A Relationship Is Like An Iceberg

A relationship is like an iceberg.

Only 10-20% of the iceberg is above the water. The remaining 80-90% is below.

It’s the same with relationships.

Here’s the problem: men are in a boat and women are in a submarine with a periscope.

Men can only see what’s above the surface, while women see the entirety of the relationship, even the 80-90% that is hidden.

Men will use his words for that which is seen; women will use words for what’s not said.

Communication runs according to the same pattern: 80-90% is in the tone. It’s in the context; it’s in what’s unsaid.

When women speak to other women, much of it is conveyed by that which is not spoken. It’s that which is within the nuance.

Learning to identify how to use words, even though you and your spouse may be using them entirely differently is a real skill.

In her book “The Female Brain”, Louann Brizendine writes that when a male fetus begins to develop, it gets hit with a shot of testosterone.

This “testosterone marination” goes straight to the brain and in a way dulls the communication and emotion centers.

But for girls, who never get that shot of testosterone in utero, those same centers are left wholly intact and are functioning at peak performance. 

This leads to a simple but fundamental mistake.

Men will believe that what the wife says is what she means. He doesn’t see the hidden meaning in the words.

So for example, if a husband asks his wife if he can go out with the boys to watch a game,” she may say, “Sure, go ahead.”

He thinks, “Great! That’s fantastic,” and he starts walking out the door.

His wife then asks, “Where you going?”

The man responds, “But you said sure go ahead.”

The wife: “Well, I didn’t actually mean that. We haven’t seen each other in a couple of nights.”

The woman, in this case, meant the opposite of what she said, based on the context.

But, at the same time, she wrongly assumed that her husband meant more by his words when he was really just stating a fact.

The woman read so much into it that she ends up fuming over a self-induced issue. She hears the nuances; he doesn’t.

Women often have unrealistic communicative expectations of their husband.

They assume (wrongly) that their husbands will come to speak their language and anticipate their emotional expressions.

They often judge the level of the relationship by how well he does this.

What she has to understand, though, is that her husband is never really going to understand her because 80-90% of the communication is beneath the surface.

He can get a gist of it, he can even get better at it, but it’s never natural. 

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