basketball

Let’s tackle another issue we don’t seem to fully understand about our wives: Emotions.

It might be helpful if we explain what we are talking about a little more. Well, occasionally as a man you might be able to understand it through this example:

Was there ever a time when you needed to really concentrate on two things that were important to you at the same time and keep up with both? Yea, I thought it would come to you. Of course, it is March Madness and the NCAA basketball tournament. There are 3 to 4 games going on all at the same time and you are watching one game but flipping back and forth to the others or even better you are juggling watching all three in a sports restaurant. You are using as much focus as you can and trying to keep track of what game you need to be focused on so you see the best parts and all of the frantic endings. You want to be able to have all of the ammo you need for the water cooler conversation tomorrow and you have your tourney pool sheet in front of you to keep track of all of your predictions.

I can see what you are saying. “I totally get it. I am so emotionally exhausted after a day of that. It takes me until 12 o’clock the next day to get amped back up to do it again.”

Well, that is not really what I am trying to explain. It turns out that a woman deals with multiple emotions and thoughts every day. She has these thoughts all of the time and all of them at the same time. They can be from current issues or old and she struggles to get them out of her head. When you see your wife sitting at a computer typing an email she is probably also thinking about what is in the oven, are the kids alright in the backyard, how a friend is doing who is sick, how she can get the kids ready to school quicker tomorrow, if you are upset with her, what color curtains might be good for the living room, and if she needs to pick up more toilet paper at the grocery store. There are probably more.

So, why is this important? Jeff Feldhahn states in “For Men Only, “This female multitasking of thoughts and feelings impacts how your wife or girlfriend relates to you every single day.”

So, let’s try to relate and compare. A man will have a honey do list of things he needs to do around the house. He can’t do all of them at the same time so he decides to make a mental checklist of the things and how long they each take. He may start with the easiest one or the hardest one depending on his mood. He then will start taking care of those things one by one until his time runs out and checking them off of his list. He puts the list down and doesn’t really think about it until he gets a chance to start working on the list again then next day, or week, or month, or after his wife reminds him about the list again.

With a woman the list not only doesn’t go away, they are all mentally numbered as task #1 and constantly in her mind until they are all taken care of. She has to work on the whole list simultaneously and goes back and forth between items on the list at will. As Jeff Feldhahn puts it, “Or against her will.” So while this thought process seems demented at best to us, why is it important for a woman to have this ability? Her world is filled with the need to juggle multiple items every day. She needs to be able to deal with the kids’ tasks, think about dinner plans, keep up with the laundry cycle, an addition to the grocery list, and think about talking with a friend at the same time.

How many times has your wife asked you what you were thinking about and you answered, “Nothing.” While I can say I have answered that way many times truthfully in the past, according to Jeff Feldhahn a wife would say, “If I answer nothing, it’s because I’m mad at him! There’s never a time that there’s nothing going on in my head.” So, when you answer this question completely honestly, she probably will be thinking that you are ticked at her.

Have you ever returned home from work at the end of the day and started talking about something with your wife? Was it uncomfortable because you felt that she had already had this conversation before and had a lot more to bring to the discussion than you? Did it seem that you were woefully ill-prepared to provide any comment on a discussion while your wife had a doctorate degree on the subject? Turns out that is because she has been working on this topic all day along with everything else. Even worse, it could be that she was working on this topic for two, three, four days, maybe a week or month. If it was something important to her that she didn’t feel comfortable talking with you about it, it may be longer than that. So, the next time you get sent from thinking about nothing to being KO’d, understand that your wife has had to be perplexed by this nonstop for a long time and be thankful for your one track mind.

So, let’s add more fuel to the fire. A woman will often have thoughts or feelings from the past that get into their heads regularly. The thoughts or feelings can be as real or painful as they were when they first appeared. Women are able to record and file away verbal discussions in an unbelievably accurate way to the point that it is absolutely scary when they are played back. I know my wife has quoted me from the past in a word-for-word fashion from discussions we have had in the past. I can remember some of those discussions and I think I said some of those things, but others were long gone from my mind almost immediately after we talked. While these interactions can make us feel as Jeff Feldhahn puts it “blindsided, surprised, stung, or dismayed”, it is really important to remember that your wife’s emotionally reasonable response is of the feeling of being “blindsided, surprised, stung, or dismayed.”

One of my favorite books on understanding my wife is For Men Only, Revised and Updated Edition: A Straightforward Guide to the Inner Lives of Women.  For those that have read it before I am happy to announce that it has been revised and updated with new research.  The new edition was released yesterday.  One of the new chapter is suppose to help us decode our wife’s most baffling behavior and I am sure we could all use help with that.  If you want to read a book at the same time as your wife that will help both of you, there is a companion book, For Women Only, Revised and Updated Edition: What You Need to Know About the Inner Lives of Men, which also was just revised and released yesterday.  A cheaper alternative for both books is called For Couples Only, and has both books for about $15 but I am not sure it is available with the updated and revised versions yet.  My wife and I have both enjoyed the books by Jeff and Shaunti Feldhahn.