A favorite college professor of mine used to describe his marriage like this:
Him (in deep, booming voice): “I have a vision!”
Her (gently): “Let’s be practical, dear.”
This personality divide doesn’t describe every relationship, but it is apropos of plenty of marriages. And there are two ways these opposing personalities can play out:
- A synergystic union in which the two personalities complement each other and increase the greater good.
If you’re married to a man who dreams big–a man with a vision–don’t shoot down his ideas! A man wants the woman in his life to be a source of encouragement, not criticism. If your man doesn’t like the way you react when he tells you his big ideas, he may not share them with you in the future.
This is not at all to say a woman can’t have strong reservations about a man’s big plans. But timing is everything. There is a time to listen, and there is a time to give feedback. Learn the difference.
If you shoot down his plan right away, it’s easy for your rejection of his idea to look like rejection of him. But if you encourage him–instead of shooting down his plan–you can be his sounding board. If he knows you believe in him, he’ll share his dreams with you–and he’ll value your input.
Encourage your man by hearing his plans, crazy as they may be. This is what your man wants from you:
- He wants you to be a listening ear–and not a critical one.
- He wants you to believe in him. Here’s where it gets tricky–he wants you to believe in him–not necessarily in his every idea.
- He wants your approval. He wants you to think well of him, and he wants you to speak well of him too.
- He wants you to accept him–unconditionally.
- He wants you to respect him. He doesn’t want you to think he’s an idiot with hare-brained ideas.
- He wants you to trust him–and he wants you to believe he has your best interests at heart.
- He wants you to think he’s competent. Men want to be good at what they do. (Hey, don’t we all?) And he wants you to think he’s good at it, too.
- He wants your support. Make sure you’re on his team, and make sure he knows it.
- He wants to be appreciated and praised–especially by the woman he loves.
- He wants your input–when he’s ready for it. It’s about the timing.
I’d like to think I’m pretty good in this category. I haven’t always been, but I’ve wised up about the importance of timing.
Now, when my husband wants to tell me his grand plans, I listen with an open ear. I love to be his sounding board.
He’s become wise about the importance of timing, too. So when he lately broached another Big Plan, I asked if we could talk about it more when the Big Plan in Progress was a little further down the road.
He happily agreed.