During their marriage counselling, Tola was often reminded to listen to his wife, Tosin, at all times. Not the listening to respond but listening to find out exactly what she was saying.
He heard, but he didn’t apply it. For the first few years of their marriage, they butted heads on different matters, ranging from where they would live to sometimes, the food that each would eat.
Until one day, they ran into their marriage counsellor and he had randomly asked if Tola was indeed listening to his wife. Tosin was quick to let the cat out of the bag by saying, no; she was the one listening to him.
“And how are you finding that, Tola?” What followed was a lengthy discussion about how, he (Tola) felt Tosin’s ideas were a bit out of this world and he didn’t know how to deal with it. So, he would rather they do things his way, rather than explore her ideas.
Well, Tosin and her husband are still butting heads and understanding each other by the day.
On the other hand, Ayo, who has been married for close to 15 years, knows the value of listening to his wife and he is tapping into his wife’s wisdom. He goes with her to meetings sometimes. He goes to talk, while she goes to listen and read body language. Later, they compare notes about what the next step should be.
Another man, Mr. David has been married for close to 34 years and he says it is survival skills, if you listen to your wife. There are several instances where listening to his wife had saved him.
One of those instances was when they wanted to build a house. Hear him. “I come from a humble background, so having a house of my own was so important to me. It was the height of security for me. So I pursued that vigorously.
Imagine my shock, when I got a “fine” piece of land and my wife said, “No! We are not buying that’. I wanted to go behind her back and buy the land but I restrained myself. Less than six months after, my wife came home with a public notice she had cut out from the newspaper. That piece of land was involved in a court case that doesn’t look like it will end anytime soon.
Imagine I would have paid money and not been able to build for God knows how long. That was how I was saved. Interestingly, she didn’t know anything before then. It was pure intuition.
That was when she began to actively look for an alternative landed property and we got one in less than a month, in a prime location in the middle of town, rather than the outskirts that I had been looking for, because of cost.
More importantly, we were able to pay for it one off, all thanks to my wife’s negotiating skills.
That was a few years into our marriage. Since then, I have learnt to listen, even when I don’t agree. There are times she gets it wrong, but there are more times, she gets it right and it’s awesome.
Even mundane things, like when she tells me I can’t eat certain foods at certain times, I yield now, because I know she is mindful of my health, which is a bit delicate these days.
Basically, I never make any decision without talking it over with her. I don’t often understand the way her mind works but I try to. I doubt if I ever will but it works for me.”
Apart from the experience of people who have been married and know the value their wives bring to their lives, a study has shown that men who allow their wives to influence them have happier marriages and are less likely to divorce.
In the study, the researchers found that marriages that were successful and worked well all had one thing in common: the husband was willing to give in to his wife.
“If you want to change marriages,” Dr. Gottman, who is one of the authors of the research said, “You have to talk about the ’emotionally intelligent’ husband. Some men are really good at accepting a wife’s influence, at finding something reasonable in a partner’s complaint to agree with. We found that only those newlywed men who are accepting of influence from their wives are ending up in happy, stable marriages.”
Interestingly, the researchers didn’t find much evidence of women failing to listen to their husbands. And that is because women are naturally turned on by what they hear. So they hear words, inflections, tones, and undertones in each conversation. Women often listen beyond the words that are being uttered, which is a good and a bad thing.
The researchers agree that men who resist their wives influence do so without even knowing it. Accepting influence is equally a mindset and a skill cultivated by paying attention to your spouse every day. And when conflict happens, the important thing to do is to understand where your partner is coming from and to be able to compromise.
“The only way to change marriage for the better is to improve the quality of friendship between a husband and wife and help them deal with disagreements differently,” Gottman said. “There has to be a kind of gentleness in the way conflict is managed. Men have to be more accepting of a woman’s position, and women have to be more gentle in starting up discussions.”
The best strategy for a happy and rock solid marriage is to accept your partner’s influence and, in addition, you’ll also get more respect, power, and influence of your own.
If women are helpmeets, then you should know that the only thing she wants to do is help you make your life better. Help you meet your dreams.
Remember, she doesn’t want to lord it over you, she just wants to see a better version of you.
Help her to help you.
Kristine is a member of The Lovelint team. She is a down to earth person, who says it as it is. Having given relationship advice for years in a national daily, she has found out that fear is one of the main reasons holding people back from enjoying a healthy, happy relationship. She is married with kids and is willing to listen to you and help as much as you let her to.