habits that include dismissing our concerns or getting a flood of testosterone and fighting with us when we are trying to talk to them! Some men get flooded and go into fight or flight mode just knowing that we want to discuss a problem with them. Let’s face it. We all know that female complaints about men not listening are not ESPN zone type news. Nope. This is the kind of common problem that the announcers talk about every single game day. So, what to do about it?
I have been experimenting undercover now for a while, trying out all my best relationship tools and tactics with my own amazing hard-working husband who loves NFL football on Sundays, Mondays, and Thursdays. (Just in case one day was not enough, there are three). And I have been taking notes about what works and what doesn’t work when women report back after I have coached them on how to get their men to listen.
Women, based on some tried and true clinical and personal experiences, I announce to you – Here are the Top Five Plays You Should Make When Trying to Get Your Man to Listen to You!
#1. Think End Zone. Start any conversation with your man by sharing the purpose with him. Men are goal-directed more than women, so it’s good to tell him what the End Zone goal is! If you do not want his advice, then start the conversation by asking him if he will just listen and show support for a few minutes. If you would like him to help you make a decision about whose house you are going to for Thanksgiving dinner this year, ask him if he will discuss that with you and come to a decision.
#2. Make Your Man the MVP. MVP’s do anything, anything for the team right? So, when he is a team player and listens to you whenever he is not working or playing football – make a big deal about it! Tell your friends and family in front of your husband how great he is about planning out details with you for the family schedule and how he listens to you when you have had a bad day at work. When you are doing the #1 play above, tell him that you are sincerely thankful he listens to you (unlike all of those second string douche-bag men out there).
#3. Remember Field Goals Help. Ok, I don’t want get to corny here (although I was raised in Nebraska), but I believe that every time our man resolves a relationship problem with us – well, that is like a Field Goal. Sure, it’s not the Sexy Touch Down with the extra point that a date night followed by time in the bedroom is, but the field goals do help the team win when it comes to the big picture of your relationship! So, whenever your man works out some kind of relationship problem with you, make sure he knows he just scored a Field Goal in your relationship world.
#4. Challenge a Bad Call. Most men like reasonable structure and rules when it comes to lots of things including when you are challenging them (AKA bring up a relationship complaint). I recommend that you tell your man that you are going to challenge him and ask him to give you a time when he will discuss your challenge/concern. Remember that if you just start complaining without warning, he is more likely to either start fighting with you or shuts down. Plain and simple, you can make this work for you, and I have seen the results time and time again. Women who remember to do Play #4 get a resolution, whereas women who forget end up with drama.
#5. Half-time shows are still a highlight! Remember that you want to be a part of your man’s world. Instead of fighting against golf, football, hiking, or whatever his hobby is, flirtatiously ask your man if you can be the half-time show. Seriously, barter with him and say that you will support his hobbies but you need him to do his part on the team which means setting time aside for your half-time show date night and time together.
My End Zone Goal is to help you have Less Drama and More Success in you Relationships. I know that these plays can be helpful during this Football season to get you some Wins in the Listening Category with your Man! Try them out and let me know how they work, so I can add your data to the Play Book…