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Communication is the life-blood of any relationship. But when it comes to marriage the difference in make-up between men and women often raises problems in this vital area. Why? Because women need to air feelings while men want to offer solutions. Quite simply, they are on different wavelengths, even different planets. So, what can be done to ease the situation. Are arguments inevitable? Or, can understanding the differences between the sexes lead to a happy home?

Women are generally more sensitive than men. They have a tendency to relate more to the feelings and emotions of an issue. They need their feelings to be aired and supported. They tend to be far more communicative than men and to air their emotions far more readily. For women, talking is an important way to create and confirm closeness. Sharing her thoughts, ideas and problems with her partner is done, not necessarily in an attempt to find answers, but to show her closeness to and reliance on him.When she converses she likes to ask lots of questions. She, therefore tends to interrupt often when others are speaking.

Men, however, appear to be more analytical. They find it extremely difficult to air their feelings. Words don’t come as easily to them. They do, however, have a propensity to offer solutions. They want to fix problems. Men communicate basically to exchange information. They like to talk about facts, ideas and new things they have learned. They seldom interrupt when others are speaking. Men tend to work out problems on their own, without seeking external advice.
So, then, when these two irresistible forces come into contact it is no wonder that conflict results. Yet, family discord is not a pre-ordained eventuality. There are things that can be done to smooth the waters. Here are a few of them:

(1) Active Listening. Pay careful attention. Listen for feelings underlying the words. Repeat to the speaker what you hear. Acknowledge the feelings.
(2) Openness and Intimacy. Don’t allow your relationship to become encumbered by suspicion, pride, spirit of competition, or one-upmanship. Let your partner be your confidant, your closest associate.
(3) Kindness and Tenderness. Kindness can create an environment of warmth and safety. In such an atmosphere, even when emotions run high, friction will be minimized. Tenderness creates an environment in which love can grow.
(4) Humility. Pride is a major stumbling block in relationships. It prompts ready apologies and frequent expressions of thanks. Even when you are convinced you’re position is the right one, humility will prompt you to say, “ I’m sorry you’re upset.”
(5) Humor. A sense of humor can alleviate even the most tense of moments. It can relieve the tension that too often cripples clear thinking.

By consciously working on the basic differences between men and women, rather ignoring that they exist, we will be able to bridge this natural gap in communication between the sexes. The result - a relationship that is built upon a strong base of active communication.