Do you understand what a simple task means to your wife? If your wife were to ask you to take out the trash, would stepping over the bag land you in the dog house? Would forgetting to pick up milk on the way home, cause a ruckus? Why is it that seemingly minuscule acts create such a firestorm? If your wife’s reaction confuses you, it is time you learn about the principle of externalization.
Women externalize their feelings. They often place the value of their feelings in an external tape measure. This is why an anniversary card means so much to them. This is not a new concept for men; what man hasn’t felt the external connection to a great sports play or felt the confidence of sitting in a sports car or truck? This is especially true in regards to your wife’s honey-do-list.
The woman whom you love so dearly, has made a physical connection and has tied herself into the item that needs fixing. If you came home and your wife’s arm had fallen off, you would give her immediate attention (I am not really sure how that would happen, but you would be concerned). If you didn’t do something to remedy your wife’s armless situation you would be labeled an insensitive jerk, and rightfully so.
What we as men must realize is, our wives do not see the menial task she asked us to address as menial (taking out the trash, changing a light bulb, picking up milk). They view it as an extension of themselves. Therefore, if you are not willing to address the honey-do-list or some other seemingly minor repair around the house, it is assumed you are not willing to care for your wife. Regardless of the truth of this assumption, the leader of the home is required to understand this principle.
Woman play dirty, but not intentionally. They bring up areas of tangible action (like mowing the lawn, fixing the towel bar, taking out the trash, putting the dishes in the sink, etc.) Even though they ask for things on a tangible level, they are actually working on an emotional level. Men must realize that, deep down, your wife could care less if she had to share your towel bar because hers keeps falling off; what upsets your wife about the unfinished task is that your projects get attention and SHE doesn’t.
In the middle of writing a section of the Womanual, my wife asked me if I could carry down a rocking chair from the upstairs and put it in our room. I decided to test out my theory of personal extension, so I asked my wife, “What would it mean to you if I didn’t take down your chair?” I was completely unprepared for her answer.
She told me that the simple task of moving a rocking chair 20 feet would mean… “That you cared enough about me to listen to my needs, and are willing to invest your time in my life…” I stood there for over two minutes listening to what moving a chair meant to my wife.
Not only does the principle of extension come into play when I am asked to do things by my wife, it also explains why it is hard for my wife to relax when the kitchen is dirty. Women view their houses as extensions of themselves. So any lack of effort or criticism on the husband’s part is viewed as a personal attack.
Maybe this is put into better perspective by a DOT inspection. For those of you who have run trucks, imagine a DOT officer pulls you over for a truck inspection. Everything on the truck passes, except one rear headlight is encrusted with mud. When you explain that you were working in some back roads after a rainstorm and didn’t even know about the muddy light, he proceeds to tell you how to take care of your truck and slaps on a hefty fine. That is what a wife feels when unduly criticized or corrected.
Ask your wife what it means to her when you do a simple task for her and prepared to be amazed at the depth of her answer.