Friday, 19 June 2009

Mr Logical married Mrs Emotional

My hubby is a gifted java developer. He spends a lot of his time developing websites and applications. This requires an astounding amount of logic as the work is quite methodical. His attempts to educate me on SQL, JAVA, POM have been returned with squirms of boredom and many 'what was that' facial expressions. He is Mr Logic and I am Mrs Emotional. I work from home and struggle to remain focused as I tend to do the work I only 'feel' like doing. My hubby has threatened many times to block my laptop from accessing a certain social networking site but it has not deterred me. He struggles to understand how I have such a fluid approach to work and I struggle to understand how he can be so structured. We have had many arguments as my fluid approach can be both gentle and volatile. My emotions are on the surface whereas his seem to be buried near to the core of the earth.

'You're just being emotional'.

A familiar sentence, rolled off the tongues of husbands universally. That phrase is used by my hubby when I have turned into the emotional hulk. His words would be like pouring petrol on a blazing fire. He'd be as cool and collected whilst he watched me spin into a burning tornado. Found it difficult to understand why he couldn't just meet me where I was. Sure his answers or suggestions were usually right (annoyingly) but couldn't he have approached with more care? Couldn't he have met me where I was emotionally first; agreeing and empathising with me BEFORE hurling logic at me!

My hubby is not alone in his approach. The majority of men are logical. It's as if they are given a logic handbook whilst in the comfort of their mother's womb to study. They get from A to B in a straight line whereas women seem to take a more scenic route, discovering the shoe outlet along the way. I have seen men roll their eyes at the site of women crying or completely confused as per what brought the outburst.

Their logical thought process makes them natural problem solvers. Note to yourself, that if you go to a man with an issue or problem, he will have some form of solution for you. Of course there are the exceptions but most men sees an issue and automatically become bob the builder. It is an amazing quality, one that I appreciate.

I have found in my experience that most men only share their problems if they feel that you are going to solve it. This is where women get frustrated when their husbands withdraw or walk around as though everything is fine, even if they are residing in a nuclear war. Men withdraw most times to create a solution to a problem. If my hubby has an issue with a project that he is doing, he doesn't necessarily feel like chatting about who stole our parking space or which cat stared at me funny. Neither does he want to have a 'sharing' moment. He needs head space to work through all avenues so that he can come to discuss the problem as well as the solution. This takes ounces of patience and a paradigm shift. I had to realise that I did not married a male version of me, he does not reason the way I do. It is unlikely that he will set up an msn group chat with his buddies to reason his way through issues. That's not to say he does not value my input, he does. But I am learning not to go into any discussion with a canon full of emotional opinions as it is often not needed and totally misunderstood. It is better to wait for an invitation to share my thoughts. This way he doesn't feel disrespected or threatened. He will also feel as though I have thoroughly thought about his decision and that I am on his page.

I am also learning how to articulate and communicate my feelings as thoughts rather than feelings. I tried for a little while to listen to conversations I had with some of friends and concluded that we had a unique way of communicating our thoughts and feelings. My best friend and I understand each other so well, it often surprises us. I always wondered why and have come to understand that it is because we have perfected our language. I know that when she says 'I am feeling like..' she is exposing her thought process. I know that I would need to acknowledge those feelings. Note that I did not say accept because not every feeling\emotion ought to be demonstrated. I made the mistake of trying to use the same language to my husband but it felt as though he would ignore the wounds that had penetrated my pulsating heart and simply solve the problem. He would get very frustrated that I did not accept his polished answer that he had proudly formed to make me feel better. I wouldn't feel any better after speaking to him and on occasion an argument would form based on his reaction rather than focusing on the issue. After a few repeats of this emotional and logical roller coaster, I realised something would have to change - me.

I am changing to catch up to my logical husband. I try to use words like 'I think' where I used to say 'I feel'. It's a very simple trick and it causes me to formulate more constructive and logical sentences. For instance 'I feel as though you are not spending enough time with me, you're neglecting me' becomes 'Honey, I think that we ought to spend more time together. We have both been working hard this week.' By using the word 'we' I am also accepting some responsibility which means I am not pointing fingers. Accusations don't go down very well as they tend to evoke a defensive response. My accusations have always had a boomerang effect which meant I always had to do the grovelling.

I am also trying to get a handle on my emotions by taking time out to reason through my feelings. I hold regular court hearing in the recesses of my mind to assess whether my feelings and thoughts are valid. These brief few moments have made me realise that I can be quite irrational and has forced me to starve my emotions from the air of expression.

In my newlywed voyage, I have come to accept that being emotional is not a bad thing. A world totally void of emotion is like watching TV in black and white. Sure you can bear it but imagine how much more interesting the program would be with greens and purples. I have warmly embraced my emotions but I am learning to work through them – 'logically'.