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WSJ: Relationship Talking Points: Speak Your Spouse’s Language

Do men and women speak the same language?

The research suggests men are more comfortable with linear thinking while women don’t mind toggling between topics. They each gravitate to different issues. Women are often encouraged to attend to emotions from a young age, and they like to talk about relationships. Men typically don’t like relationship talk as much. In both instances, nurture reinforces nature, Dr. Brizendine says.

If after an argument many women would say they remain upset longer than their husbands, it may be because estrogen enhances and prolongs the secretion of the stress hormone cortisol, which can stay elevated for up to 24 hours, according toMarianne Legato, a cardiologist and founder of the Partnership for Gender-Specific Medicine at New York’s Columbia University Medical Center. “This makes women keep obsessing, stay awake and stay anxious, long after he’s forgotten the unpleasant incident,” she says.

Tips for Better Communication

There are concrete strategies, therapists and scientists say, that can increase understanding.

FOR MEN

When you are listening …

  • Don’t think about what you are going to say next while the other person is talking.
  • Ask follow-up questions. This demonstrates that you care.
  • Consider how the other person wants you to respond.

When you are speaking …

  • Don’t give advice until asked.
  • Try to identify some of your emotions and take a chance: Express them!

FOR WOMEN

When you are listening …

  • Don’t get upset if the other person seems curt, especially in email or text. This can be simply a matter of style.
  • Draw someone out with empathic guesses. ‘I imagine you were frustrated.’
  • Be calm, so the other person feels it is safe to share emotions.

When you are speaking …

  • Edit your story. Pare down emotion and give only essential details. Perhaps prepare bullet points.
  • Tell him how you want him to respond. ‘More than advice, I need you to just listen.’
  • ‘Honey, Now I Get What You Mean’
    • Create a buffer zone. Take a few minutes to prepare yourself before an emotional conversation. Sit quietly in the car or walk around the block. Don’t walk in the door after work and immediately raise the topic.
    • Before beginning, ask if it’s a good time to talk. Interrupting someone who is busy—especially a man—isn’t the best way to get his or her full attention.
    • Pause at times during the conversation. The other person needs time to process what you just said.
    • Validate, validate, validate. “It’s no wonder you are angry.” “I can imagine how you must feel.”

Read the whole story:  http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702304858104579262231486059794

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