My husband and I were on our way to pick up a baby shower gift when I formulated a game plan in my head. We would go into the store, I would pick up the gift and my husband would grab a gift bag and tissue paper. Simple right? Wrong, because the plan was all in my mind. We parked and I waited for my husband to get out of the car. He looked at me and said, "I don't need to get out. Right?"
I was frustrated and snapped at him before hurrying off to the store - forgetting that I had never told my husband my genius plan. I expected him to read my mind. All women do this, even if they don't realize it.
Out of pity for the men who are expected to read their wife's mind, here are three tips:
1. Listen with your eyes
You might be able to repeat word for word what your wife says, but if you aren't listening with your eyes, you're missing the whole point behind the conversation. You can learn a lot about your wife's feelings and emotions when you watch her as you listen.
You want to look out for anything out of the norm. Here are a couple facial cues (often shown in quick flashes) to help you figure out what she means:
There are many types of smiles. If you see the corners of her mouth pull up into a smile with raised cheeks and crinkled eyes, she's happy.
You can recognize surprise or shock when your wife raises her eyebrows, widens her eyes and her mouth drops open. This doesn't mean it's a good surprise or a bad one, just that she didn't expect it.
A frown that comes from true sadness will have your wife's eyebrows drawn up and in and her lips tipped downward with a slight pout.
Wrinkles in the forehead and center of the brow combined with raised upper eyelids and a tightened lip or dropped jaw can indicate fear.
A sneer will often be present, but when it is not, look at the lips. Is one corner lifted more than another? If so, she might be feeling contempt.
Lowered eyebrows combined with squinted eyes, scrunched nose and raised cheek bones indicate disgust. Imagine that you could smell skunk...What would your face do? Those are the facial signs of disgust.
Women will often tighten their lips into a thin line when they are angry or upset. Their teeth will clench and their jaw will tighten. You can also watch for a slight flare in the widening of her eye and the raising of the eyebrows.
Listening with both your eyes and ears will help you figure out what your wife is thinking and feeling.
You think differently than she does. She might seem to be making only emotional decisions, but that doesn't mean she doesn't think things through.
She has a reason for asking you a question or saying something that seems out of the blue. Sometimes she doesn't understand fully the reason until she talks about it. Be open with your wife and answer her questions. In fact, she might be able to explain why she reacts in certain ways if you just ask.
3. Know the danger signs
There are a few things that women will say or do when they are upset with you (or the world). When you can recognize them, you are one step closer to reading her mind:
She is not actually fine. Never believe her, but remember you aren't always to blame - she's obviously upset, but it might not be your fault.
Increased fidgeting for someone who is usually still (and the opposite for someone who usually fidgets) is a good sign that something has upset her.
Watch out for the "OK" text or any other change in her texting behavior. She might be too busy to elaborate...or something you said might have upset her. If you can't figure out what's wrong, just ask her.
Did she come home and head straight to the bedroom? Turn off the TV and go hold her because she's had a hard day. If she doesn't respond to your questions, just be with her.
You are in the dog house. She didn't just randomly decide to give you space and time to hang out with your buds. She is mad and you should talk to her.
You will never be able fully read your wife's mind, but she will appreciate your efforts when you try. Listen with your eyes and ask thoughtful questions. Avoid getting super emotional. Do your best and ask your wife to help you understand.
Stacie Simpson is a FamilyShare staff writer. She loves listening to, gathering and sharing stories and advice to help others improve their quality of life. She spends most of her free time with her husband, ballroom dancing, reading and writing.