You know that old John Mayer song, “Say What You Mean to Say”? It’s so simple, yet profound, right? Why is it so hard to simply say what we actually mean at times? And, why is this especially tricky in a marriage?
Whether we are trying to be polite or avoid a statement that just sounds too blunt, we can often end up completely confusing our spouses with our loaded lingo. Then, we get upset when he responds to what we actually said instead of what we were meaning. Men can certainly be guilty of saying things they don’t really mean as well, but I will have to challenge my hubby to cover that territory and enlighten us on some of those in a future blog post.
As I have said in previous posts…when we are married, we get ourselves in big trouble when we expect our spouses to read our minds…although, let’s be honest…it would be awesome if we both could. I have certainly made this mistake a time or two…or three…okay, but who’s counting, really? The bottom line is communication is already hard enough that we don’t need to have a kind of female code language, but nevertheless, we often do. Are you with me? If not, then, you are ahead of the rest of us. Way to go. If you are catching my drift, then the following statements may ring a bell. Let’s throw our husbands a bone here and fill them in on our secret verbiage. Husbands, here are 6 things women say but rarely mean (in no particular order).
This first one is dangerous territory…
1. “Do you think she is pretty?”
Now, husbands, this is a loaded question, and there is not a lot of room for mistakes here. When we ask you this, we are acknowledging that the woman in reference is obviously attractive. We know that you probably think she is pretty too. What we really mean is, “Do you think she is prettier than me?”. I know this is a very insecure question, but sometimes, we just want to hear you tell us that you only have eyes for us. We don’t expect you to go through life with blinders on, but we want you to see us as the ultimate prize.. Honestly, it would be better if we could just say “She’s pretty, isn’t she?”, and you could respond with a simple “Yes.”…moving on.
This next one can make dinners out really awkward…
2. “I really don’t care where we eat.”
Okay, I have been so guilty of this one in the past. Dave and I would be out on a date, and he would ask me where I wanted to eat. In an effort to be accommodating, I would say, “Let’s go wherever YOU want to go. I really don’t care.” Then, Dave would do exactly what I asked him to do. He’d pick a place HE really wanted to go. Usually, it was a burger joint or steakhouse, and then, I would have trouble finding something on the menu and leave the restaurant hungry and irritable. And, Dave would be frustrated, too. He would say, “Why didn’t you just tell me a few places that YOU wanted to go? I’m sure I would have liked one of those places, too. And, you wouldn’t leave hungry and mad.” He was so right. Why didn’t I just say what was really on my mind? Lesson learned.
This next one is a four-letter word–but probably not the one you’re thinking of…
3. “I’m/it’s fine.”
This simple, short word seems so innocent and finite, but it’s really hiding a whole collection of verbal weaponry and assumptions. When we say we are “fine” (or “okay”), what we are really saying is, “You obviously can’t read my body language, and I am mad about it. In fact, I am pretty much the opposite of fine, so now, because you couldn’t see that, I am going to make you suffer in my silent treatment until you can figure out what is really wrong here.” We might also mean, “I just don’t really want to talk to you right now, so I’m shutting this conversation down with the most generic and husband-approved word I can think of.” Yes, husbands, “fine” can be a much more complicated response than it seems, and we’re sorry! Ladies, let’s think of a better response than “fine” next time…unless we are telling him that he’s “lookin’ fine”. I think our husbands would love that!
This next statement put’s husbands in a “no-win zone”…
4. “Does this make me look fat?”
I know this statement is often joked about in television commercials and in sitcoms, and yet we are STILL saying it. Husbands, when we ask you this, we usually mean, “Sweetie, don’t you think this tight outfit makes me look hot with all my curves on display?” We just want you to notice us and tell us that we are beautiful. It usually has nothing to do with our weight. Even if we are looking a little heavier, please don’t tell us. We probably already know.
This next one often makes a couple late…
5. “I’m almost ready.”
Okay, I’m sure some of us struggle with this one more than others. Some people are just more accurate with time. I, however, have made this statement many times but meant it loosely. When some of us say this, we more or less really mean, “I am in process, and my definition of ‘almost’ is somewhere in between starting and finishing. So, Sweetie, it might do you some good to turn on that game and take a load off for awhile…but I promise I am getting there…on my clock.” Husbands, please give us a leeway here. We are just trying to look our best, and sometimes…okay many times…it may take a longer than expected.
This next one appears nice but it leads to a lot of fights in the end…
6. “Do whatever YOU want to do.”
I can’t help but laugh about this one. It’s honestly a big joke between Dave and I, because I said it so much in our first years of marriage. Our conversation would usually start with Dave asking for my ideas on what we could do or where we could go. Then, I would inadvertently play this sort of “guess what I want to do” game with him that he certainly couldn’t win…bless his heart. I know it frustrated him to no end, but he would politely take a stab at what I was thinking. In my mind, I was just being polite, when, Dave would have much preferred for me to just tell him what I wanted to do instead of making him think it was something he wanted to do. Crazy…I know. Oh, the things we learn after many years of marriage. Let’s just say, I am much more forthcoming with my preferences these days, and Dave appreciates it.
Dave and Ashley Willis have built a strong following, reaching millions of married couples through their blogs, books, and videos. Get Dave and Ashley’s most popular resources for couples and groups. Their mission is to create resources focused on building Christ-centered marriages and families. They have four young sons and live near Augusta, Georgia.