He Doesn’t Listen to Me When I Talk to Him

Q.

Husbands and WivesWIFE: It drives me crazy at times when I am talking to him and he is reading a book or a newspaper or – even worse – he is watching the TV and doesn’t look at me. He seems to be totally unaware of my presence. So, I shout: “What did I just say?” and he will reply with a blank stare or with a statement that has nothing to do with my remarks. Or even worse, he will repeat my remarks word for word, which infuriates me even more. I am told that some men can’t listen to a women’s voice more than three minutes. If this is so, how are we as a couple to deal with everything that life throws at us? We need to make decisions about the children, the bills, the house, the car, our in-laws, etc. and I need him to give me his undivided attention instead of being glued to the television. If in a moment of frustration I shut off the TV, he becomes furious. I am told by friends never to do that. I am told there are two things a man expects of a woman. 1. Don’t touch my remote and 2. Stand in front of me naked. Well hearing such stupidity makes me even more furious. My question is how do I get him to listen?

A.

There is a big difference between how a man hears a male voice and how he hears a female voice. A man hears another male’s voice as speech, but to a man’s brain, a women’s voice is different. The male’s brain processes a women’s voice in the same way it processes music. And here in is the problem.

According to psychiatrist Michael Hunter and fellow researchers at the University of Sheffield in England, women generally have shorter vocal folds and their vocal delivery shows more variety in pitch and volume. There is a melody to their voices, a more poetic quality to their speech, as Discover Magazine originally reported in 2005. As a result, women sound more like music to a man’s ears.

Therein lies the problem: if you are “good” music to his ears, he will listen, but if he perceives the music as irritating or loaded with static, he will turn you off! It is important to remember that a woman may be a feeling-sharer but a man is a problem-solver. He may be sitting in front of a TV and at the same time trying to solve in his head a problem he encountered at work. In walks his beloved who shouts “Turn off that idiot box we need to talk. Things need to be taken care of.” That’s bad music. On the other hand, if she sweetly says ”Honey, when can we talk? We have lots of problems to deal with.” That’s good music, and more often than not, he will quickly respond “Give me 5 more minutes.“

The more you whine, the more you complain, the more you accuse – that’s bad music. The more love and patience and kindness in your voice, he will listen your melody and smile.

A Bit of Advice

To men: When she talks to you, put down the paper or turn off the TV, look at her and listen.

To women: When he looks at you and he tries to listen, but after a while slowly begins to close his eyes, that’s the ideal time to stop the music and try again later.

Do you have questions about love, marriage or about life in general and want the help of Rabbi Sol? I’m always happy to help with advice and suggestions. Send me an email with your question today.

Of course, a big part of marriage is actually getting married! I can help with that, too. As an interfaith and Jewish wedding officiant, I have married couples throughout Florida and along the East Coast. Learn more today by giving me a call at 561-350-8722.

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