Note: In this blog, I often use the words "masculine man" or "men" to speak of the masculine and "feminine women" or "women" to speak of the feminine, but the blog applies to all different types of relationships. If you are not in a heterosexual relationship, I invite you to focus on feminine and masculine and apply it appropriately to your relationship.
Before I begin, I want to invite you to read the book Non-Violent Communication, I can't express how transformative this book has been for my relationships.
Effective communication is the key to any successful relationship.
If you are a feminine woman in a relationship with a masculine man, you will likely come across challenges in communication that can be very frustrating.
Men and women (or masculine and feminine) generally have very different communication styles.
Men, in general, masculine men tend to be more direct and assertive in their communication. They tend to listen to understand. They want to understand and "figure it out." They want to help solve problems, and if they can't make sense of what is being said, you will often hear them saying, "Get to the point!."
Ultimately, men want to feel a sense of completion when they communicate.
To the feminine woman, the point is often the communication itself. And women tend to be more indirect and nurturing in their communication.
Communication doesn't always need a point to feel good to her. Often a woman wants to speak to express her feelings and to open her heart to her man with her words. She wants to share her heart while her man stands in front of her in a solid, unshakable presence. Just watching her, listening to her, holding space for her, allowing her full, authentic expression to be fully seen, felt, heard, and understood.
So, how can these two styles exist together coherently?
The challenge for the man is in letting go of the need to understand, the need to solve a problem, and the need to get a sense of completion when speaking to his feminine woman. And to be able to find pleasure in giving her his unshakable presence while she expresses herself in whatever way she wants to at that moment. Listening for the sake of listening because it gives her something she craves. Masculine presence.
This is often way more simple to do for a man than he thinks. It usually looks like this...
The man standing there, present with his woman. Looking at her in a calm, grounded way.
The woman speaks, flows, opens her heart, and expresses her feelings. The man listens, without needing to help, fix or change anything. The man nods in genuine interest and actively listens. He asks simple questions, validates her feelings, and offers words of affirmation.
For example, he says...
"How did that make you feel?",
"Sounds like you handled that well."
“That must have been difficult.”
"I respect you for doing that."
"That was smart, babe."
"I feel you, babe."
“I see the woman I fell in love with.”
Pretty simple, huh?
Now, for a woman, understanding the differences in communication styles can help her communicate more effectively with her masculine partner.
Here are six strategies that can help a feminine woman to bridge the gap and build a stronger connection with their masculine partner.
1. Understand your partner's communication style
The first step in effective communication is understanding your partner's communication style. As spoken about above.
2. Be clear and direct about what you love and need
If you want your man to just listen without solving, it's helpful to ask him this directly. A lot of men want to know how to do things right for their woman, they just don't know how. You can respectfully teach him how to be a better partner to you. When he does something great, celebrate him for it. Tell him that that's what you love. And tell him what you like and want more of.
"Can I share with you what makes me feel so loved by you?" (tell him what that looks like)..
"I love it when I can tell you about how my day was, and you just listen to me. It makes me feel so seen by you. I respect you so much when you do that."
"When you do X & Y it makes me respect and trust you so much!"
"I love it when you validate my feelings. It makes me feel safe with you."
"When you are able to be respectfully unreactive to my strong emotions, It makes me feel so safe and so attracted to you."
"When you sat there and listened to me without solving or trying to fix me, I felt so loved by you. I really respect you for being able to do that with me."
3. Use "I" statements
Using "I" statements can be a powerful tool in effective communication. Especially helpful in debates or arguments. Instead of blaming or accusing your partner with "You" statements, use "I" statements to express how you feel.
Instead of saying, "You never listen to me," say, "I feel unheard when you interrupt me. And I don't feel like you are being my teammate."
Instead of "You don't support me." say, "When you say you will do X & Y, and you don't do it, I lose trust in you. And I want to be able to trust your words fully."
4. Stay in your power zone - the feminine energy
If you want to get the best out of a masculine man, go into your softness. Your feminine energy is your power zone. Avoid being aggressive, criticizing, and definitely avoid the "I'll fight you posture." This is your expression of masculine energy, and it usually comes up when you lose trust in him and when you feel you need to protect yourself. You will likely trigger his "fight the masculine" response if you go into your masculine. It will become masculine VS masculine.
This is fighting fire with fire. Your feminine is like water to his masculine fire when you know how to use it.
Or, worse, if you go into your masculine so strongly, it could push him into his feminine, and you will lose respect for him.
Either way, going into your masculine is not a helpful approach, even though it sometimes feels like it's the only reasonable response - practice and experiment with putting out his masculine fire with your feminine water.
5. Avoid criticism and defensiveness, and express feelings instead
Criticism and defensiveness can quickly derail a conversation and make effective communication impossible. Instead of criticizing your partner, focus on expressing your own thoughts and feelings verbally using "I" statements, make your man conscious of what is going on for you, and focus on solutions instead of blaming.
"I want to scream right now because I am so frustrated. I want to be close to you, but I feel X & Y. How can we solve this together?"
"I feel hurt by this behavior. My expectation is X & Y, is that fair of me to have that expectation? Or do we need to meet in the middle?"
"I am feeling sad because of how to speak to me. I feel attacked when you do that, and your body language is so aggressive. How can we avoid this from continuing? I want us to be a team and get along like teammates."
If your partner becomes defensive, try to stay calm and avoid escalating the situation. Sometimes when things are heated, the logic goes out the window. So, it might not be the best time to problem-solve when things are very emotional. Wait until things calm down and then discuss how new actions can be taken to get a new result.
Here is a clip on "how to express feelings while avoiding judging or diagnosing the persons behaviour" from a seminar held by the author of Non-violent communication, Marshall Rosenberg.
6. Men highly value your trust and respect
A man desires his women's deepest trust and respect. I believe a man needs to earn this from his woman (and vice versa). You can make it easier for him to earn it by using your words to intentionally invite him in this direction.
"I respect and love you, but when you do X it makes me lose trust in you."
"I am here with you as your teammate, I want to be on your team but when you speak to me like that I feel like you are treating me like your enemy."
"I want to open up to you, I want to give you all of me but when you do this I feel like I can't trust you and it makes me close off to you."
In conclusion, effective communication is essential for any successful relationship, and it's especially important for feminine women and masculine men. By understanding your partner's communication style, and trying some new approaches to communication, you can build a stronger connection with your partner and enjoy a more fulfilling relationship.
(Jen and I at Machu Picchu together)