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Women: Discover What Men are Really Thinking
Manage conflict with men wisely. View conflict as an extended dialogue through which you all can make gradual progress understanding each other better and solving problems while strengthening your relationships in the process. Pray for the strength to forgive the men who hurt or offend you, just as God has chosen to forgive you. Remember that forgiveness is an ongoing process, not just a one-time event. Every day, ask God to help you keep your heart open to following His command to forgive others.
When you argue, donít say harsh words or use stonewalling tactics. If youíre not making progress in your discussion, call a time-out, pray and get some sleep, then revisit the issue within the next two to three days. Aim to talk about an important issue a bit longer and deeper each time you discuss it, without either one of you freaking out.
Remember that anger is always a secondary emotion; itís caused by another emotion that lies behind it. Figure out whatís behind your anger and the anger expressed by the men in your life. Avoid contempt (which often shows up through critical remarks, smirks, and eye-rolling), because it will prevent any progress in your discussions and seriously damage your relationships.
Get through to men. Create emotional safety in your relationship with men that allows you to talk about challenging or hot-button topics effectively. Give each other plenty of kind words and affection. Remember that you always have more to learn about any man, no matter how long youíve been in a relationship with him. Be humble and willing to explore new angles to issues and new potential solutions to problems.
Instead of trying to read a manís mind, ask him to explain what he means. Validate a manís thoughts and feelings even when you donít agree with him; so heíll feel respected enough to continue to explore new possibilities in his relationship with you. When having a difficult conversation, structure it like this: First, share something you value or appreciate about the man, or express empathy with him. Second, make a specific request or deliver some news. Third, try to return to something more positive to wrap up your conversation.
Build intimacy with a man. Rather than focusing on what should be or could be in your relationship with a man, focus on what actually is right now and aim to enjoy it as fully as possible. Savor the simple moments you share, like a laugh over something amusing or a delicious meal together. Accept and figure out how to accommodate the differences between you and your man, so that you can complement each other well. Just as Jesus has accepted and welcomed you despite your flaws, aim to do the same with your man. When you do, Godís glory can shine through your relationship.
Rather than expecting your man to somehow make you happy Ė which he canít do Ė realize that you can be as happy as you choose to be. Pray for the right attitudes and the ability to make the right choices that will lead to your own happiness. Keep in mind that the relationship between you and your man isnít just about your comfort or ease; God is using it to accomplish greater purposes. Ask God to help you see the big picture of what Heís doing with your relationship so you can fully treasure the moments you have together.
Adapted from Whatís He Really Thinking?: How to Be a Relational Genius with the Man in Your Life, copyright 2009 by Paula Rinehart. Published by Thomas Nelson Publishers, Nashville, Tn., www.thomasnelson.com.
Paula Rinehart has touched women's lives through writing, speaking, and ministry for more than 20 years. Her private counseling practice includes clients who are men and couples with a focus on personal growth and intimacy with Christ. Paula and her husband Stacy have two grown children.
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