Men and women are wired differently — and being wired differently means we speak different languages.
A woman's language involves rejuvenation through talking, processing, emoting and dealing with issues immediately. A man's language includes no direct confrontation, taking action, solving problems, fixing things, feeling useful and regrouping and rejuvenating via the newspaper or television. The earlier you realize these differences, the quicker you can develop good communication habits and build a strong marital foundation — and the more closeness you will promote and maintain in your relationships.
Best things to say to him
1. “How was your day?”
So many men I counsel complain that their partners aren’t interested in their work or how their day really was. So it’s important to ask and LISTEN.
2. “Sure, you can watch football today.”
It’s all about compromise and understanding that they’re not just watching football to avoid us; they enjoy it and are literally recharging their batteries. If you don’t consider your partner’s needs, it will create distance in the relationship.
3. “I need your help solving a problem.”
Men want to feel useful and truly want to make us happy. Ask him to help you problem-solve to get practical solutions. But try to get to the point as quickly as you can. Don’t give every detail, cut to the chase so he’s present with you and understands what you need from him.
4. “Do you want to go out this weekend, just us two?”
Let your partner know he’s a priority even though you’re busy with kids, work and activities. You truly need to take the time to build closeness and intimacy. Don’t ever take your relationship for granted.
Best things to say to her
1. “How was your day?”
It’s just as important to ask her how her day was. Make sure you leave enough time to really have a conversation; otherwise, it’s very superficial, not authentic, and will make her feel unimportant and not cared about.
2. “You look beautiful (or sexy).”
Not just on special occasions, but give her compliments regularly. Women like to be told they look good and that their partner finds them attractive. It’s a small gesture that goes a long way.
3. “Would you like me to mow the lawn?”
When a man anticipates what a women needs, like fixing things around the house or making plans ahead of time for a nice date — anything without being asked — she’ll feel cared about, loved, important and like a priority.
Also known as the "last ditch effort therapist," Sharon M. Rivkin, therapist and conflict resolution and affairs expert, is the author of Breaking the Argument Cycle. Sharon has appeared on TV and radio shows nationwide. She writes for HopeAfterDivorce.org and FamilyShare.com.