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Eight Things Women Say and What They Really Mean

June 25, 2015 | by Debbie Gutfreund

A user-friendly guide for men who sometimes have no idea what their wife is really saying.

I have seen that bewildered expression on the faces of many husbands in my office when counseling couples. And I’ve seen that same expression on my own husband's face. It's the "I know you're trying to tell me something but I have no idea what" face. You hear the words but you're not sure what I’m really saying.

So as a woman, I'm going to dispel some of the mystery by translating some of the things we say and what they really mean.

1.”Do whatever you want.”

What men hear: She's telling me that I can make my own schedule today.

What she really means: Whatever you do, do not do whatever you want. I want you to keep asking me what you can do today to help me until I feel like you really care so I can give you a real answer.

2. “I'll be ready in a minute.”

What men hear: She's almost ready. I'll get in the car.

What she really means: I'm going to be ready in a half hour minimum. So grab something to eat. And if you don't compliment me right away when you see me, I'm going to go back upstairs and change again.

3. “Can you watch the kids?”

What men hear: I'll check my emails, catch up on work, rest a little on the couch and the kids will let me know if they need something.

What she really means: Please give everyone dinner, bathe the baby, read bedtime stories, help with homework and put everyone to sleep.

4. “You don't need to buy me anything.”

What men hear: She has everything she needs, and she doesn't want me to buy her anything for her birthday, our anniversary, Mother's Day etc.

What she really means: If you really love me, you’ll figure out what’s the perfect gift for me. Include a thoughtful card. If you're not sure what I like, ask my best friend, my mother or one of our teenage daughters.

5. “What?”

What men hear: She's asking me to repeat myself because for some reason she didn't hear me the first few times. Either she's really distracted or needs a hearing test.

What she really means: I heard you the first time, but can’t believe you said that, and I'm giving you a few chances to change what you just said.

6. “I'm fine.”

What men hear: She can handle it by herself.

What she really means: I haven't slept in two days, I have the flu, I'm behind at work, and I can't believe that you just asked me to host your parents for the weekend.

7. “I'm not arguing.”

What men hear: She sounds really calm, maybe that means she is finally seeing this from my perspective.

What she really means: I'm just going to keep repeating myself over and over again, explaining in subtly different ways why I'm correct until you give up.

8. “What did you do? Who did you see? What did he say?"

What men hear: She's asking me so many irrelevant questions. It sounds like she doesn't trust me or something.

What she really means: I really care about you and asking you detailed questions about your day is my way of trying to connect to you and understand you.

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