Ladies (22)

Speaking Different Languages

When the Martians and Venusians first got together, they encountered many of the problems with relationships we have today. Because they recognized that they were different, they were able to solve these problems. One of the secrets of their success was good communication. Ironically, they communicated well because they spoke different languages. When they had problems, they would just go to a translator for assistance. Everyone knew that people from Mars and people from Venus spoke different languages, so when there was a conflict they didn't start judging or fighting but instead pulled out their phrase dictionaries to understand each other more fully. If that didn't work they went to a translator for help. You see the Martian and Venusian languages had the same words, but the way they were used gave different meanings. Their expressions were similar, but they had different connotations or emotional emphasis. Misinterpreting each other was very easy. SO when communication problems emerged, they assumed it was just one of those expected misunderstandings and that with a little assistance they would surely understand each other. They experienced a trust and acceptance that we rarely experience today.

Even today we still need translators. Men and women seldom mean the same things even when they use the same words. For example, when a woman says "I feel like you never listen," she does not expect the word never to be taken literally. Using the word never is just a way of expressing the frustration she is feeling at the moment. It is not to be taken as if it were factual information. To fully express their feelings, women assume poetic license and use various superlatives, metaphors, and generalizations. Men mistakenly take these expressions literally. Because they misunderstand the intended meaning, they commonly react in an unsupportive manner. In the following chart ten complaints easily misinterpreted are fisted, as well as how a man might respond unsupportively.

Women say things like this
Men respond like this
"We never go out."
"That's not true. We went out last week."
"Everyone ignores me."
"I'm sure some people notice you."
"I am so tired, I can't do anything."
"If you don't like your job, then quit."
"I want to forget everything."
"That's ridiculous."
"The house is always a mess."
"It's not always a mess."
"No one listens to me anymore."
"But I am listening to you right now."
"Nothing is working."
"Are you saying it is my fault?"
"You don't love me anymore."
"Of course I do. That's why I'm here."
"We are always in a hurry."
"We are not. Friday we were relaxed. "
"I want more romance."
"Are you saying I am not romantic?"

You can see how a "literal" translation of a woman's words could easily mislead a man who is used to using speech as a means of conveying only facts and information. We can also see how a man's responses might lead to an argument. Unclear and unloving communication is the biggest problem in relationships. The number one complaint women have in relationships is: "I don't feel heard." Even this complaint is misunderstood and misinterpreted! A man's literal translation of "I don't feel heard" leads him to invalidate and argue with her feelings. He thinks he has heard her if he can repeat what she has said. A translation of a woman saying "I don't feel heard" so that a man could correctly Interpret it is: -I feel as though you don't fully understand what I really mean to say or care about how I feel. Would you show me that you are interested in what I have to say?" If a man really understood her complaint then he would argue less and be able to respond more positively. When men and women are on the verge of arguing, they are generally misunderstanding each other. At such times, it is important to rethink or translate what they have heard. Because many men don't understand that women express feelings differently, they inappropriately judge or invalidate their partner's feelings. This leads to arguments. The ancient Martians learned to avoid many arguments through correct understanding. Whenever listening stirred up some resistance, they consulted their Venusian/Martian Phrase Dictionary for a correct interpretation.

The following section contains various excerpts from the lost Venusian/Martian Phrase Dictionary. Each of the ten complaints listed above is translated so that a man can understand their real and intended meaning. Each translation also contains a hint of how she wants him to respond. You see, when a Venusian is upset she not only uses generalities, and so forth, but also is asking for a particular kind of support. She doesn't directly ask for that support because on Venus everyone knew that dramatic language implied a particular request. In each of the translations this hidden request for support is revealed. If a man listening to a woman can recognize the implied request and respond accordingly, she will feel truly heard and loved. The Venusian/Martinn Phrase Dictionary "We never go out" translated into Martian means "I feel like going out and doing something together. We always have such a fun time, and I love being with you. What do you think? Would you take me out to dinner? It has been a few days since we went out." Without this translation, when a woman says "We never go out" a man may hear "You are not doing your job. What a disappointment you have turned out to be. We never do anything together anymore because you are lazy, unromantic, and just boring."
"Everyone ignores me" translated into Martian means "Today, I am feeling ignored and unacknowledged. I feel as though nobody sees me. Of course I'm sure some people see me, but they don't seem to care about me. I suppose I am also disappointed that you have been so busy
lately. I really do appreciate how hard you are working and sometimes I start to feel like I am not important to you. I am afraid your work is more important than me. Would you give me a hug and tell me how special I am to you?" Without this translation, when a woman says "Everyone ignores me" a man may hear "I am so unhappy. I just can't get the attention I need. Everything is completely hopeless. Even you don't notice me, and you are the person who is supposed to love me. You should be ashamed. You are so unloving. I would never ignore you this way." "I am so tired, I can't do anything" translated into Martian means "I have been doing so much today. I really need a rest before I can do anything more. I am so lucky to have your support. Would you give me a hug and reassure me that I am doing a good job and that I deserve a rest?" Without this translation, when a woman says "I am so tired, I can't do anything" a man may hear "I do everything and you do nothing. You should do more. I can't do it all. I feel so hopeless. I want a 'real man' to live with. Picking you was a big mistake." "I want to forget everything" translated into Martian means "I want you to know that I love my work and my life but today I am so overwhelmed. I would love to do something really nurturing for myself before I have to be responsible again. Would you ask me 'What's the matter?' and then listen with empathy without offering any solutions? I just want to feel you understanding the pressures I feel. It would make me feel so much better. It helps me to relax. Tomorrow I will get back to being responsible and handling things." Without this translation, when a woman says "I want to forget everything" a man may hear "I have to do so much that I don't want to do. I am so unhappy with you and our relationship. I want a better partner who can make my life more fulfilling. You are doing a terrible job." "This house is always a mess" translated into Martian means "Today I feel like relaxing, but the house is so messy. I am frustrated and I need a rest. I hope you don't expect me to clean it all up. Would you agree with me that it is a mess and then offer to help clean up part of it?" Without this translation, when a woman says "This house is always a mess" a man may hear "This house is a mess because of you. I do everything possible to clean it up, and before I have finished, you have messed it up again. You are a lazy slob and I don't want to live with you unless you change. Clean up or clear out!" "No one listens to me anymore" translated into Martian means "I am afraid I am boring to you. I am afraid you are no longer interested in me. I seem to be very sensitive today. Would you give me some special attention? I would love it. I've had a hard day and feel as though no one wants to hear what I have to say. "Would you listen to me and continue to ask me supportive questions such as: 'What happened today? What else happened? How did you feel? What did you want? How else do you feel?' Also support me by saying caring, acknowledging, and reassuring statements such as: 'Tell me more' or 'That's right' or 'I know what you mean' or 'I understand.' Or just listen, and occasionally when I pause make one of these reassuring sounds: 'oh, ' 'humph,' 'uh-huh,' and 'hmmm.' (Note: Martians had never heard of these sounds before arriving on Venus.)
Without this translation, when a woman says "No one listens to me anymore" he may hear "I give you my attention but you don't listen to me. You used to. You have become a very boring
person to be with. I want someone exciting and interesting and you are definitely not that person. You have disappointed me. You are selfish, uncaring, and bad." "Nothing is working" translated into Martian means "Today I am so overwhelmed and I am so grateful that I can share my feelings with you. It helps me so much to feel better. Today it seems like nothing I do works. I know that this is not true, but I sure feel that way when I get so overwhelmed by all the things I still have to do. Would you give me a hug and tell me that I am doing a great job. It would sure feel good." Without this translation, when a woman says "Nothing is working" a man may hear "You never do anything right. I can't trust you. If I hadn't listened to you I wouldn't be in this mess. Another man would have fixed things, but you made them worse." "You don't love me anymore" translated into Martian means "Today I am feeling as though you don't love me. I am afraid I have pushed you away. I know you really do love me, you do so much for me. Today I am just feeling a little insecure. Would you reassure me of your love and tell me those three magic words, I love you. When you do that it feels so good." Without this translation, when a woman says "You don't love me anymore" a man may hear "I have given you the best years of my life, and you have given me nothing. You used me. You are selfish and cold. You do what you want to do, for you and only you. You do not care about anybody. I was a fool for loving you. Now I have nothing." "We are always in a hurry" translated into Martian means "I feel so rushed today. I don't like rushing. I wish our life was not so hurried. I know it is nobody's fault and I certainly don't blame you. I know you are doing your best to get us there on time and I really appreciate how much you care. "Would you empathize with me and say something like, 'It is hard always rushing around. I don't always like rushing either.' " Without this translation, when a woman says "We are always in a hurry" a man may hear "You are so irresponsible. You wait until the last minute to do everything. I can never be happy when I am with you. We are always rushing to avoid being late. You ruin things every time I am with you. I am so much happier when I am not around you." "I want more romance" translated into Martian means "Sweetheart, you have been working so hard lately. Lees take some time out for ourselves. I love it when we can relax and be alone without the kids around and no work pressures. You are so romantic. Would you surprise me with flowers sometime soon and take me out on a date? I love being romanced." Without this translation, when a woman says "I want more romance" a man may hear "You don't satisfy me anymore. I am not turned on to you. Your romantic skills are definitely inadequate. You have never really fulfilled me. I wish you were more like other men I have been with." After using this dictionary for a few years, a man doesn't need to pick it up each time he feels blamed or criticized. He begins to understand the way women think and feel. He learns that these kinds of dramatic phrases are not to be taken literally. They are just the way women express feeling more fully. That's the way it was done on Venus and people from Mars need to remember that!