Yes, my wife and I both speak English. But after 25 years of marriage, I've determined that Susan (and most other women) have a double secret female code that they completely understand and we men don't.
I've determined that it's time to decode it. In order to do so, I've confidentially spoken with several female informants who have helped me to decipher just some of their secret code. Those informants have asked to remain anonymous out of fear that other wives will shun them for disclosing what has remained a mystery for all these years.
So, for all the men out there who thought it was impossible to understand women, here is a key for decoding wife's words:
1. "I'm fine" means "I'm not fine, but I'm not ready to talk about it." This is a classic line that most husbands have heard. The instant you hear it, you know that everything is certainly not fine. And even though you may want to work it out right away, sometimes it's best to just give her some time and space. Be sure to let your wife know that you're sorry if you hurt her feelings in some way and that you're ready to talk when she is.
2. "Didn't you go out with your friends last weekend?" means "I know for a fact that you went out with your buddies last Friday night, and I want to spend time with you this weekend." Your wife is very aware of how you spend your time. And where you invest your time is one important sign of what you value. She wants to be valued and cherished. So sure, spend time with your friends, but let her know she's always No. 1.
3. "How was your day?" means "I want to reconnect with you." Most couples don't spend all day, every day together. There are jobs and kids and things to be taken care of. So when your wife asks about your day when you get home, this is her way of trying to reconnect after being in different worlds. Instead of a one-word answer, give her a story or two that will make her feel close to you again.
4. "What are you doing today?" means "I've got some things that I want you to do." It's Saturday morning and your wife asks the question, "So what are you doing today?" What she's saying to you is: If you don't have any really important plans, don't make any because I've got a lengthy honey-do list that you need to get done.
5. "Do you need some help with that?" means "I want to be a part of your team." Let's take the time you were trying to fix the TV. In the midst of the tangle of cords and your growing frustration, your wife asks if she can help. You immediately assume she must be questioning your abilities and doubting your skills. But she may simply be trying to love you well by offering her help. So rather than push her away, let your wife support you with what you're doing.
6. "Let's talk about this some more" means "I don't agree, but I want to understand and support you." Life is full of decisions—from small, daily ones to huge, life-changing ones. A big part of marriage is being able to make choices together with your spouse. So when your wife wants to discuss a decision, it's important to recognize that she isn't automatically disagreeing. Her intention is to be wise and find a compromise that you can both agree to.
7. "We should go out this weekend" means "I want you to take initiative and make the plans." I can't put enough emphasis on the importance of continuing to date your spouse all through your marriage. While some couples have a weekly date night, Susan and I found that a date every other week was more realistic when our kids were growing up. So when your wife mentions the coming weekend, this is a very planned comment. She is trying to give you a clue that she wants to feel special and loved by going out with you. So take the hint and plan something romantic for the two of you. For some creative date ideas, check out my blog, "8 Outside-the-Box Date Ideas."
8. "Is there something you're forgetting?" means "There's definitely something you're forgetting." Your wife knows there are certain days when you have a busy schedule ahead of you and are more apt to overlook things. So when your wife specifically asks if you're forgetting anything, the answer is most often a big "Yes!" Whether it's your lunch on the counter or a goodbye kiss for her, be sure to stop and pay attention when your wife mentions this.
9. "You don't have to get me anything for my birthday" means "I do want something, but I want you to put time and energy into picking it out." The important thing to realize is that all thoughtfulness and specialness is taken away the moment your wife has to tell you what to get her for her birthday. Instead, a gift is a great way to show her how well you know her and love her. So put some thought and energy into giving your spouse a present she won't forget. If you have no idea what to get, try asking one of her friends.
While there is so much more to decode, I hope this helps you to better understand your wife. And, by the way, please don't let her know that you know some of the secret code.
What are some other words wives use that you can decode for us? Please share your comments below.
Mark Merrill is the president of Family First. For the original article, visit markmerrill.com.