You may have heard of the book entitled, Men Are From Mars Women Are From Venus by John Gray. The author suggests that common relationship problems happen because men and women view and handle situations in distinctly different manners. For instance, when a woman talks about an issue she is having, men often believe she is looking to them to solve the problem. However, women are generally very verbal and often find that they simply need to voice the issue. Then they can move on. In other words, they are not looking for a solution. They are just wanting to know someone cares and women equate listening with caring. Make a note of that, men!
Since February, I have had an unresolved issue with my car. I always dread having "issues" with my car because since I know so little about vehicles, I am at the mercy of... "the guys" and must do my best to attempt to communicate with them.
In all fairness, the "mother tongue" of any man raised by a woman is "womanese". It is natural for women to speak to their children in their native tongue and we do. For some unknown reason, at the time puberty sets in, men suddenly lose their ability to speak and understand their mother-tongue. Women have tried to alert men to this situation since the beginning of time but... alas... they can't understand what we are saying. It is like the Tower of Babel all over again. Sigh...
When my car began to have "issues"... I cautiously approached the nearest man at hand, my husband. I carefully explained the problem detailing what it sounded like and felt like. Knowing that he probably did not understand a word I said, I suggested that he actually drive my car himself.
Does any woman reading this know how to say in the male dialect, "Please drive my car so you can experience the problem for yourself?" I have tried various phrases I have heard drop from men's lips when they are hanging out around cars that have their hoods up but it doesn't seem like any of them produce the desired effect. Sigh...
My husband simply stared at me. I tried another tactic. I attempted to imitate the noise but he seemed to think that was "normal" car noise. Once again I invited him to drive my car. Instead he directed me to call our mechanic.
Now our mechanic pretends to listen to me... most of the time. As I was talking, he got out his flashlight and looked under the car. I needed a new muffler. Okay... this really did not sound like a muffler issue but I was told I had a hole and it needed to be replaced. Actually, I have two mufflers or something like that, I guess. Oh.
I picked up my car and... what was that noise? It's still there!
My husband said I was imagining things. I invited him to drive my car so he could experience my fantasy. He got a blank look on his face so obviously he did not understand a word I said. What IS that phrase? Sigh...
I decided to attempt to have another go at getting my car repaired. Things seemed to be deteriorating and getting worse instead of better. Sigh...
After describing my problem once again, I was given a blank stare for a moment. I made the suggestion that the car be driven. I still got a blank stare. Rats! What is that phrase! Then... there was a glimmer of recognition. At last, I was communicating and I learned... it was the wheel bearings. Upon closer examination, it was two wheel bearings. Hmm... I thought it was the muffler. Oh, it was both? Yeah, there was definitely a hole in my muffler and these wheel bearings needed to be replaced which wasn't surprising since I have nearly 150,000 miles on my car and it is now 12 years old (the first owner didn't drive as much as I do).
I picked up my car after it was repaired, drove down the road and... what's that noise? Sigh...
I confronted my husband yet again, waving my keys and speaking very loudly and slowly. He shook his head. He didn't not understand what on earth I was trying to convey. I shoved the keys in his face. He took them and looked at me blankly. I gestured and pointed to the car. He walked over to it and looked at me. I opened the door and indicated through hand movements that he should get in. Since I'd opened the driver's side for him, apparently it dawned on him that I wanted him to drive the car. He sighed and motioned me to get in.
Afterwards I said, "Well?"
He looked at me and said, "Something is wrong with your car."
"What do you think it is?"
"I don't know."
"What do you think I should do?"
"I don't know."
Apparently "I don't know" is the man phrase for "I still don't understand what you are saying."
He suggested that I get my oil changed as while he was driving he noticed that it was due about 50 miles ago. Sigh...
When I got my oil changed on Saturday at the dealership where I can get free oil changes. I was told I had to have something or other repaired which had to do with my suspension. I was also told it sounded like I had a loose front right wheel bearing.
"But I just got that replaced!"
Apparently sometimes they need to be adjusted. I told my husband when I got home and he asked me when was the last time I'd had my tires rotated and balanced. At least... I think that's what he said. I couldn't remember so he told me to go down and get it done ASAP. So I went to the place where I bought my tires to get my free rotation and balance done. Sigh...
While waiting for that work to be completed I was told I needed my front right wheel bearing replaced and it would cost me $400.00 to do it. I told them that had been done a few weeks before by someone else.
"Oh. Well, it is loose then." Hmm...
There was more bad news. My back tires were bad. In fact, my right tire was "cupping" on the inside. They showed it to me. Sigh... at least the front ones looked great.
After getting the tires replaced and being told I should probably get a front end alignment very soon, I got in my car. On an impulse, I remembered my tires were supposed to have been inspected when I got my oil changed. I fished around in the glove compartment for the card I had been given when I got my oil changed. I compared the tire inspection numbers to the invoice I had in my hand.
I darted back in and retrieved my tire. I was going to head back to the dealership. Something wasn't right and I was going to prove it to them.
As I drove... I noticed something rather strange. My car seemed to be... healed!
I got to the dealership and showed the service manager the two different readings and the tire. He was very apologetic and noted that while cupping generally does not happen on the inside of the tire, they should have taken several measurements on the inside as well as the outside of the tire.
Then he said something interesting. "With the way this was cupped, it must have sounded like a wheel bearing was out. I'll bet things are sounding much better now."
I blubbered out my story and was relieved to hear him gently say, "I've no doubt the wheel bearings were going bad based and mileage of the car. What you were hearing was undoubtedly a combination of both but now that both problems are solved... you will not have that issue anymore. As for the loose wheel bearing, just go back and get it adjusted, that has to be done sometimes, and you will be fine.
As I drove home, I was delighted with the way my car drove. At last, the problem had been solved!
As I reflected on these events, I thought about how much longer the process of resolution had taken simply due to a lack of effective communication. How often does lack of effective communication impair our relationships with both Christians and non-Christians alike?
We have access to the greatest communicator of all... The Holy Spirit. With His help we can clear listen to and understand one another. The question is... will we?