In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does the church.... Ephesians 5:28-29
There's a problem which is quite common these days which afflicts people and does a great deal of damage to relationships. Primarily, though not exclusively, men suffer from this disorder; however, quite often children and teenagers are also afflicted by it. I define the malady as the PADD syndrome. Never hear of it? PADD is an acronym for a condition I describe as the Periodic Amnesia and Deafness Deficiency(PADD) syndrome.
Strangely enough, this disorder is seldom detected by neurologists or audiologists. The professionals seldom find this one. Wives and girlfriends are the ones who usually diagnose periodic amnesia and deafness in the men in their lives.
And what is it that men forget? Birthdays, anniversaries, special occasions. They forget to pick up the items at the grocery store that a wife asked them to be sure and get. Sometimes they even forget the names of their children, calling Jim, Joe, or Nancy, Bonnie.
And what about periodic deafness? Women have noticed that men often grow deaf when a wife says, "Honey, will you do this for me?" Or suggest that the lawn or garden needs attention. The deafness, however, is usually restored when the national anthem comes on television immediately prior to a football or basketball game. Wives also tell me that husbands regain hearing at the suggestion of dinner or the announcement that a check has come in the mail.
Men, of course, are completely unaware of the problem. In fact, most of the time, they really think the problem is not with them but with their wives. I'm thinking of the gentleman who responded to one of our Guidelines' programs, writing, "Your topic on communication was helpful and very interesting. At times my wife and I have that problem of failing to communicate properly and failing to understand each other. She always wants so many details. Then again when I say things, it will be later on she'll say, `You never said that,' or `Why didn't you tell me?' Yet, I know with a positive assurance I told her; but she denies having ever heard this particular information. What is the solution to this problem?"
The solution begins when you understand that communication doesn't mean the same thing to men as it does to women. The fact is that men usually consider themselves to be pretty good communicators, much better than women perceive them to be.
Though all people don't follow the same patterns, it is true that women tend to be more expressive than men. A generalization is that men are logical; women are emotional. Men tend to deal with facts and having stated something, they tend to feel that the process of communication is complete. Women on the other hand go beyond the level of facts to the level of emotions and feelings. That's why details are important to women.
Why do men tend to shut wives or girlfriends out of their inner thoughts and feelings? Why do men suffer periodic attacks of deafness and amnesia? In some cases, it is because we men are selfish and never stop to think how important communication is to those whom we love. In other cases, we fear rejection or misunderstanding. Strange, isn't it, how some people will share everything they have but their hearts and their innermost feelings?
If you are suffering from the PADD syndrome, a trip to the doctor won't cure you. A date book may help, but the real answer is within. It's learning to care and to know how much caring means to your family. It's worth the effort.
Resource reading: Ephesians 5:22-32