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The Marriage Kit Week 3 – Talking & Learning

Alison: Here is a joke about marriage education I remembered:

My wife and I went to a Marriage Workshop last week:

I worked
She shopped.

The Marriage Kit continues to widen and deepen my long education on marriage (40 years this year!). Module 3 is all about communication but it’s titled, “Let’s Talk”. How appropriate! And how necessary is talk, at least to the affection-seeking wife.

One of Module 3’s headlines is “The thing is – most couples are communicating all the time . . . “. That really struck me. Even when a couple is NOT communicating – they still are. They are communicating that they are angry with their spouse or that they don’t have time to communicate or that they are too busy etc, etc.

Francine and Byron Pirola share on the skills of speaking and listening, how communication works and great exercises and thoughts on practical ways to communicate well. I felt the activities were particularly helpful in this module. Warwick gives some examples below.

Warwick: Well the Marriage Kit, created by Dr Byron & Francine Pirola continuous to go well and I am still learning things about my wife that I never knew or had clearly forgotten. Actually ‘forgotten’ if the truth be known. But I won’t tell if you don’t. One interesting exercise in this week’s module was that each spouse had to place a tick against a list, all the emotions they had experienced in the last seven days. My wife listed 20 emotions out of a possible 32 for the last seven days. Many surprising extremes!

Can you imagine how many emotions I listed for the last seven days? Ten!!! That’s right ten. Does that make me an emotional pygmy? NO! The plain fact of the matter is I am a man and my wife is a woman and we are different. That’s what makes marriage work. Men and woman are different by design but we constantly have to be reminded. Dr John Gray, the author of ‘Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus’ agrees with the statement that men and women are different by design.

John Gray said, “When you understand what these differences are, then it begins to make sense that we are a perfect fit together—we complement each other. We’re not in competition with each other. Women are capable of making babies and men are not, so it makes perfect sense that a woman’s brain be different from a man’s…

Since women have been making babies for thousands of years, there’s a part of their brain that keeps them feeling responsible for the babies and the children all day long and all night long. Men, however, can turn their brains on and off. They can be responsible for work and forget the problems at home and they can come home and forget the problems at work. Hence, they cope well with stress. But women can’t turn their brains on and off like men. When they are at work, they worry about problems at home, and when they are home, they worry about problems at work. And it’s important to understand these differences so that we can support each other better…

Women are designed to respond and react to all the small problems, which could be very useful if you have to look after six or seven children. While a man stands guard looking for the big problems. He is not disturbed by the little problems—a woman is. This is just one of the ways the differences between men and women help.

I would not say that women are stronger or more resilient than men… It’s not one or the other. It’s just that some people are more resilient than others. What we can say, though, is that a woman’s brain becomes eight times more emotionally reactive under moderate stress. A man’s brain becomes reactive only under major stress.”

When John Gray was asked the question “What are three things that make women special?”, this what he had to say. “One, women by nature are much more nurturing than men. It’s not that men can’t learn to nurture but women automatically tend to have a much greater capacity to nurture other people’s needs and to think of others.

Two, women have an ability to appreciate little things. Men tend to think you have to do big things to feel successful. Women can appreciate the little things of life.

Three, women have a greater sense of the inter-connectedness—of how everything fits together. For example, women understand the relatedness of family members and how important it is to include everyone, whereas, men tend to focus on just one thing and forget the importance of family, relationships and the essence of life.”

So as you can see, we are both learning. As it is ‘never too late to learn’ we want to share our experiences with you. Sign up here for The Marriage Kit.

By Warwick & Alison Marsh

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