Eggerichs points out in this chapter that God "made them male and female" (Matthew 19:4). We are different. God created us that way. Eggerichs says that when men and women communicate it is as if men are wearing blue hearing aides and look through blue sunglasses and women are wearing pink hearing aides and look through pink sunglasses. We see and hear things differently. Because of this we 'speak' a different language. For example, when a woman says she has "nothing to wear" it means she has nothing that makes her feel good/pretty. When a man says he has "nothing to wear" it means he has nothing clean. It's the same statement but two very different meanings. If a woman said that within a group of other women they would probably say "Honey, we need to take you shopping and get you something cute." If she were to say that with her husband he would probably look at her and say, "Honey, you have a whole closet full of clothes."
Men and women speak in their own code, and quite often what is being said isn't really the true issue. "Often, we focus on our own needs and simply overlook the needs of he other person. The wife needs love; she is not trying to be disrespectful. The husband needs respect; he is not trying to be unloving." (p. 32) "Husbands and wives keep spinning on the Crazy Cycle because they don't understand that what seems to be the issue isn't the issue at all. The real issues are always love and respect. Everything else is just filling in the details." (p.38) In order to prevent or stop the crazy cycle we need to learn to decipher these codes.
One particular section in this chapter really hit home for me.
Men Hear Criticism As Contempt;
Women Feel Silence As Hostility
Let me ephmasize to wives that when men hear negative criticism, it doesn't take them long to start interpreting that as contempt for who they are as men. Remember, the man is wearing blue hearing aids. When his wife sends out those pink but very pointed messages. . . he soon says to himself, I don't deserve this kind of talk. everybody respects me except you. You're just picking a fight. I wish you would just be quiet.
When a husband can take it no longer, he gets up and walks out without a word, and that is the coup de grace. He might as well have screamed at the top of his lungs, "I don't love you!" The wife is dazed. First, she has been treated unlovingly. Second, she has tried to move toward her husband by doing the loving thing. And now he has shown her he is the most hostile, unloving human being on the planet by just walking away and leaving her there! . . .
Often both spouses have goodwill but are not deciphering each other's code. She criticizes out of love, but he "hears" only disrespect. He distances himself to prevent things from escalating, which is the honorable thing to do, but she "sees" only his failure to be loving! (p. 38-39)
Let's just say that I really needed to read this. I tend to be a lecturer. . . I do it with good intentions, but after reading this I see how my good intentions can get viewed as criticism and contempt, and I understand a little better how my husband feels when I do this. I'm praying that God will help me to be a more respectful communicator.
I also pray that God will help me not be so absorbed in my own needs that I forget that my husband has needs as well. I have a tendency to be so self absorbed that I not only overlook my husband and his needs, but I also forget there is a whole world out there full of needy people. Over the last year God has opened my eyes to this tendency of mine. I've been trying to be more aware of other people's needs, to practice hospitality, to be an encourager, and show myself friendly. The points made in this chapter fit in perfectly with what God has been teaching me. God is such a patient teacher!