In my last post, I noted some of the differences between men and women (generally speaking) is that women love the process. One of the ways she may “process” is through “dreaming of possibilities.”

Here’s an example of a conversation that shows how differently men and women think:

Here’s a men/women conversation doomed for misunderstanding. Tweet that!

She (as they drive by the furniture store): “I sure would like to get new living-room furniture.”

He: “But we just moved into our new house. We can’t afford it.”

She: “Yeah, but wouldn’t it be great to have it?”

He: “Even if we bought it on our credit card, the current high interest rates would really cut into my income. We’ll talk about it after I get my raise in July.”

She (suddenly turning to him in frustration): “You always squelch my good ideas!”

What was this woman really looking for? Someone to dream along with her about the details, because women tend to love to think out loud–“process.” She wasn’t necessarily saying she had to have the new furniture right now, just that it sounded like a good idea. She wanted her husband to say, “Yeah, new furniture sure would be wonderful, wouldn’t it? I can understand how great that would make our living room look.”

The male mind, however, is terrified that if he gives her such a reply, she’ll grab the steering wheel, drive the car into the furniture store parking lot, and immediately spend thousands of dollars on furniture. He can fight that impulse of terror by still telling her they can’t afford it–but, along with the cold facts, warm her heart by giving her the chance to share the emotional details.

So, here’s what might be a good idea for both of them.

She: “Honey, look at that furniture store. I sure would love to get some new furniture. I know we can’t afford it right now, but it sure would be fun to think about what might look good. Can you dream with me?”

He: “Sure. I think that would be a great idea when we can afford it. Would you want to change colors or just get something newer with the same colors?”

Such a healthy conversation takes self-control and honesty. Self-control because we must really listen to what the other person is saying and not jump to conclusions trying to prevent what we fear (like spending lots of money). Instead of giving into fear that one person will go off the deep end or the other will dig their heels into the ground forever, we must trust God! 

And we must be honest with our real inner desires and motivations. If we want new furniture because we’re embarrassed when people come to visit, then we’re not being honest. And it’s more likely we’ll be upset when our spouse doesn’t cooperate with our “desires” because we fear being judged. Look for your motivations.

We must trust that God is even interested in furniture (or whatever) and will prompt and provide motivation and finances to give us our heart’s desires in His timing and for His purposes. If God can change the heart of a king, He can change our spouse’s heart. Proverbs 21:1 assures us, “The king‘s heart is a stream of water in the hand of the Lord; he turns it wherever he will.” (ESV).

What have you found helpful in inviting your spouse to dream or “process”? Tweet that!