Couples and Relationships: Mr. Fix-It
By Melodie Tucker
Men love to fix things. Is the car making a funny noise? Is the air conditioning unit doling out hot air in the middle of August? Are the computer gremlins eating your email? Call a Martian to the rescue!Chances are that he will be thrilled to fix it, and if he can’t personally do it, he’ll still get a charge out of getting someone who can.
Finding fast and sensible solutions to problems is just what Martians thrive on and resolving challenges brings forth a real sense of accomplishment for them. In fact, the more urgent the problem, the better a man feels about coming up with the solution.
This is because men are very task-oriented, want to take action and they like to feel needed, then appreciated for their efforts.This is a great trait when an object around the house or office is broken. However, men tend to react the same way in their relationships.
This means that when a woman has an issue she wants to discuss or she needs to talk about whatever is on her mind, a man’s instinctual reaction is to go into “Mr. Fix-It” mode and eliminate whatever he perceives as her ‘problems’. This is especially true when a woman is feeling upset and just wants to vent. Sometimes if the problem doesn’t seem urgent or important enough to him, he may even completely invalidate her feelings by just telling her ‘not to worry about it’.
So, what’s an overwhelmed woman to do? When a woman understands why her man is always trying to solve her problem (even when there isn’t one!), she can put this knowledge to good use. She can take a few minutes when things are going well in the relationship to explain what she needs when she’s upset.
She can let him know that she is not generally looking for solutions when she talks, but rather she just is looking to express her feelings first, so she can then find her own solution. Many times, just talking about a problem will help a woman feel better and then she can release the problem. A man can learn to support her by building up his ‘listening muscles’. The secret to this strategy is:
- Just listen without offering solutions
- Make empathetic sounds, like ‘uh-huh, oh, no, hmmm’
- Get her to talk more with phrases like “Tell me more ”
- Ask leading questions like “And then what happened?”
Encouraging a Venusian to release her emotions takes practice for a Martian, though, so keep these ‘venting’ sessions under 5 or 10 minutes at first. When time’s up, it’s important for the woman to thank him for his kind and supportive listening and let him know she feels better just having the chance to talk it over with him.
Then she walks away. He thinks to himself, “Wow, I really helped her!” and he feels great about his ability to make her happy. Now, that’s a job Mr. Fix-It can love.echo
Melodie Tucker is a Mars Venus Success Coach and Seminar Leader, trained by Dr. John Gray, author of the world famous "Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus" series.She has helped men and women all over the world create great relationships that last.
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